Volunteers Dropping Reef Balls into Chesapeake Bay - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Volunteers Dropping Reef Balls into Chesapeake Bay

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Volunteers use crane to place reef balls into Chesapeake Bay Volunteers use crane to place reef balls into Chesapeake Bay

By Amy Lu

TILGHMAN ISLAND, Md. - Volunteers are dumping dozens of alien-like chunks of concrete into the Chesapeake Bay.

These concrete chunks have a name - reef balls. They each weigh between 200 to 300 pounds.

On Wednesday, volunteers dropped 140 of the reef balls into the bay, allowing them to sink to the bottom and stay there indefinitely.

The reef balls are covered in spat, or baby oysters, that will eventually grow into mature oysters. In time, the oysters will help filter the water and promote growth in a new reef habitat.

Capt. Karl Willie of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is spearheading the project and hopes the volunteers' sacrifice will pay off.

"I love waking up at four in the morning and putting oysters in the water," he said with a smile.

Student volunteers first created the reef balls using molds. After they're coated with the spat, they're placed onto a ship and sent out.

Last year, 72 of the reef balls were dumped into the bay. Now in total, over 210 reef balls are now located off the coast of Tilghman Island.

In September, scientists plan to sample parts of the water where the reef balls are located. Their hope is that the water will be cleaner and safer for marine life.

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