The Dominion Reef at the Gooses is helping the Chesapeake Bay increase its oyster population, thanks to a $250,000 donation and other assistance from Dominion, one of the nation's largest producers of energy.
The Dominion Reef at the Gooses covers a 220-acre site on the western shores of the Chesapeake with about 80 acres of recycled concrete. In addition to its donation, Dominion funded the placement of about 75 tons of shell and about 25 bushels of oysters on the reef. Dominion also had the reef seeded with juvenile oysters, called oyster spat.
The Chesapeake Bay historically was home to thousands of oyster reefs and billions of oysters. The hard surfaces of oyster shells and the nooks between the shells created a habitat for grasses, crabs, fish and other aquatic life, which in turn served as food for larger fish and marine life.
The oyster population also contributes to improved water quality through its filter feeding capacity. About the time settlers arrived from Europe, the oyster population could filter nutrients and other sediment from the entire bay every three days. Over the years, harvesting, disease, sediment and pollution have dramatically reduced those oyster populations. Today that process takes nearly a year.
The Dominion Reef at the Gooses is the most ambitious project of the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI). MARI, which has 53 partners, was created in 2007 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. View a video
about the Dominion Reef at the Gooses. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com