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Maryland Watermen Help Build Environmental Science Classroom
Project benefits watermen, Juvenile Service Students
Grantsville, MD – For the past several weeks, eight Maryland watermen have been working alongside the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Juvenile Services to build an aquaculture and environmental science center at the Meadow Mountain Youth Center in Grantsville, MD. The collaborative project, part of a State program to reduce the economic impact of blue crab conservation measures on Maryland watermen, will provide a living classroom for adjudicated youth in Maryland.
“This is an exceptional example of what we can accomplish under our Smart, Green & Growing initiative, when we think outside of the box and engage partners at every level,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “By joining forces with our public and private partners, we are providing work for watermen, training at risk youth for jobs in an increasingly green economy, and creating a facility that will produce fish to populate our waterways.”
The facility will be used by the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), an aquaculture curriculum and certificate program developed in cooperation with the National Aquarium, Baltimore City Zoo, Horne Point Lab, and the University of Maryland’s Aquaculture in Action program.
“The aquaculture program will provide exciting employment opportunities for Youth Center students training in this growing industry,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “In addition, the hybrid sunfish and rainbow trout produced by the students will help replenish fish populations and support youth and urban fishing programs across the state -- often within their own communities.”
Earlier this month, Governor O’Malley signed into law a new Aquaculture Shellfish Leasing bill that will greatly expand opportunities for shellfish aquaculture in Maryland waters.
“Through knowledge and service, the aquaculture program will support a student’s transition towards becoming a productive member of the community,” said DJS Secretary Donald DeVore.
This is one of several construction projects DNR has collaborated on with Maryland watermen to help ease the economic impact of blue crab conservation measures enacted last year.
“Being one of the watermen that participated, it was nice to see such efforts being put into a resourceful project,” said waterman Ken Hubbard. “I would like to thank DNR and DJS staff for their outstanding efforts to keep us all working and to take time out to explain the importance of the facility and it's vital role to help our bay.”
In 2008, Governor Martin O’Malley worked with the General Assembly to secure $3 million for construction projects developed specifically to utilize Maryland watermen’s existing equipment and skill sets, including oyster bar rehabilitation projects, and land-based job opportunities such as this one. Governor O’Malley and the Maryland Congressional Delegation –led by Senator Barbara Mikulski – also worked to secure $15 million in National Marine Fisheries Service federal blue crab fishery disaster assistance funds for projects such as habitat restoration, fishery monitoring and retraining for industry diversification into aquaculture opportunities.
May 27, 2009
Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov