July 5, 2022

Chesapeake Bay Foundation ordered to stop artificial reef work

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has been ordered to stop work on artificial reefs on the Lynnhaven River.

This comes after several complaints and pictures showing what the VMRC considers non-compliance.

10 On Your Side obtained pictures that clearly show what the Virginia Marine Resources Commission considers a substantial violation of the state code.

“We do want trust with that community, the VMRC, and that’s why we are working to address all these concerns,” says Jackie Shannon who is the Foundation’s Oyster Restoration Manager and has dedicated her professional career to working for a healthier Chesapeake Bay.

“We take this very seriously, and we have great decades of track record working with communities to build successful, safe working, and thriving oyster reefs.”

All this trouble is due to the “Stop Work Order issued by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) telling the CBF that “all installation activities for previously authorized permits are hereby suspended.”

“We could have had more inspections in place, and that is exactly what we are going to do moving forward,” said Shannon.

For the Chesapeake Bay Foundation which has apparently heard the VMRC message loud and clear, the process wasn’t perfect.

“We have honed it in even more, and luckily these pictures have brought to light the need to go out and remove some of this material that we can luckily access,” said Shannon.

“We have implemented some solutions working with the state to have an extra observer to mitigate that.”

One of the most troubling things is asphalt and metal wire way out of the water.

“These were brought to our attention before contractors had the opportunity to retrieve those.”

Shannon says the Foundation wants to build trust, not destroy it.

“We can fix this, and we are going to move forward in a way that we can rebuild that community trust.”

Following an inquiry, State Senator Bill DeSteph sent 10 On Your Side a response below regarding the situation.

“The proposed CBF and LRN (Lynnhaven River Now) remediation plan is unacceptable…I have worked with the Governor, Secretary of Natural Resources, VMRC, VIMS, DEQ and our citizens to ensure all complaints and concerns regarding the CBF and LRN are investigated appropriately.

Any and all incompatible debris (asphalt, plastic, concrete with steel, and other pollutants) that will harm our waterways, or our citizens is remediated accordingly and appropriately.

We will continue to address the concerns of our citizens during our investigation and will have our third public hearing on July 6 at 6 p.m.”

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