Bill will seize riparian rights

By Rich Pelz

The CHESAPEAKE

HB 208 A bill to Confiscate all riparian rights shellfish grounds by the state of Maryland.

Gone are the good old days.

You can read the entire bill at http://mlis.state.md.us/2011rs/bills/hb/hb0208f.pdf

Look specifically at the new language at the very end of the bill.

” SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That any riparian owner who has used or is actively using any creek, cove, or inlet directly in front of his or her property for depositing oysters or other shellfish if the water surface at the mouth of the creek, cove, or inlet is 300 feet or less in width at mean low water shall have the right of first refusal to apply on or before December 31, 2011, for a submerged land lease for that area in accordance with the provisions of Title 4, Subtitle 11A of the Natural Resources Article. ”

Understand some of the ramifications MAY be important.

You lose your right of first refusal On January 1

If you were interested in oyster restoration: Forget it. This bill will make all of the water in these protected creeks public bottom. That means in St. Mary’s, Calvert and all the other Bay Counties any one with an oyster license, be it recreational or commercial can take all of the legal sized oysters in a riparian rights creek as long as they obey the harvest regulations or just don’t get caught. So if you started your own little sanctuary reef. Consider it gone.

If you are interested in Oyster Aquaculture riparian rights creeks gave you a large buffer protecting you from poaching. Under this bill, you will lose that margin of safety. Natural Resource Police are already spread pretty thin . You will have to be your own Policeman 24 – 7 Do not expect them to come running when you need them. Let alone to catch the thief themselves. This bill will add hundreds if not thousands of miles of shoreline throughout the state for them to patrol. Frozen sections of water during the oyster season will not make their job any easier.

You will now have to pay for what was already yours and it won’t be cheap just to keep what you had. It will be expensive. To Apply for a bottom lease you pay $300. Then you rent it at a mere $8 an acre per year but are required to to maintain it at about $6000 per acre every other year or so. But then you might just get a few bushels of oysters off your grounds to offset some of the costs.

If you don’t like it just call or write your legislator while there is still time.

Contact your Legislators http://mlis.state.md.us/.
After that somebody I mean just anybody can file for a lease right in front of your home and you will not have any say as to who they are or for that matter if the state will lease the grounds to them. The law does not require that they be citizens of Maryland or for that matter even the United States.

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After that somebody I mean just anybody can file for a lease right in front of your home and you will not have any say as to who they are or for that matter if the state will lease the grounds to them. The law does not require that they be citizens of Maryland or for that matter even the United States.

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