Agriculture Law Education Initiative and Maryland Sea Grant College
Elissa Torres-Soto is a recent Environmental and Energy Law LL.M. graduate from Georgetown University Law Center. With the supervision of Nicole Cook from the Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI), she is currently working on a legal journal article about the standing requirements to present a protest to a new commercial shellfish aquaculture lease in the State of Maryland. She is also working on a fact sheet about how to transfer a commercial shellfish aquaculture lease in Maryland. Another of Elissa’s projects includes developing a guide for navigating the state and federal permitting processes for nature-based projects on the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area. Elissa completed her fellowship in fall 2021 and is now working as a staff attorney with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington D.C.
Eva May received a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences, with a minor in biology, as well as a certificate in marine science and conservation leadership from Duke University. Her time at Duke taught her what a career in marine science could look like. While she enjoyed rehabilitating and researching sea turtles and parrotfish hatchlings, she also learned the ways in which her research could facilitate changes in fisheries management and in ecosystems as a whole.
May’s course work exposed her to several marine coastal areas, including the Chesapeake Bay. Her knowledge of the region, combined with her broad interest in marine sciences, made her a great fit for Maryland Sea Grant.
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Smithville is a community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, on the edge of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. A century ago, Smithville had more than 100 residents. Today, it has four, in two homes: an elderly couple, and one elderly woman and her son, who cares for her.
Oyster aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry in Maryland’s Chesapeake waters which stimulates economic activity and may provide a host of ecosystem benefits. A potential concern associated with the intensification of the oyster aquaculture is the local production and accumulation of oyster biodeposits, which can lead to a porewater sulfide accumulation and declining bioturbation, symptoms of declining ecosystem function. Sulfide is naturally removed from the seafloor by the interactions between bioturbating infauna and sulfide oxidizing bacteria.