by Alicia Pimental
October 10, 2008
A new wetlands restoration partnership in Maryland will bring corporations, government agencies and nonprofits together to help improve and restore the state’s aquatic wildlife habitats.
The Maryland Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP) is an innovative, public-private initiative created to restore and create wetlands and oyster reefs, enhance fish passage, and control invasive species at sites throughout the state.
The Maryland CWRP is a chapter of the national CWRP, which began in Massachusetts and now includes chapters across the United States and the world.
So far, three corporations -- The Brick Companies, Constellation Energy and Biohabitats -- have signed on to the Maryland CWRP. In addition, nonprofits such as Ducks Unlimited, Maryland state agencies like the Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources, and federal agencies such as the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are joining in.
“It is essential that we work together with government agencies and non-government institutions to propagate new ideas and find innovative solutions,” said Paul Allen, senior vice president and chief environmental officer at Constellation Energy and vice-chair of the Maryland Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership. “That’s why this partnership is so important.”
Currently, Maryland CWRP has proposed seven restoration projects throughout the state, four of which are in the Bay watershed.
A living shoreline project at Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge on the Chester River that would use stone breakwaters to protect the shoreline from erosion and restore 700 feet of shoreline with sand and marsh vegetation.
A stormwater retention project at North Point State Park in Baltimore County that would retrofit existing grass swales to improve infiltration of polluted runoff, and replace invasive phragmites with native wetland plants.
A shoreline stabilization project in Wicomico County that would restore about 1,000 linear feet of shoreline at a public park on the Nanticoke River.
A marsh protection and restoration pilot project at Barbados Island in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge that would help in formulating techniques to restore marsh in other parts of the refuge.
At Eastern Neck, the proposed project by Maryland CWRP would protect the shoreline around Hail Cove, which is eroding by 7 feet per year. Hail Cove is an important wintering area for black ducks and other migratory waterfowl, shielding them from prevailing winds as they roost and feed. In addition, reducing erosion would stop sediment from flowing to the Chester River and protect underwater bay grasses growing in Hail Cove.
The Maryland CWRP is looking for other corporations to join the partnership and new potential restoration projects, particularly involving oyster habitat restoration and projects in urban areas. For more information about CWRP, visit the partnership’s website at www.cwrp.org.