Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed Capital Budget for Fiscal 2014 includes a huge success for oyster restoration and aquaculture. The governor has earmarked a total of million for these efforts, including .5 million for oyster restoration projects and 0,000 for aquaculture infrastructure improvements. This constitutes a significant funding increase for oyster restoration and aquaculture.
Chesapeake BaySavers has lobbied vigorously for oyster restoration and aquaculture funds. In November, BaySavers wrote the Governor congratulating him on supporting vital restoration efforts in Harris Creek and Little Choptank River through a Capital Budget allocation in Fiscal 2013. We also urged the Governor to sustain out-year funding for restoration and aquaculture in the 2014 budget. The Governor’s decision to allot $10 million for restoration/aquaculture marks a big victory in Chesapeake BaySavers’ legislative efforts.
Key Legislative Issues:
Supports Oyster Shell Recycling Tax Credit
Chesapeake BaySavers is also working to help pass a bill that would establish a tax credit for restaurants, caterers and others who participate in oyster shell recycling. Reclaiming oyster shells is crucial to supporting restoration and aquaculture efforts throughout the Chesapeake. The Oyster Recovery Partnership estimates the proposed tax credit of $1 per bushel of recycled oyster shell could http://quotecorner.com/xenical.html boost recycling levels to 30-50,000 bushels annually for a cost of about $50,000 to the state. In return, each bushel of oyster shell recycled could generate 3.3 bushels of new Chesapeake Bay oysters.
Supports Pesticide Monitoring
BaySavers supports legislation that would require all applicators of pesticides in Maryland to regularly update a public database, detailing the type, location and date of all pesticide applications. Chesapeake BaySavers believes such a database could be a valuable source of information for analyzing and protecting natural resources in and around the Chesapeake Bay.
Supports Aquaculture Leases
Chesapeake BaySavers believes that oyster aquaculture is vital to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. We will work to advance legislation that improves commercial and demonstration aquaculture leases, and creates opportunities to transfer leases to qualified, nonprofit organizations.
Supports Cost Recovery Measures
Chesapeake BaySavers is looking forward to supporting legislation that increases revenues for the Department of Natural Resources Fishery Services. We anticipate legislation, which would generate $1.6 million in additional funds for DNR. That amount would protect scientific programs focused on restoring Maryland’s fisheries, repopulating declining stocks and protecting our natural resources.