In a move that will ensure long-term protection and open new funding opportunities, Jug Bay has been designated a National Wetlands Sanctuary.

The South County wetlands park will be officially incorporated into the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR) after a Sept. 22 ceremony.

The other two sanctuaries, chosen to represent different aspects of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, are Monie Bay on the southeastern shore and Otter Point Creek on the northwestern shore.

Jug Bay was chosen from among scores of other candidates to represent a river ecosystem.

The 350-acre sanctuary, which lies 45 miles up-river from the bay, is still affected by the tides. As a freshwater tidal marsh, it is an ideal spawning and feeding ground for 35 different rare, threatened or endangered species of plants and animals.

The county Recreation and Parks department will still administer the sanctuary, but has entered into a joint agreement with the state and federal governments committing the park as a national research facility for 99 years.

Federal dollars will be added to help research the affects of man on his coastal environment, with an eye toward developing nationwide coastal management plans.

For information about these or the designation ceremony, call 741-9330.

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