Oyster Restoration Hurting Watermen Boats - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Oyster Restoration Hurting Watermen Boats

Posted: 11/09/2017 19:34:00 -05:00 Updated:

TILGHMAN ISLAND, Md. - Hands on the wheel, Robert Marshall was out cruising in Harris Creek in Talbot County Thursday afternoon.

But just last year, it wasn't the same story - the propellor to his boat was damaged.

"I hit something that shouldn't have been there," Marshall said.

The culprit - rocks and oysters - and lots of them. They were planted by Maryland's Department of Natural Resources to help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

"They haven't restored anything," Marshall said.

And he isn't alone. Watermen in the area say they've spent thousands of dollars repairing their boats after hitting high spots in the water and with more now planted in the Little Choptank River - more damage.

"The care and attention that's needed to bring this species back, needs to be applied," said Alan Girard of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Girard argues that restoring takes time, effort, and sometimes mistakes - all necessary to saving the Bay.

"If there are mistakes, we're going back and fixing them and continuing to learn from the science and adapt," Girard said.

And while the Chesapeake Bay Foundation wasn't involved with the incidents in the Little Choptank River and Harris Creek, in a statement to WBOC, Maryland DNR said they've taken responsibility and are working to fix the rocky high spots so boats won't be damaged.

But watermen like Marshall say they haven't seen much change save for a few buoys marking the sanctuary's borders.

"Every time you go by there, you're mad at the DNR for starting the whole thing," Marshall said.


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