Living Reef Action Campaign

The Living Reef Action Campaign (LRAC) is CCA Maryland’s flagship habitat, education, and outreach program.  Started in 2015 through our Central Region Chapter in Carroll County, LRAC has 3 main goals:

  • Habitat creation & restoration
  • Educational outreach & community engagement
  • Advancing the science of habitat restoration through scientific studies

LRAC focuses on engaging students through in-class and hands-on STEM programs that encourage environmental stewardship.  There are a variety of opportunities available to schools ranging from one-day in-class speakers to on-site construction of three-dimensional artificial reef components for eventual deployment in the bay and its tributaries.  While this program originated within our local school systems, we welcome all opportunities to work with different groups, community associations and businesses for the ultimate benefit of the Chesapeake Bay.

LRAC is anchored by our mobile reef ball building trailer which travels to multiple schools throughout the region.  Building reef balls gives students a chance to roll their sleeves up, get dirty, and learn new skills.   The program also provides a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) which is a requirement of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.  Students from elementary, middle and high schools have taken part in LRAC, and we are proud to have built in Carroll, Howard, Harford, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Prince Georges Counties at this time.

Another key component of LRAC is the work that many high school students are doing, building reef balls at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center(Westminster), and Center for Applied Technology - North (Anne Arundel County)  as part of their masonry training programs.

Don't forget, the end result of our work is accessible to anyone with a boat, so get out there and tell us how the fishing is at the Tilghman Reef.



Restoring Habitat

Three-dimensional oyster reefs used to exist in the Chesapeake Bay. Years of overharvest and disease have broken down these reefs and the oyster population to a very small portion of what historically existed in the region. A three-dimensional oyster reef provides habitat for a number of species, and is there very foundation of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Reefs provide shelter for many juvenile fish, crabs and invertebrates, and by providing oysters an opportunity to vertically like they have historically. By jumpstarting their vertical growth off the bottom, reef balls give oysters better access to algae rich water to eat, and protect them being smothered by sediment, increasing the survive ability of oysters and other aquatic creatures and the success of overall habitat restoration

Fostering Stewardship

By teaching students about oyster restoration and why three-dimensional reefs are important to the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay. Schools engage in class hands on projects, and the construction of reef balls which will eventually be deployed in the bay to create habitat and jump start the restoration of three-dimensional oyster reefs. By participating in LRAC, Students, teachers and parents learn why oysters are essential to the health of the Bay and become a part of the solution to providing a bright future for our shared natural resources.

Advancing Science

CCA Maryland has partnered with Stevenson University to monitor the success of our reef building efforts, and advance the science of habitat restoration. The studies which are underway include components related to changes in water clarity and quality, biodiversity, oyster growth and recruitment, and an evaluation of different reef building techniques and practices.

How you can take part in the Living Reef Action Campaign

Educators: Get Your Students Involved

CCA Maryland works to supplement your already ongoing educational efforts and support STEM requirements and a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience. There is no direct cost to participating schools, but we do ask for assistance in organizing volunteers to help share the work load for each reef ball build.  Contact us to find out how your students can participate in the Living Reef Action Campaign.

  • Tell us your preferred schedule, class program, are you already teaching about oysters and the Chesapeake Bay?

Volunteer to support reef ball building efforts

CCA Maryland’s greatest strength is our members and volunteers. We rely on them to spread to the word about the work we are doing, and to help support reef ball building efforts.   To find out more about volunteer opportunities, please send us a message below.  


Get your group or company to build reef balls

LRAC is not just for Schools! Do you have a community group or company that would be interested in learning more about oysters and their role in the Chesapeake Bay? How about rolling up your sleeves and taking part in a reef ball build? Our mobile reef ball building trailers are available for use outside of schools, and we would love the opportunity to work with you.

partner with us

Donate to the Living Reef Action Campaign