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April 2012
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June 2012

Get Ready for Summertime Picnics!

Clagett2_BlogSummer vegetables at CBF's Clagett Farm. Photo by CBF Staff.

Nothing screams summer like crab cakes, grilled veggies, and rockfish tacos…yum! And no one cooks them better than Chef Emeril Lagasse. A few years ago, in an effort to promote healthy, eco-friendly cooking, Emeril came out to CBF’s Clagett Farm to learn about Vegetable Production Manager Carrie Vaughn’s organic, fertilizer-free way of planting veggies. While there, Emeril talked with Farm Manager Michael Heller as well about his methods of raising healthy, grass-fed cattle. The chef’s entourage even went rockfishing with CBF’s Senior Naturalist John Page Williams and learned about the challenges facing this important and tasty fish!

To get you in the mood for summer this Memorial Day Weekend, check out some of our favorite recipes courtesy of Emeril, our Facebook fans, and local food epicurean Rita Calvert. You’ll see these recipes use healthy, local foods, which not only prove to be good for the environment, but they taste great, too!

—Emmy Nicklin

Check out our complete listing of fresh and local recipes as well as more of Emeril’s “Taste of the Bay” recipes.  

We're Halfway There: Restoring Middle River

This is one in a series of articles about farmers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed who have implemented Best Management Practices (BMPs), demonstrating that agriculture is half way to achieving the nutrient reductions needed to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its waters. View the rest of the series here.

Dale Powers standing in his wildlife food patch next to Middle River. Photo by Bobby Whitescarver.

Dale Powers was one of the first landowners in Virginia to place a permanent riparian easement on his farm. The easement, recorded in 1989, is a legal document that protects the environmental values of the land adjacent to the river that goes through his farm. Powers has a half-mile of river frontage along Middle River—a tributary of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

The easement restricts livestock from having access to the river and requires natural areas along the bank.

“I am trying to do my part to clean up this river. When it rains, this river runs like chocolate milk from all the cows upriver, and it stinks,” said Powers, a retired Marine who has been farming in Swoope since 1968.

Powers voluntarily fenced his cattle out of the river and its flood plain years ago because his cows were trampling the banks and he couldn’t keep a fence along the river because of flooding.

“I cannot understand why more farmers don’t take advantage of all the programs available to them to get their cows out of the streams,” he says. “The programs will pay for the fence, watering troughs, and even pay rent on what you fence out.”

When asked why more farmers don’t fence their cattle out, he replied, “They don’t think they are the problem, but in this watershed they are.”

In fact, according to a 2004 report, 94 percent of the bacteria pollution in Middle River was from domestic livestock.*

We humans can bring back this river just like we humans brought back the bluebird.  When humans are causing the problem like this polluted river, we humans should be willing to fix it.

“I think it’s worse now than it was in 1968. All the frogs have disappeared, the bass are gone, even the yellow suckers have disappeared. I think its cattle. There are a lot more cows now then there were in ’68.”

—Bobby Whitescarver  

 Whitescarver lives in Swoope, Va.
For more information, visit his website or e-mail him at 


Retired Marine and Swoope farmer Dale Powers standing in his riparian easement beside Middle River.
Photo by Bobby Whitescarver.


*Fecal Bacteria and General Standard Total Maximum Daily Load Development for Impaired Streams in the Middle River and Upper South River Watersheds, Augusta County, VA., MapTech Inc., Blacksburg, VA, April 28th, 2004, Appendix C, pg. C-9.

Photo of the Week: A Day on the Farm

ClagettCollagePhotos and photo collage by Christine Wysocki/CBF Staff.

Just last Thursday, CBF's Communications Department spent a day on Clagett Farm where we learned how important agricultural practices are to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. After Farm Manager Michael Heller took us on a tour via tractor and taught us about the importance of soil quality and how to preserve it as well as showcasing his beautiful grass-fed cattle, Carrie Vaughn, Vegetable Production Manager, put us to work planting sunflowers and tending to various vegetables. We completed the day with a satisfying picking of the farm's strawberries...yum! Clagett's ultimate goal is to use farming methods that are truly sustainable—both economically and environmentally—that prove to be a very good thing not only for the farm, but also for our waters and the Bay. 

