Previous month:
August 2011
Next month:
October 2011

Chesapeake News and Dos

Filling you in on the top stories of the week and letting you know how to make a difference!
DSC02855
Join us this Saturday for a "Cyclist for the Bay" ride on the Mount Vernon Trail. Photo by CBF staff.


This week in the Watershed: dams, oysters, and learning outside.


Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities for the Bay

October 1

October 2

  • Clean up Gillies Creek in Richmond! Come help remove trash, debris, and invasive species from the stream and park. 
  • Come to the Dam Jam 2011 at Cromwell Valley Park to learn firsthand about Baltimore’s drinking water reservoir and listen to some great bands for free! 

October 5

  • Join the Maryland Oyster team for an oyster gardening workshop! Learn how to grow these filtering bivalves off your dock or pier! 

October 6 and 7

  • Come help CBF plant a stream buffer on a farm in Carroll County, MD! Help famers protect their streams from stormwater runoff. 

October 8

  • Help clean up the Anacostia, our nation’s “forgotten river!” Join the United by Blue crew to help rehabilitate this Potomac tributary. 

Adam Wickline

 

If you have an upcoming Bay-related restoration event and you need volunteers, please let us know by contacting CBF’s Community Building Manager, Adam Wickline: awickline@cbf.org. Do you enjoy working with fellow Bay Lovers to help save the Chesapeake? Become a CBF volunteer to receive notifications about upcoming volunteer opportunities.


Ask a Scientist: A Turning Point for Menhaden, Part Two

MenhadenByJustin Photo by Justin Benttinen/http://www.justinbenttinen.com. 

Your Turn to Save the Menhaden

A few weeks ago we told you of an historic opportunity to rebuild the menhaden population, commonly referred to as “the most important fish in the sea.” Now, in a continuation of that blog, we delve deeper into why this fish matters, and what we can do now to help save it. Who better to ask than our own Bill Goldsborough, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) Fisheries Director.


Why should people care about this fish?
People should care about menhaden because the health of the marine food web depends on this fish. Many of the Bay species that we value very highly—striped bass, osprey, bald eagles—depend on this fish. Furthermore, the disease problem facing striped bass has been linked to the lack of nutritionally rich menhaden available for their food.

What’s happening to menhaden right now?
The latest data paint a bleak picture for menhaden. A new updated scientific assessment of the menhaden population has determined that overfishing has occurred in 32 out of the last 54 years, presenting an historic pattern of overfishing. The ASMFC convened the scientists that did these analyses from among the state and federal agencies it represents, and they are all acknowledged menhaden population experts. In addition, they convened a panel of independent fishery scientists unaffiliated with the commission to review the assessment and make recommendations. This independent panel said that we’re down to 8 percent of what the menhaden population once was and that that’s too low. They said we need to have more conservative reference points—targets for the population level and rate of fishing as well as thresholds for delineating when overfishing is occurring and when the population is overfished—to better protect and build up the stock.

Where does the menhaden catch go?
Right now roughly 80 percent of the catch, or about 150,000 tons of menhaden per year, are caught in the “reduction” fishery, cooked, ground up, and processed into oil and meal to be used for farmed fish and livestock feed, pet food, paints, cosmetics, and dietary supplements. The remaining 20 percent is used for bait in commercial and recreational fisheries.

There’s a certain irony to taking fish from the wild and feeding them to farmed fish. Can you expand on that thought?
Menhaden are a fundamental food for so many different kinds of fish and marine mammals and seabirds . . . to be going out in the wild and catching this important forage fish just to process it and feed it to farmed-raised fish, thereby letting the natural system suffer . . . it’s an outrage really. 

Why are there some people out there who still believe that menhaden are not being overfished?
It’s important in how you word it . . . to say they are being overfished is correct; to say they are overfished is incorrect. These are the most recent scientific findings, but these findings are determined relative to standards that fishery managers adopted years ago. With the tighter standards that scientists are now recommending, the population would most assuredly be classified as overfished and being overfished. After all, there’s no dispute that the population is at its lowest point on record.

Why now? Why is it important now for people to take action?
The fact that this critically important fish’s population is at its lowest point on record is a startling wake-up call. As a result, ASMFC is considering changing its management plan for Atlantic menhaden by tightening the standards used to manage menhaden fishing. ASMFC is currently seeking public comment on possible new standards or “reference points” that outline desirable population levels and allowable fishing rates. Once reference points are established, ASMFC will develop fishing rules, such as catch limits, fishing seasons, and area closures, designed to achieve population targets and avoid overfishing.

