This weekend the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland (CCA MD) hauled their reef ball building trailer up to the Bass Pro Shops in Hanover, MD, where they set up shop and started building future homes for the oysters, crabs and fish of the Chesapeake Bay. We have a feature article on the efforts of CCA MD and their partners coming in the November edition of FishTalk Magazine, but in the meantime, we wanted to bring you this short video that shows how reef ball construction gets done - and, of course, how CCA MD involves kids with the process at the very same time.

CCA has had this program running strong in Maryland for a couple of years now, and at least one Virginia chapter has become involved, too. CCA Northern Virginia teamed up with the kids at James Madison High School in Fairfax County. We certainly hope the concept continues to spread. In the afternoon at Bass Pro Shops 14 reef balls were created, and CCA MD has now built about 400 of these critter condominiums, most of which are currently laying on the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.

A single reef ball can be set with 1,700 spat (infant oysters) and provide critical habitat for the forseable future. As we said earlier, there's a feature in the November 2017 edition of FishTalk that goes into much more detail - so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, we want to make sure the program's other major sponsors also get noticed. Lehigh Cement has provided a huge amount of materials for reef ball construction. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has the facilities and the ambition to set the spat on the reef balls, and it's also dedicated the time, energy, and boats to haul the reef balls out into the Bay. Stevenson University is monitoring the reef balls already in place, studying their effectiveness in restoring habitat. And the Maryland Reef Initiative, Carroll County Public Schools, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, BaySaver Technologies, and the Oyster Recovery Partnership, have all chipped in to participate in the program.

For more information, visit CCA MD.

For a look at a very different but just as impressively cool program aiming to improve the health of our waterways, check out this Bay-cleaning water wheel invented for use in Baltimore Harbor.