—Emmy Nicklin

Check out more of our photos from the farm on Facebook!

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Photo of the Week contest? Send your digital images to CBF's E-Communications Manager, Emmy Nicklin, at enicklin [at sign], 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!

Why Drive When You Can Bike!

Bike3Photo by CBF Staff.

Tomorrow morning, thousands of workers across the country will hop on their bikes for Bike to Work Day! Now in its 56th year (can you believe it?!), this annual League of American Bicyclists’ event brings together all sorts of folks to celebrate a healthier, more sustainable way of life. To get you in the spirit for this national holiday, take a look at how last year’s event went down in Annapolis, and learn why biking is so much better for our waters and Bay. Also, check out our tips below for how to make this day a happy and safe one!  

Here are some tips for your riding experience:

  1. Ride like you drive (safely and cautiously…we hope!)
  2. Don’t worry about how fast you ride (remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare?)
  3. You don’t have to dress or look like Lance Armstrong in order to participate…just have fun!
  4. Don’t forget your water, helmet…and a bike buddy!
  5. Last but not least, take the pledge! Become a Cyclist for the Bay and help us save a national treasure! 

—Emmy Nicklin

Learn more about Bike to Work Day and other cycling events in YOUR area!

Photo by CBF Staff.

Volunteers Make it Happen; Improving Local Water Quality by Lending a Hand

VolunteerOregon2The Oregon Dairy, owned and operated by the Hurst Family in Lancaster, may be best known for their award-winning bakery and their annual “Family Farm Days,” but on May 5th nearly 100 volunteers got to know the dairy a whole lot better by investing their time and energy into making improvements that will not only help the farm, but everyone downstream.

Volunteers from Lancaster, York, New Cumberland, Carlisle, and Reading planted a stream side buffer along a small stream that runs through the Hurst Farm, a tributary to the Conestoga River.

Members and volunteers planted 1,800 native perennial plants, and 50 native shrubs and trees. They also potted up 50 bare root plants headed for a micro-nursery at the Millport Conservancy, and pulled invasive plant species like garlic mustard.  But it wasn’t ALL work; volunteers enjoyed a tour of the farm and a delicious barbecued chicken lunch, compliments of Oregon Dairy.

CBF member Shelly Colehouse-Mayhew of Hanover helped with the planting. "This was my first time volunteering for a Chesapeake Bay Foundation event and I must say it was a very rewarding experience and I'm proud to be a part of it.” 

Volunteers are essential to completing this type of hands-on project, but they also play a tremendous role in CBF’s advocacy efforts. After accomplishing their hands-on work, volunteers engaged in a legislative update discussion with CBF’s Pennsylvania Outreach and Advocacy Manager, Kim Patten.

BoysPlanting“This group of volunteers was very engaged, and with nearly 100 people, it was certainly one of our best turnouts for a planting yet!” said Patten. “We briefed the group with updates on the federal Farm Bill and also about pending legislation related to the EPA’s science-based pollution reduction targets for the Chesapeake Bay.”

Each volunteer was sent home with preaddressed postcards to write to Senators Casey and Toomey, asking for their support of clean water.

Project partner, LandStudies, Inc., prepared the site plan and instructed volunteers on how to plant the perennial buffer.  Both the trees and the perennial plants and shrubs will assist in curbing stream bank erosion, help filter pollutants before they reach the stream, provide habitat, and the perennials will also provide much-needed food sources for pollinators.

“The riparian area is near the entrance to the dairy, so we chose trees and plants that would offer visual appeal throughout the year,” Andrew P. Korzon, Environmental Designer for LandStudies. “We hope that visitors to the dairy will see the beauty of these trees and want to learn more about forested riparian areas. In addition to offering a beautiful setting for the Hurst’s, this site will also serve as a blueprint for implementing similar projects at other locations.”

