Previous month:
July 2011
Next month:
September 2011

Photo of the Week: Beautiful Swimmer, Up-Close and Personal

Photo by Nick Fornaro/

Perhaps the quintessential icon of the Chesapeake Bay, the blue crab brings in more than $50 million dollars of revenue each yearthe highest value of any Bay commercial fishery, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program. Slowly but surely this important Bay creature is rebounding from the dark days of a depleted population in the 1990s and early 2000s. Here, Nick Fornaro of Edgewater, Maryland, captures a Chesapeake Bay blue crab, also called "Beautiful Swimmer," in full and beautiful detail: "She was too small to keep. I placed her on the dock and she wouldn't move. After the picture I nudged her back in the water."

—Emmy Nicklin

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to our Photo of the Week contest? Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Flickr group or post to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your pics! 

Chesapeake News and Dos

Filling you in on the top stories of the week and letting you know how to make a difference!


 Photo by Annette Conniff

This week in the Watershed:  Rockfish, Beetles, and high-tech Bay Saving

  • Pennsylvania stream restoration goes high tech with this Bucknell student’s creation.  Learn how on-the-ground restoration folks will get a new bird’s eye view.  (Bucknell Website - PA)
  • Maryland is cracking down on illegal poaching of rockfish.  After finding 13 tons of poached fish caught by illegal gill nets, the Department of Natural Resources will impose new rules to limit the illegal practice.  (The Capital - MD)
  • The federal government is making $2.4 million available for Maryland to protect the Puritan tiger beetle, an endangered insect roaming the bayside cliffs in Calvert and Cecil counties. (Baltimore Sun - MD)
  • Perhaps the tide is turning?  A recent coastal clean-up in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland found less waste than in previous years. (Daily Times - MD)


Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities in the Bay


August 27

  • Remove invasive species on Four Mile Creek with the Four Mile Creek RIP Project in Arlington, VA.  NOTE:  Please contact Sarah Archer at to confirm the event is still happening regardless of Irene. 

August 30

  • Join the CBF Book Club in Virginia!  Each month they will choose a new book with an environmental theme and gather together to discuss. 

August 31


  • Help protect and monitor wild lupine (a rare native plant) populations!  No experience necessary and a great opportunity to get outside and make a difference. 


Adam Wickline


Adam is the Community Building Manager of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  He works to inform and engage people across the watershed to take part in Saving the Bay.  If you have an upcoming Bay-related restoration event and you need volunteers, please let us know.


Do you enjoy working with fellow Bay Lovers to help save the Chesapeake?  Become a CBF Volunteer to receive notifications about upcoming volunteer opportunities. 

Notes from the Field: From the Chesapeake to the Jordan

A Roman bridge built over the Jordan River. Photo by Adam Wickline/CBF Staff.

The idea of summer school usually implies a remedial tone: “Johnny, you failed algebra. You’re going to summer school!” However, this July I had the extraordinary opportunity to learn how another region of the world is dealing with complex environmental issues. Through a State Department grant and a Dickinson College/Arava Institute of Environmental Sciences (AIES) partnership, I participated in the Across Borders Summer Fellowship in the Middle East to study trans-boundary resource issues in the region. Along with 16 fellow professionals from all over the United States, I traveled, explored, and discussed the major resource challenges facing Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt. The fellowship will continue next summer with 17 environmental professionals from the Middle East coming to the Chesapeake Bay region to study our efforts to work together across state lines in reducing pollution running into our waters. 

Not surprisingly, water was the resource that took center stage. Though I could speak for days detailing the myriad of water issues facing the region, there was one problem that intrigued me the most: the degradation of the Jordan River. 

The Jordan River runs north to south from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea and forms a large part of the border between Israel and Jordan. It is both culturally and ecologically important. The site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist is a key stop for the numerous pilgrims who visit the region each year. The river valley is also an extremely important flyway for birds migrating from Europe to Africa and back to escape winter. Though this river is small in comparison to the rivers we have in the Chesapeake watershed, it provides a large portion of freshwater to both countries. So much so that every cubic meter of water in the river is allocated for human use, whether it be domestic use in the home or use in the numerous agricultural fields on both sides of the river. And there’s the rub. By the time the Jordan River reaches the Dead Sea, it is nothing more than a small trickle comprised mostly of wastewater put back into the river after people have used it.  Sadly, the Jordan is one of the most degraded waterways I have ever encountered and its overuse has impacted the environment and people. Bird populations that once thrived in the Jordan River valley have decreased in the past few decades. Furthermore, we were concerned that people could very possibly be developing a “baptism rash” of some sort while being purified in the not-so-clean Jordan River!

