On Thursday, July 20, Gov. Moore renewed his commitment to Bay restoration and announced new strategies to move efforts forward. Citing recent research by leading Bay scientists the Governor pledged to follow the science and fully engage all of state government in restoration efforts. The Governor pledged that Maryland would be the first state in the region to wholeheartedly adopt the report’s recommendations and said that Maryland’s efforts would be driven by science and data.
In addition, today the Governor signed two Executive Orders. The first establishes the Governor’s Council on the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Watershed. The second establishes an Oyster Shell and Substrate Task Force. A healthy oyster population is critical to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and oyster shells for use to create oyster reefs are in short supply.
Following the announcements, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Maryland Executive Director Allison Colden said:
“Leading Bay scientists recently released a report that identifies what has worked, what hasn’t, and suggested improvements that will accelerate efforts to achieve healthy rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. We commend the Governor for his leadership in beginning to align state policies with these scientific recommendations. Targeting the state’s efforts to areas where they will be most effective, both in reducing pollution and improving habitat for living resources, is an essential first step.
“We look forward to working with Governor Moore and Maryland’s state agencies to accelerate progress to achieve clean water for Maryland communities and future generations.”
In support of the Oyster Shell and Substrate Task Force, Ms. Colden added:
“Increasing the oyster population is critical to ensuring a healthy Bay. Oysters help improve water quality and create a rich habitat for more than 300 species of fish, crabs and other organisms.
“Maryland’s oyster restoration efforts, aquaculture industry, and public fishery would all benefit from expanding oyster reefs in the Bay, but oyster shells are in short supply. This task force will provide guidance on how best to support oyster reef expansion and utilize this limited resource. We look forward to serving on the task force in support of this critical effort.”