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Report: Release and Restore Oysters in Bay

MARYLAND, US - The State of Maryland and Commonwealth of Virginia propose to introduce the Suminoeoyster into the tidal waters of Maryland and Virginia for thepurpose of establishing a naturalized, reproducing, and self-sustaining population of this oysterspecies.

The Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission have prepared a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to present information regarding a variety of strategies for attempting to restore the population of oysters throughout Chesapeake Bay.

The proposed action is to introduce a nonnative species, the Suminoe oyster, and continue efforts to restore the native Eastern oyster.

The Suminoe oyster is a native of the China Sea that has environmental requirements and tolerances similar to those of the Eastern oyster but is resistant to diseases that have adversely affected the Eastern oyster. Eight reasonable alternatives that would involve both oyster species individually or together were evaluated during the study.

This Draft PEIS addresses the direct and indirect effects of the proposed action and alternatives on ecological, environmental, and human issues identified during the public interest review. All factors that may be relevant to the proposed action and alternatives were considered. Those factors include the oyster population in the Bay, selected other components of the ecosystem of Chesapeake Bay, water quality, threatened and endangered species, essential fish habitat, social factors, economics, aesthetics and recreation, historic and archaeological resources, wetlands, sanctuaries and refuges, environmental justice, air quality, public safety and fouling, commercial navigation, and potentially affected resources outside Chesapeake Bay.

As part of the NEPA process, a public participation and commenting period will be held from October 17, 2008, to December 15, 2008. Six public meetings will be held, three in Maryland and three in Virginia. Oral comments during the public meetings will be considered, and any reader may submit written comments on this Draft PEIS (preferably in electronic format). All comments must be received no later than December 15, 2008. The public response to the findings of the Draft PEIS will provide direction for the preparation of the Final PEIS.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy

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