Fortunately, there is work being done to rehabilitate and restore this unique world treasure. An active organization called the Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME) has worked tirelessly on both sides of the river to create a plan to allow more water to flow in the river, create proper sewage treatment for wastewater, and connect people to the river to increase awareness. Just like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Bay-wide pollution diet, FOEME has an actionable plan based in science that can save the Jordan River. Unfortunately, their plan has not been implemented by any of the involved governments. But when I spoke with Gidon Bromberg, the Director of FOEME’s Israeli office, he exuded sincere optimism and confidence that expressed hope for the future of both the river and the region, against all odds. This was certainly an inspiration to take with me back to the Chesapeake, and to discuss with next year’s fellows.

IMG_0184 The not-so-clean water at the Baptism site in the Jordan River. Photo by Adam Wickline/CBF Staff.

Now that I have returned to Maryland and CBF, I cannot help but constantly compare the struggle of our Bay to the struggle of the Jordan River. Even though things seem bad here, we are still lucky in many ways. For example, the Chesapeake is one of the most studied bodies of water in the world and we have incredible data to show for it. This is a key advantage when you consider the Jordan, whose data are either nonexistent or in disagreement with another nation’s research. In addition, we as watershed citizens have INCREDIBLE access to our streams, rivers, and Chesapeake. We are out there fishing, boating, hunting, and keeping an eye on the health of our water. The Jordan River lies between two countries that were at war as recently as 1973. It is choked off from its people by barbed wire, military borders, and landmines. Until FOEME made concerted efforts to get people to go to the few access points there are on the river, no one really knew the problems at hand or moved to make government protect this natural treasure.   

So, let’s use all these advantages that we have here in the Chesapeake. We have an enforceable plan to reduce pollution (the TMDL, or “pollution diet”). We have the power to contact our elected officials and voice our opinion. And finally—and perhaps most importantly—we have numerous opportunities to truly experience the magic that our Bay and its watershed still hold. And we have a duty to keep an eye out for egregious violations against our waters and to keep them clean.    

—Adam Wickline

Photo of the Week: Havre de Grace Sunrise


Photo by Ed Rybczynski/

"My wife and I are fortunate enough to live in a waterfront condo in the town of Havre de Grace, Maryland. Our unit, which is very near the Concord Point Lighthouse, has a view of those wondrous transitional waters where the Susquehanna River becomes the Chesapeake Bay.

Earlier this year, I decided to take daily sunrise photos from the Havre de Grace shoreline for an entire year, weather permitting. I'm happy to say that the six month mark is quickly approaching. All the photos can be viewed on a Facebook page named 'Havre de Grace Sunrise 365.'

I took this particular photo because I love the color of the hull of the boat on the right. The red is so vibrant and robust that I wanted to emphasize it in a sunrise image. After the photo was shared on-line, friends found a deeper meaning: 

Havre de Grace Marina is very old school Havre de Grace and very representative of the way the town's shoreline might have looked decades ago. It's actually a glimpse of the culture of the town's past. It's not a yacht basin, it could be accurately described as a boatyard more than a marina. In stark contrast, you can see condos in the background of the photo. They are located in Perryville on the opposite shore of the Susquehanna River and very much characterize the modern-day development on the Bay. 

While growing up, my family had a shore home on Bear Creek. I spent the summers of my youth boating, fishing, crabbing, swimming, etc. My wife, Andrea, had a similar experience growing up on the shores of the South River just outside of Annapolis. It could be said that we are children of the Chesapeake Bay. We wanted our son, Adam, to have the opportunity to embrace the Chesapeake Bay lifestyle and all that it has to offer. He has!"

—Ed Rybczynski

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to our Photo of the Week contest? Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Flickr group or post to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your pics! 

Chesapeake News and Dos

Filling you in on the top stories of the week and letting you know how you can make a difference!

