Living Reef Action Campaign

CCA Maryland's Flagship Habitat, Education and Outreach Program

Goals of LRAC:

  1. Habitat Creation & Restoration
  2. Educational Outreach & Community Engagement
  3. Advancing the Science of Habitat Restoration Through Scientific Studies

Living Reef Action Campaign (LRAC) began in 2015 through our Central Region Chapter in Carroll County, LRAC focuses on engaging students through in-class and hands-on STEM programs that encourage environmental stewardship.

The program also provides a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) which is a curriculum requirement for students in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

LRAC is anchored by a pair of mobile reef ball building trailers which travel throughout the region for reef ball building activities.  The program builds multiple sized reef balls, and coordinates the deployment of them throughout the state.

While our focus is to provide important habitat for oysters and other estuarine critters, reef balls are valued in both fresh an Bay waters, LRAC built reef balls have been placed in Lake Habeeb, Blairs Valley Lake, and Cunningham Falls lake to support the state lake improvement program.

The Tilghman Island, Janes Island and Chesapeake Beach reefs that are part of the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative have all received reef ball deployments since the programs inception.   LRAC built reef balls have also been provided for a shoreline protection project at Turnbull Estates on the South River, and are slated to be installed at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental center and Eastern Neck Island Wildlife Refuge in 2024.

Please consider supporting the important work of the Living Reef Action Campaign.  As a partner, donor, or participant, you are making a difference in the future of Bay habitat when supporting our program.

Enjoy the video below, it was created by CCA's Senior Fellow Jocelyn Fillius and her team through their change maker classroom program at South River High in 2019.   Jocelyn officially joined the CCA team in 2020, and continues to support our work as she purses her biology degree at St. Mary's College.

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.

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help out on reef ball build days

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By working with educators, we collectively provide a meaningful experiential environmental learning for students. The building concrete reef balls, which are later seeded with oyster spat and deployed in the Chesapeake Bay to create new three dimensional reef structures, provides a unique perspective for students, teachers and parents into the importance of the oyster in the regional ecosystem.

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Objectives of LRAC

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

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.

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.

Carroll County Times on Living Reef Action Campaign

Living Reef Action Campaign

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