What should people say in their public comments to ASMFC?
CBF is recommending option F15% as the overfishing threshold, which ensures that 15 percent of the original, unfished menhaden population is left intact (instead of the 8 percent it is currently). CBF is also recommending a fishing rate target of at least F30%, as an appropriate interim target.

I urge people to tell ASMFC that menhaden are very important in their ecological role, and it’s simply outrageous how low we’ve allowed the population to get. The rapid decline of menhaden creates huge problems for the entire ecosystem. People should tell ASMFC they want new reference points for menhaden that are sufficiently conservative and will turn around this decline and increase the population. Furthermore, the population should be allowed to increase to a point where menhaden can support a fishery and fulfill their vital ecological role.

—Emmy Nicklin

 

View Part One of this series here. The possible options for targets and thresholds are outlined in Draft Addendum V to the menhaden management plan. To learn more about this important fish and what you can do to save it, please visit our webpage. Send your comments to ASMFC, tkerns@asmfc.org, urging the adoption of a new overfishing Threshold Option 2, a level corresponding to 15% of menhaden’s maximum spawning potential (MSP) as well as the adoption of Target Option 3, a fishing level corresponding to 30% MSP, by 5 p.m. November 2, 2011.

 


Photo of the Week: Sunset on Back Creek

SunsetBackCreek_ByEleanorIvins
Photo by Eleanor Ivins/http://www.flickr.com/photos/23358656@N03/

"This was taken during sunset at anchor on Back Creek off of the Sassafras River near the Harmon Plantation . . . There is no where in the world I would rather be than at anchor on the Chesapeake. It is 'heaven on earth.'"

Eleanor Ivins (as told to Emmy Nicklin)


Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Photo of the Week contest? Send them to CBF's E-Communications Manager, Emmy Nicklin, at enicklin [at sign] cbf.org, along with a brief description of where and when you took the photo and what the Chesapeake Bay means to you. Please also join our Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Flickr group and post your pics to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your photos!

 



Chesapeake News and Dos

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

  DSC_0031
Photo by Tiffany Granberg/CBF Staff

This week in the Watershed: pollution diets, crab concerns, and Lee’s lingering effects

  • Watermen in Maryland are concerned about Tropical Storm Lee’s affect on the remainder of this year’s crabbing season. (Easton Star-Democrat – MD)
  • Even in Pennsylvania, the talk is still about the rains and what they are doing to the Chesapeake. (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader – PA)
  • The Shenandoah Valley will experiment with new ways of creating energy from unlikely sources.  (Staunton News-Leader – VA)
  • CBF and the Citizens for Stumpy Lake got their day in court in Virginia Beach to fight a permit allowing hundreds of forested wetlands to be filled. (Virginian-Pilot – VA)
  • A new report by the Economic Policy Institutes states that new EPA rules and regulations will not kill jobs, but rather save lives. (EPI report – D.C.)
  • Sewage spills in Baltimore expose the aging infrastructure used for wastewater transport and treatment, and the need for more upgrades. (Catonsville Patch.com – MD)
  • The Salisbury City Council is working hard to put the Wicomico River on a “pollution diet” to clean its waters. (Daily Times – MD)

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities for the Bay

September 24

  • If you live in a “critical area” in Maryland and you have questions about what you can and cannot do there, come to a talk at St. Mary’s College and learn from the experts. For more information contact: Jackie Takacs at takacs@mdsg.umd.edu or 240/393-6508
  • Help clean up Bread and Cheese Creek in Dundalk, MD. Volunteers are needed to help pull out trash from this Bay tributary.
  • In northern Virginia, there will be a workshop on how to build rain gardens that help mitigate stormwater. Come find out how you can help Save the Bay with these projects!   

September 25

  • Join CBF in Richmond at the Lamplighter Café for a street sweep! Help clean up trash in the area and enjoy a free cup of coffee while doing so! Contact Jess Barton at jbarton@cbf.org or 804/780-1392

September 26

  • Help CBF build reef balls for oyster restoration in Gloucester, VA. Involves lifting, carrying, bending, and hammering. 
  • Let the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council know your thoughts on the Bay’s menhaden fishery and its precarious future. Come to Lewes, DE for a public meeting to voice your thoughts. For more information, read this article by John A. Hughes, the former secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.   

September 27

  • Come out for a CBF Clean Water Breakfast in Smithfield, VA to learn more about the Bay’s “pollution diet,” and what you can do to help. 

