Final CSX Oyster Express Train Delivered to
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and CSX collaborate in unique partnership to restore oyster sanctuary
Over the past 12 months, CSX has transported about 100,000 tons of the fossilized shell to help rebuild habitat in two
Maryland oyster sanctuaries. Trains carrying
the shells were delivered to CSX's Curtis
Bay ore pier once every 10 to 14 days,
where the shells were transferred to barges for the trip to the sanctuaries on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Once in place, the shells provide a habitat
where young oysters can thrive.
Viable oyster reefs and the ecosystem they support provide natural filtering capabilities to help improve the water quality in the
Chesapeake Bay, filtering silt, sediment and nitrates
from the water.
"Using the best available science, DNR and our many partners are working together to restore oyster habitats in
said DNR Secretary Joe Gill. "We are already seeing remarkable results in .
Once degraded reefs are now teeming with life as a direct result of our
collaborative efforts, and we couldn't be more excited about the
progress." Harris Creek
With the help of partners, the State has planted more than a billion oysters in the Harris Creek Sanctuary since 2011. Since restoration efforts began, areas with less than one oyster per square meter now have upwards of 25 oysters per square meter.
"The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's partnership with CSX has provided an amazing opportunity to help accelerate oyster restoration in the
said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and chief executive officer, NFWF.
"Connecting CSX's transportation services with the great work of the State
of Maryland and its partners, including the Oyster Recovery Partnership, is a
great example of how public and private interests can work together to take a
significant step toward a healthy Bay ecosystem."
"Oysters have been central to the
way of life for centuries, and restoring the Chesapeake
Bay's oyster beds is critical for this region's environment and
the economy," said Michael Ward, president, chairman and chief executive
officer of CSX. "CSX is proud to be a part of this unique public-private
partnership in helping to restore one of our nation's greatest natural
With a lack of natural, affordable shell available to support restoration of the two sanctuaries, DNR and its partners found the quality and quantity of the next best thing - fossilized shell - for purchase from Gulf Coast Aggregates near
. To address the challenge
and expense of moving the large volume of material, the National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation negotiated an agreement with CSX to transport the shell at
The sanctuaries were chosen for the initial large-scale restoration project because of their water quality, salinity levels, shape, location, and protected sanctuary status all point to a high likelihood of success. More than 150,000 cubic yards of granite from a
Maryland quarry also will be used as
substrate in the sanctuaries. Scientists believe the project ultimately can
serve as a blueprint to expand large-scale oyster restoration efforts to other
About The Maryland Department of Natural Resources
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with
Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife
for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national
leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and
cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency
in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.3 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
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