Mar 28, 2008
March 28, 2008 - CHESAPEAKE BEACH, Md. – Dominion and other supporters of the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) today christened what will be its largest project, the Dominion Reef at the Gooses, by placing oyster shell and oysters on the reef.
The MARI steering committee agreed to name the reef after Dominion in recognition of the energy company’s support of the project.
In addition to providing $250,000 for the reef, Dominion funded the placement of about 75 tons of shell and about 25 bushels of oysters on the reef, with the goal of providing the new ecosystem a jump start. The oysters and shell were spread over a select portion of the 80-acre, man-made reef. Later in the spring, Dominion will have the reef seeded with juvenile oysters, called oyster spat.
"The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure, and Dominion is excited to be part of MARI and this innovative strategy of using artificial reefs to help protect and restore the bay," said Pamela Faggert, vice president and chief environmental officer for Dominion.
MARI, which has 53 partners, was created one year ago and has built four artificial reefs by recycling more than 80,000 tons of concrete from the demolition of the old Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, D.C. The Dominion Reef at the Gooses is its most ambitious project.
"The Dominion Reef at the Gooses represents a valuable opportunity to enhance the benthic habitat of a site in the Chesapeake that has the potential to be a "field of dreams" for myriad species - from mussels, oysters and anemones to crabs, striped bass and many other types of finfish," said John R. Griffin, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary. "The ecological benefits will also translate into economic benefits to many local bay communities, including Chesapeake Beach, Deale, Solomons, Tilghman and Kent Island."
The Dominion Reef at the Gooses covers a 220-acre site with about 80 acres of concrete. The reef is located on the Chesapeake Bay about eight miles southeast of Chesapeake Beach and northwest of Dominion’s liquefied natural gas storage facility at Cove Point.
The artificial reef project has been successful in capturing the imagination and the support of the public, watermen, conservation groups, state agencies and fishermen. That support helped MARI to raise nearly $1.4 million to support the reef projects. Dominion was the largest corporate sponsor, providing a total of $275,000 for the Dominion Reef at the Gooses.
Funding for the reef and the shell and oyster placement was provided through the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm for Dominion.
The Chesapeake Bay historically was home to thousands of oyster reefs and billions of oysters. About the time settlers arrived from Europe, the oyster population could filter nutrients and other sediment form the entire bay every three days. The reefs also provided important habitat for grasses, crabs, fish and other aquatic life.
Over the years, harvesting, disease, sediment and pollution have dramatically reduced those oyster populations. The purpose of the artificial reefs is to provide an opportunity to explore methods for creating new reefs in the bay.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 26,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion serves retail energy customers in 11 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at http://www.dom.com. For information about Dominion’s charitable giving, use keyword “foundation.”
|Media:||Dan Genest, (804) 771-6115|
|Karl Neddenein, 804-771-6115|