October 1

 

Adam Wickline

 

If you have an upcoming Bay-related restoration event and you need volunteers, please let us know by contacting CBF’s Community Building Manager, Adam Wickline: awickline@cbf.org. Do you enjoy working with fellow Bay Lovers to help save the Chesapeake? Become a CBF Volunteer to receive notifications about upcoming volunteer opportunities. 

 



Photo of the Week: Hooper's Island Terrapin

Hooper'sIslandTerrapin_ByJeffAllenby
Photo by Jeff Allenby/http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffallenby/


"I took the photo on Lower Hooper's Island on the Eastern Shore. I was actually out scouting paddling sites for CBF's (now-defunct) Maryland Canoe Program for an Eastern Shore Chesapeake Classroom's trip I was getting ready to lead. We saw the terrapin in the road and before we moved it to the side, I laid down in the road to take the picture . . . To me, the Chesapeake Bay is an incredible resource for so many people— from recreational fisherman to professional watermen, to families paddling and sailing on the Bay and its many tributaries. Because everyone relies on [the Bay] in one way or another, we are all responsible for taking care of it . . ."

 Jeff Allenby (as told to Emmy Nicklin)

 

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's (CBF) Photo of the Week contest? Send them to CBF's E-Communications Manager, Emmy Nicklin, at enicklin [at sign] cbf.org, along with a brief description of where and when you took the photo and what the Chesapeake Bay means to you. Please also join our Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Flickr group and post your pics to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your photos!

 



Chesapeake News and Dos

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

 DSC_0029

Photo by Tiffany Granberg - CBF Educator

 

This week in the Watershed:  storm aftermath, environmental literacy, and mysterious blobs…

 

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities for the Bay

 

September 17

September 21

September 22

September 23

 

September 24

September 26

 

Adam Wickline

 

If you have an upcoming Bay-related restoration event and you need volunteers, please let us know by contacting CBF’s Community Building Manager, Adam Wickline: awickline@cbf.org. 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 Education Field, Part 1: Students Learn First-Hand About Stormwater Devastation

DSC_0024
Photo by Tiffany Granberg/CBF Staff.

September is a month of beginnings and endings. The long warm days of summer wind down; migratory birds prepare for departure. Of course, most notably is the beginning of the school year. Students all across the nation enter new grades, start new classes, and sport their new clothes for the year. 

Here at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), September means the start of the fall field season for our 15 education programs, some administering one-day trips, while others conduct three-day overnight excursions. Students from Pennsylvania to Virginia will load up CBF boats, canoes, and even tractors to go out and experience the Chesapeake and its watershed. They will learn about its natural treasures as well as its troubles, and what they can do to make change. 

DSC_0031 But this week, as the Merrill Center Education Program began its season with a group from Annapolis Area Christian School, things were different. The water from last week’s torrential downpour had finally made its way down from the Susquehanna and into the Bay, creating a brown milky mess strewn with tires, plastic bottles, trees, etc. Students saw first-hand a system dangerously out-of-balance as they loaded onto CBF’s 40-foot workboat Marguerite to investigate the waters. Without even pulling away from the dock, they could already see the impacts of last week’s flood. The water resembled chocolate milk. Logs, presumably from Pennsylvania, drifted by on this blue-sky day. As the Marguerite went further out into the Bay, the story did not change. Mats of debris, trash, and even what appeared to be a bowling ball floated all around. Tiffany Granberg, one of CBF’s educators, described the scene as a “cesspool.”

DSC_0015 After lunch, the students shifted gears and boarded canoes to explore Black Walnut Creek, the small tributary bordering the Merrill Center property. As they paddled past tree-lined shores, Belted Kingfishers flew overhead chattering away at each other. Small coves on either side protected pockets of lush marshes, just starting to turn from summer green to a golden fall hue. Jason Spires, another CBF educator, asked the students to compare the water quality of the creek to that of the Bay they had seen in the morning. After a few thoughtful moments, they conceded that even though the water here was still murky, it certainly was not as bad as the Bay. “Why do you think the water quality is better here?” Spires asked. “Look around. What do you see all along the shores?” This is what our educators call the “aha! moment.” In a mere instant, these students got the connection. In a creek surrounded by trees and marsh, the water is protected against pollution. Furthermore, with poor stormwater controls and reduced natural flood buffers and filters such as forests and wetlands, the Bay is taking a big water quality hit.   

This is the beauty of CBF’s environmental education. Within the walls of a classroom, it is hard to make real-world connections such as the one just described. For more than 40 years, our education programs have provided teachers in the watershed the opportunity to do exactly that and turn information in a book into a memory of sight, sound, smell, touch, and sometimes even taste.