The planting is part of a demonstration project at Oregon Dairy that illustrates the many options available to landowners interested in planting a stream side buffer.  In the near future, Oregon Dairy will be adding educational signage to identify each of the native species in the buffer. “We’d like to help the public better understand that there are a host of benefits to planting native species, and that they are quite beautiful,” said George Hurst, a partner in Oregon Dairy. “The riparian area will not only improve the stream but it will also serve as a tool for public education, and we’re excited about that.”

Visitors can see the early results at Oregon Dairy during their “Family Farm Days” June 12-14. “I live about an hour away from the dairy and plan to visit this summer to see the progress of the numerous trees, perennials and grasses that were planted,” said Ms. Colehouse-Mayhew. I hope they fill in the area quickly, so they can begin to provide the water quality benefits needed for this stream and the Chesapeake Bay."

VolunteerOregonDairyPartners of the planting project include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Oregon Dairy and the Hurst Family, LandStudies, Inc., Lancaster County Conservation District, Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, and North Creek Nursery.

Tree and shrubs were supplied by Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, herbaceous plants were supplied by North Creek Nurseries, and seed was supplied by Ernst Conservation Seeds.

Riparian Planting Includes:

Trees: Serviceberry, Red Maple, River Birch, Eastern Redbud, Sweebay Magnolia, Swamp White Oak.

Herbaceous Plants: Eastern Bluestar, Swamp Milkweed, Emory Sedge, Pink Turtlehead, Joe Pye Weed, Cardinal Flower, Brown Eyed Susan, Bluestem Goldenrod, Little Bluestem.

Shrubs: Viburnam, Nannyberry, Red Osier Dogwood, Elderberry.

—Kelly Donaldson

To view more of our restoration activities and learn how you can get involved, visit our website!


Photo of the Week: A Sacred Moment with Nature

Osprey_ByIreneMartinelliPhoto by Irene Martinelli.

“I'm relatively new to Annapolis and am only now getting to learn about special 'secrets' like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. I visited the sanctuary off of Bay Ridge only last weekend for the first dog walker told me about it. I was enthralled and I don't know who was more excited, myself or my dog. While he sniffed, I photographed nesting ospreys and sat on the pickle barrel bench enjoying this wonderful sanctuary. The ospreys would take turns going and coming and feeding or adding to the nest. I held my finger on the trigger and shot an endless series of photos and was so excited to be sharing this sacred moment with nature. I was so enthralled that I am bringing another photographer friend with me on Sunday to share this treasure. It’s imperative that the Bay lives again.”

—Irene Martinelli

Do you have a favorite Bay photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Photo of the Week contest? Send your digital images to CBF's E-Communications Manager, Emmy Nicklin, at enicklin [at sign], 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!

To Know the Bay, We Need Stories

The following first appeared in Bay Journal News earlier this month.   ©KarineAigner_CBFRave-1283Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, Maryland. Three boys play with water and buckets on an evening at the beach. Photo © 2010 Karine Aigner/iLCP.

I am a landlubber. I sailed solo in my youth, canoed and swam in ice-cold rivers and even fished. But I am not—by any stretch of the imagination—a water person.

Yet that has always puzzled me because I grew up in Baltimore—a harbor town defined by and reliant on the water.

I remember fourth or fifth grade, when we studied the attributes of our fair state—our flag, our geography, our major industries and resources. We were given black and white maps with the counties boldly outlined and were told to fill in their names, color their spaces and highlight the economic engines that drove them all. But the exercise did not include, that I can remember, the Bay itself.

If we schoolchildren were taught the value of our rivers, the romance of the Bay, their unique geological history and colorful traditions, I missed it.

