Army Corps of Engineers Eyes Shallower Waters For Tred Avon Oyst - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Army Corps of Engineers Eyes Shallower Waters For Tred Avon Oyster Project

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(Photo:WBOC) (Photo:WBOC)

BOZMAN, Md.- For months now a controversial oyster restoration project in the Tred Avon River in Talbot County has been stalled, pending the release of a report analyzing how successful oyster sanctuaries are.  The report is out, and now the Army Corps of Engineers is ready to start working again.  Watermen though are concerned about plans to build artificial oyster reefs in shallow water.

The original plan called for the water to be at least eight feet deep during low tide in areas where these reefs have been built.  But the Army Corp's new permit, which is in the public comment period, would see them leave almost two feet less than that in some areas for boats to pass through.

The Army Corps of Engineers is looking to build 79 acres of reefs in the Tred Avon River, made of shell and rock.  Watermen are concerned about the fact that 53 acres of that would only leave between six and a half and nine feet for their boats to pass through.  Watermen say the Army Corps' previous work in Harris Creek was often far shallower than planned for, causing boating hazards.

"The shell and rock that they put overboard into Harris Creek, had they followed their own criteria would have been fine.  But they did not have a third party to monitor their work," said Talbot County Watermen's Association President Bunky Chance.

In a statement, the army corps said, "It is necessary to restore oyster habitat across a variety of water depths that historically served as habitat in order to maximize coverage and diversity to achieve system-wide impacts."

Delegate Johnny Mautz though says the decision to move forward with the project, along with recommendations, came less than 24 hours after the release of a 900 page report on the topic.

"The commission decided to move forward with the recommendation to move forward on the Tred Avon and I wasn't comfortable with that and I asked to be recorded in the negative, because I didn't have the chance to review the report or get feedback on the report," said Mautz.

Mautz doesn't believe anyone could have reviewed it in such a short window.  He and the watermen are looking at ways to stop the project in those shallower areas.  The Army Corps, in the meantime, says they will be working with their contractors and the Coast Guard to ensure the river remains navigable.

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