Photo courtesy John Rodenhausen and Beth McGee/CBF Staff

This week in the Watershed: Bikes, Beaches, Turtles, and Teachers!  

  • Two Chesapeake Bay Foundation employees will finish their three-week circumnavigation of the watershed via bicycle today.
  • Maryland’s cover crop program set a record for the number of acres  enrolled in the state’s upcoming winter cover crop program to hold sediment and nutrients on the field. Gov. Martin O’Malley said this is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing pollution. (Baltimore Sun – MD)
  • The Baltimore Aquarium released three rescued Kemp’s ridley sea turtles back into the Bay. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the most endangered of all sea turtle species. (Baltimore Sun – MD)
  • Pennsylvania is mulling over the idea of allowing drilling under Pa. forest land. The head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development indicates state government could receive revenues of $60 billion in the next 30 years. (Pittsburg Post-Gazette - PA)
  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will reintroduce his septic tank ban for Maryland’s legislative session, which did not pass this year’s session. (WAMU – Washington, D.C.)
  • It is safe to return to the surf in Norfolk, where two beaches were closed on Tuesday due to elevated bacterial levels in the water. (Virginian-Pilot – VA)
  • Baltimore City teachers were out on a farm in Catonsville with the Chesapeake Classrooms program, learning how to incorporate the environment into their classrooms.  (ABC 2 News – MD)
  • The Washington Post Editorial Board opines about the high value of EPA’s “pollution diet” and reminds all that while the cleanup effort may be costly those costs must be measured against the Bay’s economic importance and even greater costs of continued inaction. (Washington Post – D.C.) 


Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities in the Bay

August 20 

  • Join the Cyclist for the Bay crew in Virginia as they complete a team ride in the area. They will start in Ashland, VA at 7 a.m.!
  • This weekend, volunteer oyster gardeners in Virginia will return their grown oysters and get a new batch of baby oysters (called “spat”) to grow for next year. To learn how to become an oyster gardener in Virginia and help Save the Bay, please visit our website. If you live in Maryland and want to be a gardener, go here

August 22


  • Become a watershed steward! Take part in a program that will teach you how to make a difference in your home and your community. On Monday at 6:30 p.m. in Millersville, MD, there will be informational session about this unique program.
  • Volunteers are needed for oyster shell shaking at CBF's Oyster Restoration Center on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Contact Carmera Thomas for details: 


August 25

  • Volunteers needed to help CBF pick up 1,200 bags of baby "spat" for our oyster gardening program in Cambridge, MD. Interested? Please contact Carmera Thomas for details:

September 17

  • Do you want to speak on behalf of the Bay? Do you enjoy talking to people and sharing your passion for our national treasure? Sign-up to become a CBF Speaker and Fairs and Festivals volunteer. This is a great way to teach the public about why it’s vital to care for the Chesapeake. Please see the event page for more details and to sign up! 

Adam Wickline


DSC_0341-1 Adam is the Community Building Manager of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He works to inform and engage people across the watershed to take part in Saving the Bay. If you have an upcoming Bay-related restoration event and you need volunteers, please let us know: awickline@cbf.orgDo you enjoy working with fellow Bay Lovers to help save the Chesapeake? Become a CBF Volunteer to receive notifications about upcoming volunteer opportunities.  

Inside CBF: Q&A with Melissa Simmons, Clagett Farm Education Program Manager

Melissa&chicken In March of 2007, a soft-spoken, gutsy South Carolinian with a big heart and big vision, moved to Annapolis, Maryland, to join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). As the Clagett Farm Education Program Manager, Melissa Simmons shows more than 1,500 students and teachers each year the value of different land uses and their effects on the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Why CBF?
The thing that really drew me to CBF was the passion that everybody here had for what they do. It’s not as if they just talk about saving the Bay…everybody here that I’ve had interactions with, they don’t just talk it, they walk it. And I think if we really are going to make a positive impact on the environment you have to do just that.

