Settlement on NRG’s Power Plant Pollution Leads to a $0.5 Million Oyster Restoration Project

Photo by Tusik Only

As part of Potomac Riverkeeper’s settlement with NRG Energy and the state of Maryland on NRG’s pollution of the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers with excess nutrients, NRG was required to fund a $0.5 million environmental project in the Potomac that would help reduce nutrient pollution. The result? A five year plan developed by the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC), with input from PRK, to restore oyster beds in several locations in the lower tidal Potomac. Native oyster populations are slowly making a comeback, after decades of decline and overharvesting decimated the thriving oyster beds that once were found throughout the tidal rivers of Chesapeake Bay. In addition to their water filtering abilities, oysters and healthy oyster reefs capture nitrogen in their shells, helping to reduce nutrient loading in the Potomac and Bay that depletes oxygen, impairing fish habitat and reproduction. We were pleased to see funds from our enforcement action go to local restoration projects instead of the state Treasury, and are committed to working with PRFC and Maryland to make sure this project is a success.