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The following articles are selections from our quarterly newsletter: "The Otter's Tale". The entire newsletter is available at the Estuary Center or you can download it here.

In Design: CBNERR-MD Begins Planning
for a Field Station at Monie Bay

In Design: CBNERR-MD Begins Planning for a Field Station at Monie Bay

by Jenn Raulin, Reserve Manager

The Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR-MD) is comprised of three unique components:  Otter Point Creek at the Anita C Leight Estuary Center, Jug Bay at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and Patuxent River Park, and Monie Bay at the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area.  Our Western Shore components are blessed to be partnered with strong county park systems which provide infrastructure, staff, access, and programming, making our job of promoting these sites as living laboratories and classrooms pretty effortless.  Our Eastern Shore component, however is a different story.  CBNERR-MD’s oldest and most remote component has struggled for decades with lack of access, and therefore lack of research and programming opportunities, but that is now changing.

UMD Student Concept

In 2018, CBNERR-MD kicked off a new 5 year strategic plan which included a deliberate focus on Monie Bay.  The Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland is an underserved area that is experiencing the one-two punch of sea level rise and subsidence.  We feel a sense of urgency to connect with and support the community and drive research towards these delicate marsh systems.  One strategy that we are employing to increase our research and education presence in the area has been to begin work on designing a field station for Monie Bay.

The vision for a facility started years ago, under the leadership of CBNERR-MD’s previous manager, Beth Ebersole.  In 2011, the State acquired property in the area to provide the water access and infrastructure the Reserve was lacking.  Unfortunately, the farm house, which was the intended field station, was in disrepair and it was deemed too expensive to renovate.  A new plan was hatched.  Using the best available data, the Reserve analyzed the property for storm surge and sea level rise to determine a sound location for a new building.  Over the summer of 2018, we developed a partnership with the University of Maryland School of Architecture, engaging a graduate level class to develop concept designs for the field station.  Our next step will be to begin work on developing complete architectural and engineering designs.  For more information about the design studio and our work in Monie Bay, visit our story map.

UMD Field Day

Funding for this effort is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  CBNERR-MD has been fortunate to have been able to utilize National Estuarine Research Reserve funding to support improvements at all of our components, some of which may be near and dear to your heart:  the Anita C Leight Estuary Center building, Plummer House and the Chris Swarth boardwalk at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, bathrooms and the observation tower at Patuxent River Park, and interpretive signage around all of the properties.  If you value these enhancements at your sites and want to show your support, consider contacting your Congressional representative and show your #estuarylove.  We’ll continue to use these newsletter opportunities to keep you up to date on what’s happening with the Reserve all across the state.



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Anita C. Leight Estuary Center / 700 Otter Point Road, Abingdon MD 21009 / 410-612-1688