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On behalf of the Rotary Club of Leonardtown and our eight-partner Rotary clubs throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Lexington Park club, I want to publicly thank Bill Cullins of Cullins Trucking in Clements for generously sending a 53-foot tractor-trailer to Shady Side on Dec. 14 to help transport 89 concrete reef balls to the Marlay Taylor Water Reclamation Facility in Lexington Park.

Cullins Trucking donated the cost of hauling the heavy reef balls (approximately 31,000 pounds) that were constructed by Rotary volunteers last fall at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s oyster recovery facility in Anne Arundel County.

I also want to thank RI District Governor Bob Parkinson of the Lexington Park club and the CBF volunteers who helped me load the reef balls at Shady Side. Thanks again to Mr. Parkinson and to Bob Lewis and other St. Mary’s River Watershed Association volunteers and numerous MetCom employees who helped unload the reef balls when they arrived at the Marlay Taylor facility. Thanks also to MetCom for allowing us to temporarily store the reef balls at its Marlay Taylor facility.

Over the next month or so the reef balls moved to Lexington Park on Dec. 14 will be used to build three of six new three-dimensional oyster reefs that will be constructed during the first phase of the project in the St. Mary’s River, adjacent to St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Each of the reefs will be 20 feet in diameter, 4 feet high and will rise to within 1 foot of the water’s surface at low tide. The six new Phase 1 reefs will cover 0.5 acres of the 2.8-acre project site. Eighteen additional reefs will be constructed next year as part of Phase 2 and will range from 6 to 8 feet high at low-tide depths of 7 and 9 feet, respectively. Phase 2 will cover an additional 2.3 acres.

The new three dimensional reefs will be the first fully three-dimensional reefs to be constructed in the bay since more than 70,000 acres of its historic three-dimensional reefs were destroyed during the later part of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The project is expected to demonstrate the superior habitat features provided by three-dimensional oyster reefs, versus the oyster bars which now reside only at the bottom of the bay, and is intended to serve as a model for restoring the bay’s oyster population and its water quality. The project has been developed through a unique partnership between St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association and the Rotary Clubs of District 7620. For more information about the project and how you readers can participate, please visit www.rereefthebay.org.

Thanks again to Bill Cullins of Cullins Trucking. His company’s generosity is most appreciated and will greatly assist our efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay’s water quality and its native oyster population.



Steven L. King, Hollywood

The writer is project manager for the Rotary Club of Leonardtown.