The Corsica Restoration Project is carried out by a consortium of government and non-profit entities including CRC. The work of the consortium is coordinated by an Implementers Group headed by the MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Implementers Group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 9:00 am at the Queen Anne’s County Department of Planning and Zoning 160 Coursevall Drive, Centreville, MD.
Project Clean Stream
Each year on the first Sunday in April, CRC (in partnership with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Town of Centreville) sponsors Project Clean Stream at four sites in the Corsica River Watershed. Approximately 100 volunteers participate in this activity and in a typical year we collect about two truckloads of trash. In addition to the usual bottles, cans , and paper and plastic products; this has included auto and tractor tires, metal drums, half of a canoe, a bar sink, and building/landscaping material such as 6×6 landscaping timbers, sheets of landscaping fabric, and large sheet rock pieces.
Project Clean Stream Image Gallery
The rain garden program has been a key component of our efforts. To date CRC has sponsored the installation of over 370 residential rain gardens. Over seventy of these have been installed in Symphony Village and thirty in Northbrook. Rain gardens are key to our efforts to restore the watershed for two reasons. First, rain gardens capture runoff and reduce pollution flowing into the Corsica River. And perhaps equally important rain gardens are a key part of our education and outreach program in that they involve watershed residents in restoration efforts and develop a sense of stewardship. The program has been temporarily suspended because of lack of financial support.
CRC has been growing oysters under the state Maryland Grows Oysters (MGO) program since 2009. These have been deposited annually on the Possum Point bar. In 2011, 40 properties owners on the Corsica hosted 221 oyster cages filled with shells that had been seeded with oyster spat at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has documented that at one time the Corsica had numerous and extensive oyster bars. Current restoration efforts have focused on two historic bars, Possum Point and Emory Wharf. Over 30 million oyster spat were deposited on these bars by the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) in 2005, 2006 and 2008. The Corsica River Conservancy (CRC) has been growing oysters under the state Maryland Grows Oysters (MGO) program since 2009. These have been deposited annually on the Possum Point bar. In 2011, 40 properties owners on the Corsica hosted 221 oyster cages filled with shells that had been seeded with oyster spat at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge. There are also extensive oyster bars that have existed as sanctuaries at the mouth of the Corsica in the Middle Chester for many years. By all known accounts, oysters have grown successfully throughout these locations. For example, data obtained from UMD show oyster density greater than 5 oysters per square meter on 62% of the Possum Point bar with 70% shell coverage.
Oysters are an important component of restoration because of their water filtering capacity. A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water in a day. Because of the Corsica’s depth and physical characteristics, small improvements water clarity can lead to larger increases in habitat restoration and overall water quality. This effect was dramatically illustrated by the sudden emergence of Dark False Mussels in the Corsica in 2004. These filter feeders had a profound effect of increasing water clarity to as much as four feet. The effect on underwater grasses was immediate and extensive as it reemerged in volume throughout the River. Unfortunately, this event was short lived with previous conditions returning in 2005 and the large number of mussels disappearing. But this event does provide a strong, tangible indication of how dramatically filter feeders can clarify the Corsica and how immediate an effect that clarification can have on the overall health of the River and its water quality.
Because of its size and the ecosystem wide improvements /investments, the Corsica, may represent the best watershed to demonstrate the beneficial effects of oyster sanctuaries in restoring tributaries. Moreover, the world class monitoring system that has been implemented in the watershed through the restoration project can provide a comprehensive data set of reference points to empirically assess the extent of improvements that are achieved.
Oyster Restoration Image Gallery
CRC develops communication with residents through correspondence and exhibits at various community events. Members also help develop and staff exhibits. For the last eleven years, CRC has held a large scale public outreach event such as Corsica River Awareness Day, Corsica River Day, Corsica Riverfest, and other educational/recreational family events.
One way to encourage participation and instill a sense of stewardship is through education. When it comes to ensuring the long term health of the Corsica River who better to have as stewards than our young people? Presently we conduct several programs aimed at students from 4th grade through high school. We continue to expand our education and public information activities. If you think you might be interested in working with young people, please contact CRC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-758-6563.
Each spring CRC participates in Bay Days, a three day program at Kennard Elementary designed to teach students about the Chesapeake Bay primarily through hands-on activities.
Natural shoreline restoration (living shoreline) is another activity in which CRC participates. One of the principal advantages of a living shoreline over other restoration methods (e.g., bulkheads or riprap) is that in addition to preventing erosion it also provides habitat for aquatic animals.
Water Quality Monitoring
After a very successful ten years of the Corsica River Conservancy is terminating it’s testing of the quality of the Corsica River. When we began in May 2005, no one was monitoring the main stems of either the Corsica or the Chester Rivers. Since then, Chester River Association (CRA) has implemented a rigorous sampling and testing procedure for the Chester and its tributaries. The CRC board has now decided to stop our separate testing of the Corsica and let CRA extend its testing into the Corsica. They will be testing for all parameters that we tested except for bacteria. In addition they will test for nutrients. Over the years we have learned that bacteria are not an issue except for after heavy rains and most of those issues are near the Centreville wharf.
The CRC testing program has been conducted entirely by volunteers on a weekly basis from May through October. The CRA program is manned by paid staff and runs from April through November. Information and results of the testing program can now be found on the CRA website