The Maryland Department of Natural Resources sponsored a 2003 field test to assess the suitability of Reef Balls for catching a natural oyster spat set. The Maryland Environmental Service contracted the project and coordinated and managed the deployment. The original plan was to place 75 Reef Balls in the oyster sanctuary east of Point Lookout. Since this was a field test rather than a fishing reef, Tom O’Connell, MD DNR ‘s sponsor, accepted my suggestion as project manager for MES, to split the deployment between 3 sanctuaries, thereby increasing the potential for a natural spat set. This decision resulted in one of the alternate sites in upper Tangier Sound receiving a natural spat set. This video shows the first deployment trip off Point Lookout. The thriving oyster reef that subsequently developed at the alternate site is documented by a Chesapeake Bay Foundation video made a decade later that is on the CBF website. It was this reef, a field trial at the Horn Point oyster hatchery for hatchery spat sets directly onto Reef Balls, Reef Ball pour training and demonstration project sponsored by MES and the Oyster Recovery Partnership on Tilghman Island for the Tilghman Island Fish Haven, collaboration by MES and CBF for early Reef Ball pours for Maryland Bay waters, and success of Reef Balls with hatchery spat set at CBF’s Shady Side oyster hatchery with deployment at Hollicutts Noose Fish Haven, that were the foundation for the current use of Reef Balls for oyster restoration and fishing reefs in Bay and tributary waters. Recent Reef Ball reefs include 240 Reef Balls at Winchester Lump in the Severn River and Reef Balls that were poured at National Harbor and placed in Smoot Bay on the tidal Potomac.
From Wade’s post on Facebook.
a video at Chesapeake Bay Fishing Reefs on Facebook about the first deployment of Reef Balls in Maryland Bay waters. This Reef Ball project laid the foundation for today’s projects in Bay and tributary waters, including the Reef Balls that were poured at National Harbor and placed in Smoot Bay. I had the good fortune to direct the first placement in the video and participate as a volunteer for the National Harbor pour.