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DNR to Hold St. Mary’s River Oyster Leasing Public Meeting

The Maryland Department of Natural Resource (DNR) will hold a public meeting to discuss adding criteria to regulated oyster aquaculture inside of the St. Mary’s River Oyster Sanctuary on December 6 from 3 to 7 p.m.

It is the Department’s view that a regulated amount of oyster farming within the St. Mary’s Oyster Sanctuary is compatible with the restoration effort. DNR is considering regulations and policy changes to allow private leasing as part of the overall restoration plan in this area.

One option is to maintain the status quo. The other option would stipulate that areas with average oyster densities of more than 15 oysters per square meter cannot be leased. This number is based on Chesapeake Bay Program’s guidelines for what constitutes a restored oyster bar.  This option is in addition to existing regulations including no more than 10 percent of a total sanctuary area may be leased, and leases may not be on Yates bars.

DNR will hold the meeting at the Hampton Inn, 22211 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park, Md. 20653. DNR encourages interested citizens to learn more and provide feedback online through the DNR Regulation pages.