—Adam Wickline 

 

To learn more about stormwater issues and what you can do to help, please visit CBF’s Clean Water, Healthy Families Initiative website: http://www.cleanwaterhealthyfamilies.org/. To learn more about CBF’s award-winning education program, visit: http://www.cbf.org/page.aspx?pid=260. Help us fight for clean water now! Click  here for more information. Visit our Facebook album for more pictures of the stormwater's devastation: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150366028460943&set=a.10150366027945943.398340.8914040942&type=1&theater

 SatelliteImage_en

 



Photo of the Week: Last Days of Summer

LastDaysofSummer_ByPatrickArmstrong
Photo by Patrick Armstrong/http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmarm/

 "This photo was taken from Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Maryland. It was taken in July 2010 on a random trip to the park. Some of the people in this photo were enjoying the Chesapeake Bay by fishing, others by resting on the rocks. The views of the Bay from Sandy Point are beautiful, and the sight of the massive Bay Bridge are exciting. It is our own piece of industrial history and a reminder of what beauty lies just on the other side of the Bay, more than just Ocean City, an entire 'shore' of preserves, wilderness, farms, and beaches. We are all lucky to have such things at our fingertips."

—Patrick Armstrong (as told to Emmy Nicklin)

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Photo of the Week contest? Send them to CBF's E-Communications Manager, Emmy Nicklin, at enicklin [at sign] cbf.org, along with a brief description of where and when you took the photo and what the Chesapeake Bay means to you. Please also join our Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Flickr group and post your pics to our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your photos!

 



The Bicycle Diaries, Part Two

Jb “Wow, there’s just two of you, doing that whole thing . . . you’re really out there,” said motel keeper Inez after hearing CBFers John Rodenhausen and Beth McGee tell their story as they were checking in after another long day on their bikes. That was day four of the duo’s 1,300-mile circumnavigation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

And indeed “out there” they were . . . riding through corn fields, biking up Skyline Drive, running into black bears outside of Hancock, New York, hopping on ferries across the James River (and the Bay itself), soaking weary legs in fresh mountain streams, and telling their personal stories, raising awareness and money for cancer, diabetes, and the Chesapeake Bay along the way.

“One thing that we really tried to get across to everybody especially when we were up north in New York and Pennsylvania was that clean water benefits everybody," says Rodenhausen. "It’s not about the Bay when we’re riding through New York…it’s about you guys and your clean water.”  

Algae Sadly, that message didn’t come soon enough in some places. “Toward the end of our trip, we were coming through Laurel, Delaware, crossing Broad Creek—a tributary to the Nanticoke—which feeds into the Bay,” says McGee. “And there was a huge Microcystis, which is a blue-green algae—an algae that’s extremely toxic. If dogs would drink it or people would swim in it and ingest it, it would cause gastrointestinal issues and actually it’s a neurotoxin . . . really bad stuff.” Rodenhausen adds, “the [clean water] issues that we’re talking about now are very pertinent and germane to everyone’s lives and livelihoods.” 


Read "The Bicycle Diaries, Part One," here!

—Emmy Nicklin

 

To learn how you can fight for clean water click here. To read more of Rodenhausen and McGee’s extraordinary journey, please visit their blog. Check out our Facebook page for more photos of their big welcome home and find out how you can both bike and save the Bay here

Finally, to donate to Rodenhausen and McGee’s causes, please visit the following pages:

 



Chesapeake News and Dos

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

 Flooded susquehanna

View of the flooded Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, PA  Photo by Foster Nost

 

This week in the Watershed:  Irene’s effects, shale drilling, swollen Susquehanna, and menhaden

 

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities for the Bay

 

September 9

  • Check out this native plant sale at the Herring Run Nursery in partnership with Blue Water Baltimore. 

September 9-10

  • There is another native plant sale happening in St. Michaels, MD with Environmental Concern.  Great chance to get some natives in the ground before winter comes. 

September 10

September 15

  • Help the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) plant 800 trees on a farm near the Bay Bridge in Annapolis. Registration is required. To sign up, send your complete contact information to Carmera Thomas at 443/482-2156 or email MDRestoration@cbf.org.
  • Make your mark for clean water! Help CBF in West Chester, VA mark storm drains so people know that water makes it to the Bay.

September 17

 

Adam Wickline

 

If you have an upcoming Bay-related restoration event and you need volunteers, please let us know by contacting CBF’s Community Building Manager, Adam Wickline: awickline@cbf.org.Do you enjoy working with fellow Bay Lovers to help save the Chesapeake? Become a CBF Volunteer to receive notifications about upcoming volunteer opportunities.