Much has changed in 40 years. The Inner Harbor now reminds us landlubbers that Baltimore is a water town. The booming residential construction and human migration to all sides of the harbor demonstrate the water’s  lure. The health (or “ill-th” as some might call it) of the Bay is news. Gov. Martin O’Malley’s penchant for fact-driven policy has created BayStat, a tool that allows us “to assess, coordinate and target Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay restoration programs and to provide citizens with a way to track our progress.”

But the truth is, raw facts do not motivate us. Facts embedded in a compelling story do. Baystat may form the incontrovertible scaffolding of Chapter Two. But what is missing is Chapter One: the once-upon-a-time narrative of the rivers and the Bay, the stuff that seeps into our dreams, that children conjure up in their play, the stories that rouse passions and delight.

For those who live on or by the water, the Bay is the metronome of their lives, beating out the pulse of time. It colors their days, spices their air, brings forth their food, spreads before them in broad, open spaces. The water runs along the edges of their homes and in their veins.

For the rest of us, though, the Bay hardly exists. And yet we, all 17 million of us scattered throughout the six states and the District of Columbia of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, affect the quality of its water and in turn are affected by it.

So the question is, how do we get all of us—the far-flung denizens of the Chesapeake watershed who are bound together by the lay of the land and the water that rushes by us—to our common pool, to care about our rivers and our Bay?

Chapter One. The stories. Think of the storied Thames, the Mississippi, the Nile, and the Amazon. (The Chesapeake is, after all, a drowned river. How dramatic, or romantic or adventurous.)

The Chesapeake region (the Bay and its watershed) does not lack such romance or history or stories. We can hold our own with the best of them. It is just that our stories are largely unknown beyond the water’s edge.

Bay storyteller Tom Horton, on the one hand, and the “Bard of the Chesapeake” Tom Wisner, on the other, are rightly celebrated and stand out in their power and talent. But we no doubt have more hidden jewels.

Their work is likely hidden in the attics and cupboards of old Eastern Shore houses—the diaries of the watermen, their wives, and their pastors. They are likely on mimeographed sheets in local shore libraries. Or in kitchen drawers next to the keys to the tool shed.

We need to surface and encourage and promote all of this work, speak of it, celebrate it. We need to hear about the moods of the Bay. How many shades of anger does she have? How many styles of softness? We need to publish and broadcast and You-Tube the full-bodied, sun-streaked, wind-blown, river-swept, bank-sitting, foot-dangling, water-logged stories from all up and down the vast Chesapeake Bay and her great rivers.

How wonderful that Preservation Maryland's Endangered Maryland program recently placed the Chesapeake Bay “watermen” on the endangered icon list. How great that there is an effort afoot “to provide watermen and their family members skills they would need to provide tours or programs about their region's stories, their local waters and their work.”

We are all sentient beings who “think” as much with our hearts as with our minds. To tell the stories of the Chesapeake region is a necessary companion to speaking the facts of the Bay. Once animated in story, the Bay will become more than a commodity or policy issue or even economic engine. It will become—as it is—our enchanted home.

Nina Beth Cardin



Photo of the Week: Bread and Cheese Creek Before and After

BeforeBefore the clean-up event. Photo by John Long.

"This photo was taken in late March of this year on the banks of the Historic Bread and Cheese Creek between Merritt Manor Shopping center and the AMF Bowling Center. This section is constantly [trashed] because the debris blows accross the parking lot and washes off the highway to be deposited on this section of the bank...

[The photo below] shows the results of the hard work of 115 volunteers in the Merritt Boulevard area of Bread and Cheese Creek between Merritt Boulevard and Willow Road [during a Clean Bread and Cheese Creek mid-April cleanup.]

Together we cut up and moved three fallen trees blocking the stream. We removed 30 yards of trash and debris, 20 yards of metal (including seven shopping carts, a lawn mower, an engine head, and the bumper from a 1972 Chevelle), seven tires, five cans of paint, two bicycles, a couch, a bowling ball, and an office chair. This has helped reveal the natural beauty of the historic Bread and Cheese Creek, and kept this trash from flowing into Back River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean!...It is important for everyone to be able to enjoy the beauty of nature and understand it's importance."