What’s it like in the field versus the days of being in the office? 
The cool thing about being in the field for me is really getting to know your environment that you’re in…feeling, literally feeling, the seasonal change, not as you’re walking in and out of a building, but being out in it. And when you’ve worked on the program for more than two or three seasons, you start anticipating things: When are the peepers gonna come out; when is this flower gonna bloom; when are you gonna feel that cool breeze when you’ve just had enough of summer. For me, it awakens something inside of me that I didn’t realize was dormant, so being out and noticing it and then sharing it with other people is extraordinary… Clagettfall2010 By being observant of what’s going on in the season and being in the moment, you can be a better educator and better ambassador to the natural world. 

What sets the Clagett Farm Program apart from other CBF education programs? 
What I think is really unique about the farm is that it’s a farm. It’s a land-based program, but we’re really drawing that connection between how you treat the land and what runs off into the Bay…  I love the fact that on the farm we can take that conversation and talk about what you’re using to fuel your body, what kind of choices are you making in your diet that actually impacts the Bay…there’s crazy statistics out there that your food is traveling on average 1,500 miles to get to your plate. If you eat food on the local level and in season, not only are you doing your environment a favor, but man, you’re doing your body a favor…you’re serving it greater nutrients…and it’s a big difference in taste. And getting that awareness out there is so important because a lot of kids and adults think, “well, my food Garden just comes from the grocery store, and that’s all I need to know.” But how did that food make it to that shelf, and what happened to it along the way?   

Where does your food come from?
I would say a good 50 percent of it comes from the farm. I participate in the [Clagett Farm] CSA which goes till almost Thanksgiving, so man it’s dark times in the winter…come January I’m fiending a fresh squash something terrible.

Why the Chesapeake Bay? What is it about this region that inspires you? 
My grandparents live on the Rappahannock River. I grew up in South Carolina, but many of my summers were spent on the River…So [I have] very strong memories of pulling crab pots up off their dock with my cousin…and when I first started looking around and trying to figure out M&cow what I wanted to do with my life after college, I met some people [at CBF] that really impressed me…and from the word of mouth of people working in the environmental community, [CBF] is the best, and I wanted to be a part of the best.

Do you think we can do it, do you think we can Save the Bay?
We have to believe that we can Save the Bay…why would we get out of bed and come to work every morning. Is it going to happen in the next 10 years? No. But, could it happen within our lifetimes? I hope so. I think with the opportunity to enforce the TMDL [or “pollution diet”] and the more we can get the awareness out there and get people fired up about it…yeah, it can be done. 

—Emmy Nicklin

Editor’s Note: Maryland recently became the first state to require its high school seniors to be environmentally literate in order to graduate. This historic action validates and reaffirms CBF’s many outdoor, environmental education programs such as Clagett Farm. For more information about Clagett Farm please visit: or

Photo of the Week: Smith Island Shanty
Photo by John Werry/

"It's hard to understate what the Bay means to me. Three generations of my family have spent the last 40 years boating, crabbing, fishing, and living in three different counties on the Bay. The Bay's brackish water runs in our blood.

I have been all over the Bay, but Smith Island was one of those places that I always wanted to visit but never had. This photo was taken at sunset in Tylerton, Smith Island, during a weekend photo club visit this past July.

The Smith Island visit capped off a collection of photographs I've been taking on the Bay for the past 11 years that I will be publishing in my book, working title 'Chesapeake Views,' hopefully next year."

—John Werry

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to our Photo of the Week contest? Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Flickr group or post to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your pics! 

Ask a Scientist: a Turning Point for Menhaden? Part One

Menhaden photo
Photo courtesy of Bill Goldsborough/CBF Staff

They’ve been called “the most important fish in the sea.” Small, silvery, and packed with nutritional value, menhaden are filter feeders that consume plankton and in turn are food for striped bass and other important fish, as well as marine mammals and sea birds. They are in effect a critical link in the marine food web.  

But in 32 of the past 54 years, menhaden have been overfished, and they are now at their lowest level on record. Most of the harvest today is taken by Omega Protein, Inc.—a corporation based in Houston, Texas, which capitalizes off of menhaden’s nutritional value by running a fish reduction plant out of small-town Reedville, Virginia. Omega Protein’s catch makes up 80 percent of the East Coast catch, resulting in more than 150,000 tons per year of menhaden, which are then cooked, ground up, processed into oil and meal to be used for fish and livestock feed, pet food, paints, cosmetics, and dietary supplements.

