Tidal Fish Forum banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On the Outdoors: Candus Thomson
January 7, 2007
Remember fishing the Summer Gooses in its heyday? It wasn't that long ago.

Come the dog days each year, boats - up to 100 of them - used to sit atop one of the greatest hard-bottom areas on the Chesapeake Bay, chumming. Glistening, fat striped bass came over the sides of boats in nets held by straining anglers-maybe you were one of them about a decade ago.

But a slow-motion avalanche of silt buried that prime spot. Although boats still make a pass for old time's sake, in the eyes of most, the Gooses are cooked.

Restoring that hot spot isn't really an option, given the state's financial situation and all the other bay restoration projects on the wish list.

But creating a new one is.

On Tuesday, the Department of Natural Resources will announce an unprecedented reef-building program that combines the passion of more than 30 recreational fishing and conservation groups with the financial backing of a high-tech corporation, two oil companies and a Shady Side philanthropist.

The aim of the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative is to build fish-friendly habitats out of the remains of the old Woodrow Wilson Bridge, starting, perhaps at the mouth of the Choptank River.

Citizens will be invited to participate, donating $25 to pay for the moving of a ton of material from the Potomac River shore near Washington to the bay.

"Imagine this huge desert of sand and in the middle is an oasis teeming with life," says Bill Curry, president of the Maryland chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association. "There's no way to put a dollar figure on the ecological and economic benefits."

To save administrative costs, the CCA agreed to use its charitable status to administer the program.

"We're not skimming off the top and that's an important thing," Curry says. "A lot of people stepped up to the plate, and we don't want to diminish their efforts."

The spark came last fall, when DNR took a gamble and diverted $38,000 in funds from fishing license sales to pay for 50-ton bridge slabs to be hauled from the Potomac to the waters of Point No Point off St. Mary's County.

But after that pilot effort, the cash-strapped state agency was tapped out.

Luckily, Nancy Petersen read news accounts of the ambitious reef project and decided she could do something.

"We all hear so much about trying to save the Chesapeake Bay. Well, here's a really good idea and it seems like the only obstacle is money," she recalls thinking. "What do they mean they only have $38,000? I have $38,000."

Actually, as trustee of a small family foundation, Petersen, 58, oversees a little bit more than that, money she dips into for school environmental projects and programs for disadvantaged women and children. The Mitchell-Petersen Family Foundation has donated $100,000 to the reef project.

"The foundation itself likes projects where it can be a catalyst for a bigger result, to get the ball rolling," Petersen explains. "My passion has always been the environment."

As a long-time Alexandria, Va., resident and publisher who decided two years ago to start the retirement process with a move to southern Anne Arundel County, Petersen was a frequent user of the Wilson Bridge.

The reef project, she says, "was very appealing. It was kind of a cool connection between my working life and my new life, whatever that is."

She called the Wilson Bridge folks, who put her in touch with DNR's Marty Gary.

Gary, meanwhile, was looking for the mechanism by which donations could be collected and distributed to the reef program.

"We're not talking about a one-and-done project here," Gary says. "We'd like to see this take root and grow."

Recently, Gary and world-renown diver Nick Caloyianis peeked in at the Point No Point reef to see who was home. Already, Gary says, there are signs of new life.

There's plenty of clean bridge material left, and Gary says there are about a dozen accessible sites on the bay, including areas off Tangier and Solomons islands and at the mouth of the Choptank on the north side of the navigational channel in about 35 feet of water.

Long-time fishermen, charter boat captains and watermen say the Choptank bottom has the same characteristics as the Summer Gooses. If barge loads of construction materials from the bridge are dumped in the 80-foot-long trough, fish and oysters will take to it, they say.

Curry envisions the project growing to a point where clean construction materials from other projects can be used in the bay, off the Atlantic Coast and in freshwater impoundments.

"It may be a drop in the bucket, but it's a good drop," he says.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,163 Posts
That Bill Curry, I could listen to that big lug talk all day...Speaking of, he's talking tonight, in Hughesville I believe...

Hey Candy, great article. The reef project is a good deal. Finally an issue that I think everybody can get behind and demonstrates just how DNR can shine with some real creative thinking on their part...
 

·
Tidal Fish Super Subscriber - I Support TidalFish.
Joined
·
6,189 Posts
I'm ready with my donation. :) It's a shame DNR isn't set up to take donations, but if not, CCA sounds trustworthy enough for me. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,163 Posts
Yeah Virgil, it's a straight pass through. The "Buy a Ton" program will be a great way to get folks involved that want to do something, fly the Save the Bay license plate, but really aren't hardcore fisherfolks and to this point haven't had an avenue to help, as well as people that love to fish...This deal has a lot of broad appeal, and it's actually doing something productive...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,902 Posts
Sounds like a good idea. I'm in for a ton (as long as I don't have to move it :D :D )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,708 Posts
Gee, I'll buy a ton too. Sounds like it'll be good for us fishermen in a few years but I don't see how it's gona impact the state of the bay environmentally--------------------------
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,005 Posts
Thanks for the info Candy,

I'm not sure what happened to the Gooses. When the WWB went down I was hoping that us "northern folks" :) would have an opportunity to benefit from a reef made out of a bridge that I'm sure many of us have driven over :eek: This is a good way to recycle what's been a bane to motorists into something good IMHO :D

Please provide info how to legally donate to this cause. Thanks and...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
Sounds like a great idea and a brand new place for Skip to dive for more anchors soon LOL
Sign me up :D

