BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In support of the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Healthy Harbor Oyster Partnership, employee volunteers from Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) and Constellation have been tending to five oyster gardens in the Inner Harbor over the past nine months. Recently, the volunteers spent the afternoon pulling nearly 22,000 oysters from the gardens and planting them on a reef near Fort Carroll in the Patapsco River. Volunteers from BGE and Constellation were also joined by volunteers from T. Rowe Price as they transferred the oysters to their new location, where they will help to filter more than 1 million gallons of water a day, helping to improve the water quality of the Harbor. The Healthy Harbor Initiative and the Healthy Harbor Oyster Partnership support efforts to bring the Chesapeake Bay Foundation closer to a swimmable, fishable Harbor by 2020.
“BGE has a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship, and we understand how vital our support of the Healthy Harbor Oyster Partnership and the Healthy Harbor Initiative is to the health of the Harbor and waterways across central Maryland,” said John Quinn, governmental and external affairs director for BGE. “It has been a great experience tending to the oyster gardens over the last nine months, watching them thrive and survive and then planting them in the reef, and seeing first-hand the positive affect the Healthy Harbor initiatives are having on the Harbor. We are proud to work closely with organizations and environmental groups, like the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, to preserve and protect the environment, and improve the quality of life for our customers in the communities we serve.”
The Healthy Harbor Oyster Partnership is a cooperative effort between the Waterfront Partnership, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and local businesses. Participating businesses include BGE, Constellation, Brown Advisory, Legg Mason, and T.Rowe Price. The businesses have each sponsored an oyster garden and have employee volunteers who build, maintain and manage the oyster cages throughout the year.
This past October, leaders and volunteers from these local businesses, along with students from Digital Harbor High School and The Green School of Baltimore, planted five oyster gardens around the Inner Harbor, containing nearly 40,000 caged spat (baby oysters), with the goal to grow them until they were mature enough to survive in the wild. Releasing the oysters at Fort Carroll will help to filter and improve the water quality of the Harbor. Volunteers cleaned and tended to the oysters over the course of the nine months, helping to assist their development and growth while protected in the gardens. While oysters in the wild often see only one percent survival rate due to predation and low oxygen levels, the spat grown by Healthy Harbor Oyster Partnership maintained a 70 percent survival rate and increased 40 percent in size.
As part of its commitment to building strong communities in central Maryland, BGE supports environmental enhancement initiatives like the Healthy Harbor Initiative and the Healthy Harbor Oyster Partnership. In 2013 alone, BGE employees, friends and family logged more than 25,000 hours volunteering with more than 135 different community organizations. Equivalent to 12 years of full-time service, these volunteer efforts offer BGE’s nonprofit partners the opportunity to reinvest resources and better serve communities throughout central Maryland. To learn more about BGE’s commitment to the environment, philanthropic giving and volunteer support, visit bge.com/giving.
About the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore
Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore (WPB) was formed in 2005, responding to issues related to maintenance and management of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Their mission is to create an improved appearance and visitor experience in the Harbor. Goals include making the Harbor cleaner, creating a more attractive environment, and promoting the Harbor as a destination for City residents as well as tourists.
In 2010, WPB launched the Healthy Harbor initiative to make the Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020. Since that time they have released a comprehensive Healthy Harbor Plan, installed 2,000 square feet of floating wetlands in the Inner Harbor, and created fun and engaging programs to educate the public about the Harbor’s marine ecosystem both on the water and from the water’s edge. WPB also works closely with local environmental non-profits and City government towards a cleaner and greener future for Baltimore’s neighborhoods, streams and Harbor.
About the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is a non-profit organization devoted to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay in the United States. It was founded in 1967 and has headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland.
CBF recognizes that saving the Bay is uniquely tied to restoring the native oyster. In support of re-establishing this keystone species, CBF has established three facilities devoted to oyster restoration in Maryland and Virginia. CBF also offers outdoor education programs that have introduced several generations of school children to the Chesapeake Bay through outposts along the Bay's shores, as well as urban settings like the Baltimore Harbor. Their work aims to restore the Bay with environmental programs such as planting trees and other greenery, along with restoring oyster populations. CBF also lobbies state and local governments on regulations intended to stave off the Bay's decline.
BGE, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 655,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,400 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2013 revenues of approximately $24.9 billion. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.