“This is enough to make Reedville, Virginia, annually one of the top three ports in the whole country, including Alaska, in terms of tonnage landed,” says Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Fisheries Director Bill Goldsborough. “And most of these ecologically critical fish are removed from Chesapeake Bay waters and the ocean waters just outside the Bay’s mouth.”

But just last week, in an historic first step to protect the ever-diminishing menhaden population, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted overwhelmingly to adopt a draft addendum to the Fishery Management Plan, which would allow public comment over the next two months on new reference points for managing the fishery. Specifically, the board is considering a full range of targets for rebuilding the menhaden population, potentially to as much as 40 percent of its former size (it is now at about eight percent).

“This is a landmark thing for menhaden. This is what we’ve been fighting for for years,” Goldsborough says.

It was a long, uphill battle getting to this groundbreaking vote. The current menhaden management plan was adopted in 2001 with high-minded language about rebuilding the menhaden population, but since then the population has only trended downward. Three years ago, the Menhaden Board first passed a motion to develop new targets. Then in May 2010, the board was briefed on a new menhaden stock assessment, which scientifically evaluated the fish’s population and found that, indeed, overfishing occurred in 32 of the last 54 years, presenting an overwhelming pattern of overfishing. Furthermore, the menhaden was at its lowest level on record—only eight percent of its original size! With a panel of independent scientists warning that the population level was too low to be sustainable, setting new reference points that provide better protection for menhaden was recommended. The board responded by voting unanimously at its May 2010 meeting and again at its August 2010 meeting to adopt new reference points, which include targets for the menhaden population level and rate of fishing as well as thresholds for delineating when overfishing was occurring and when the population was overfished. It has taken the process until now, a year later, for proposals for new targets and thresholds to be presented for the board’s consideration.    

Now, after the Menhaden Board voted last week 15 to 1 to 1 in favor of a draft plan addendum with a range of possible targets for the fish’s population level (20 percent, 30 percent, and 40 percent), we have an historic opportunity to rebuild the population of this critical fish. Over the next two months the public will have the chance to let the ASMFC know how it feels about these options and the way forward for menhaden. At its November meeting, the Menhaden Board will adopt the final addendum and begin working on management measures (fishing quotas, size limits, seasons, etc.) needed to achieve the new targets.

—Bill Goldsborough and Emmy Nicklin

View Part Two of this menhaden series here.

More information on the public comment process, including meeting dates and locations will be posted to: Click on "Public Input."

Read the ASMFC "Draft Addendum V to Amendment 1 to the Atlantic Menhaden Fishery Management Plan for Public Comment."

Send your comments to by 5 p.m. on November 2, 2011.


Where the Menhaden Catch Is Coming From

MenhadenMap_en (2)
Though only representing the menhaden catch for the year 2005, this pattern is very typical of the catch year after year, with most of it coming from Chesapeake waters and ocean waters nearby.

Photo of the Week: Formative Flying

Photo by Alex Teitelbaum/

"I took this picture on a May morning this year, off of the promenade in Havre de Grace, Maryland, at the point where the Susquehanna flows into the Chesapeake. Of all the places I photograph, the Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries are my favorites. I grew up on the southern bay in Hampton,Virginia, and eventually found myself living at the very opposite end of the bay in Havre de Grace, Maryland. In addition to being a photographer of the natural beauty of the Bay, I'm a boat owner and have spent much of my life enjoying what these incredible waters offer in terms of recreation and relaxation. I think what the Foundation is doing is a critical part of preserving this treasure for my children and future generations to come."

—Alex Teitelbaum

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to our Photo of the Week contest? Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Flickr group or post to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your pics! 

Susquehanna Odyssey

CBF's Student Leadership Course Along the Mighty Susquehanna

This week high schoolers are exploring and investigating the Bay’s largest tributary—the great Susquehanna River—with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). As they paddle through the Susquehanna River Trail visiting rural and urban communities along the way, students will meet experts and use film, photography, journaling, fishing, chemistry, and even plein air painting. These multimedia creations will be used to piece together a diverse study of the regions past, present, and future, leading to a greater understanding of the local watershed. Check out the first few photos of the CBF course below!


IMG_20110731_184335 IMG_20110801_120419

IMG_20110801_120904 IMG_20110801_120910