(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Legislation that would permanently protect the five Maryland tributaries targeted for large-scale oyster restoration has passed both the Senate and the House. The bill, backed by the General Assembly’s leadership as well as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), will now go to the Governor’s office for signature or veto. The Governor could also take no action which still allows the bill to become law.
In 2014 Maryland committed to restore oyster populations in five tributaries and ensure their protection. Following passage of the bill, CBF Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost issued this statement.
“This legislation is crucial to the recovery of Maryland’s oyster population. Oysters are the foundation of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.They improve water quality and provide essential habitat for fish, crabs, and other aquatic species.
“The 2018 Maryland oyster stock assessment found that, overall, oysters continue to decline, and that overfishing is occurring more than half of Maryland’s waters. Fortunately, areas that have been targeted for tributary-scale restoration, like Harris Creek, are showing tremendous signs of success. This legislation provides permanent protection for Harris Creek and the remaining four tributaries that will receive large-scale restoration efforts.
“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation would like to thank Speaker Busch, and Senator Pinsky for their leadership on this legislation, which will ensure that these areas receiving significant restoration investments will continue to thrive. We urge Governor Hogan to sign this important piece of legislation and affirm Maryland’s commitment the Bay Agreement.