Benny
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
208 Posts
Gentlemen, I hope to have the mechanism to donate online to the reef initiative up and running by tomorrow morning. You'll be able to go to our website, www.ccamd.org, and click on the MARI logo in the left hand column. On the page that takes you to, we'll have links in a couple places that will take you to a secure page where you can donate online, along with a description of the initiative. I also hope to have a link to a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between DNR and CCA there sometime tomorrow. All donations will go to the reef initiative. Since you're donating to CCA, a public charity, your donations will be tax deductible. Let's make this work.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
26,149 Posts
Benny-great selling point. I can donate a few dollars from each anchor sold.:) The OC reef foundation has done wonders-would love to see the same for our bay.Best part would be to make oyster harvest illegal on/near the reefs-that could help even more after 4-5 years. Skip
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,399 Posts
The Reef Program

---As many of you are already aware of , The Md. Charterboat Assoc has been a long time Avocate of our reef program , Contrubiting many hours of time to this vible program , Just some our successful ventures through the years as to location & supervision of placement of Material just in the Mid Bay area Alone add up & continue--
--West river Reef
--Deale Expermental reef , Consisting of a Asian Concept , of Vinyl underwater material held by concrete anchors set in a 3/4 mile line as a trolling reef --Up one side & down the other --Was great fish producer for several years--Vinyl disintragated , but concrete blocks still produce--
--- New Deale reef
---Holland point reef
---Breezy point , concrete ball reef
---Reef south of the Hook
--Then of course all of the reefs located south & north that have been placed through the years --
---I also must mention the co-operation with the MCBA that came from the Co-Effort of the MWA in helping on location & Placement --Much input from Many went into the final Location Selection as this is a PRIMARY factor in Reef sucess--
--The reef program is nothing new & I'm personaly glad that it has risen to it's proper place in the overall picture--

--Another unrecognized project that is overlooked , is the placement of a site developed by this same group, is the Poplar Island Project , developed to accept the spoils from the Craighill Channel --This origionaly was to be Dumped in the Deep Trough off Kent Island --

---Strength In Unity in 07---geo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,005 Posts
Thanks Robert & Capt. George for the info,

I just bought a couple tons and will forward the link to non-TFrs and ones who may not know about this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,548 Posts
I thought that there was some controversy regarding artifical reefs and whether they actually help to enhance/sustain a fishery or simply concentrate existing fish so that they are easier to catch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,399 Posts
Capital Article

Shady Side woman's gift will help shellfish

By PAMELA WOOD, Staff Writer
A Shady Side woman wants to see a lot more concrete in the Chesapeake Bay.

And it's not a bad thing - chunks of concrete from old bridges and buildings can provide attractive homes for fish and other marine life.

After reading about the Department of Natural Resources' efforts to turn part of the old Woodrow Wilson Bridge into a reef last fall, Nancy Petersen was inspired.

"I thought the idea of the reefs was very appealing," Ms. Petersen said. "I'm not a scientist, but in general, I know that marine life loves a nice cozy place to hide."

After researching the idea and consulting her son, a scuba diver, Ms. Petersen offered $100,000 from her family's foundation, the Mitchell Petersen Family Foundation. The donation was officially announced this morning at the Boatyard Bar & Grill in Eastport.

"There are just so many ideas for improving the health of the bay that don't get done for one reason or another - because there's not enough money or there's controversy," Ms. Petersen said. "It just seems to me, this is a great opportunity."

The artificial reefs fell into the category of "not enough money," according to DNR officials. The Wilson Bridge project was paid for with $38,000 from fishing license fees, but there was no dedicated fund for such projects.

With the $100,000 donation, the DNR will be able to expand the reef program and monitor the performance of the reefs.

Artificial reefs, whether made from old bridges, buildings or whiffle-ball-like reef blocks, are designed to attract mussels, oysters and other shellfish. They also provide hiding spots for blue crabs.

Those shellfish and crabs, in turn, attract fish - which is one reason why recreational anglers and fishing club officials are big fans of the reefs.

"They will emulate the natural Chesapeake Bay oyster reef," said Marty Gary, a fisheries ecologist for the DNR.

The DNR and more than 30 fishing and environmental groups and businesses are forming the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative to raise even more money and carry out artificial reef projects.

The Coastal Conservation Association will handle donations made to the reefs program. The group is absorbing all administrative costs so every dollar donated goes straight to the reefs.

The money will help not only Chesapeake Bay reefs, but also reefs in Maryland's coastal bays and in the waters off Ocean City.

Ms. Petersen said she was pleased that her foundation's donation spurred more people to get involved. She said the foundation often tries to give away "seed money" to get a project launched and inspire future donations.

"We like being the first to pony up the money and encourage other people to make donations," she said.

Now that DNR officials have more money to work with, they're working on a plan for where to put future reefs.

The first draft of the Maryland Artificial Reef Plan was released this morning, and DNR officials are looking for input from the public for help in revising it. It will be posted at www.dnr.state.md.us.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---Good report --BUT FOR ONE PARAGRAPH------

---QUOTE--"The money will help not only Chesapeake Bay reefs, but also reefs in Maryland's coastal bays and in the waters off Ocean City."

---I was under the impression this was a Chesapeake Bay Project ,--Now it apparently has made Funds ava. for Coastal Bays & Ocean City --

--I've seen this before , years ago a submarine was donated to be used as a reef in the Solomons area --It was diverted to Ocean City after a minor Skirmish---Ocean city waters seem to get more than it's share of reef development --Possibly , Robert or someone can clarify this "Bleed off of BAY Funds"

--We need reefs in the Chesapeake, & I was lead to believe this is where the funds would Benifit--Oh Well --geo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
I would be all for donating money. BUT, the State or DNR would set up a donation fund that would end up in the general fund. There has to be a better way to accept donations.:rolleyes:
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top