—John Long

To view more images from the cleanup, click here.

AFTERAfter the cleanup. Photo by John Long. 

It Takes a Village: Two Companies Help Save CBF Island Study Center

Port Isobel IslandPort Isobel Island, located east of Tangier Island in Virginia, is home to one of CBF’s five island study centers. Annually, more than 1,000 students and teachers learn about the Bay in the island’s unique and inspirational setting. Photo by CBF staff.

As the waves lap along the shore of Port Isobel Island, a 250-acre island east of Tangier Island in Virginia, the beauty and serenity belies a stark reality. Erosion has been slowly eating away at the island’s northeast shoreline for decades. Over just the last 10 years, hundreds of feet of shoreline have been lost.

The erosion threatened not just the island but also CBF’s Port Isobel Island Study Center, with several buildings located yards away from the shoreline. The Center is one of CBF’s five island study centers and, every year is where more than one thousand students and teachers participate in hands-on environmental learning that encourages them to become conscientious stewards of the Bay.

To save the island and the center, on the recommendation of an engineering firm, CBF began constructing six stone breakwaters offshore. These breakwaters stabilize the shoreline and offer storm protection. Requiring more than 4,000 tons of stone and construction, project costs would be steep, but it had to be done.

Thankfully, two companies stepped up to help CBF complete the project.

Vulcan Materials Company, the nation's leading supplier of construction aggregates—primarily crushed stone, sand and gravel, and ready-mixed concrete—provided the needed stone for the breakwaters and transported the stone to the site using their tug boat and barges, at a significantly reduced price that saved CBF tens of thousands of dollars. The stone came directly from Vulcan’s Havre de Grace Quarry located off the Susquehanna River in Harford County, Maryland. Special thanks to Vulcan employees John Smack, District Sales Manager; Steve Magdeburger, Manager Marine Operations; Travis Holman, Area Operations Manager; and Tom Carroll, Director of Business Development, who went above and beyond for CBF to make this donation happen.

With a corporate philosophy that stresses sustainability, environmental stewardship, and community involvement, their contribution to this project is fitting. Vulcan has operations in 22 states across the nation but has a significant presence in both Virginia and Maryland. The company also invests in education and works regularly with schools and school-aged children through their adopt-a-school partnerships, which makes this project a perfect fit.

One of Vulcan’s most successful environmental programs has been developing buffer lands around its facilities for wildlife habitat. In 1990, through cooperative efforts with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), Vulcan’s Sanders Quarry near Warrenton, Virginia, became the first industrial site in the nation to be certified by WHC as a wildlife habitat. Vulcan now has 42 certified wildlife habitats at sites across the country. Five of these sites are additionally certified by WHC as Corporate Lands for Learning in recognition of their outstanding educational and community outreach programs.  Since then Vulcan has also developed partnerships with many other regional conservation organizations including the VCU Rice Center, Elizabeth River Project, Friends of the Lower Appomattox River Association, James River Association, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, and others.

The logic behind their corporate philosophy is easy to understand; as Tom Carroll, Vulcan’s Director of Business Development and External Affairs for the East Region, puts it, “When you’re in the natural resources business, like Vulcan is, every day is Earth Day. Being responsible stewards of the environment is important to all Vulcan employees.”

Coastal Design and Construction, Inc. also stepped up to help CBF save Port Isobel. The Gloucester, Virginia-based construction company, actually constructed the breakwaters with the stone that Vulcan provided. To help allay some of the costs, Coastal Design and Construction donated a portion of the required materials, further reducing the impact to CBF’s bottom line.

The final step in the project is slated for completion this spring, when submerged eel grass will be planted near the shore to improve water quality and further stabilize the shoreline.

The project has been a resounding success and would not have been possible without the donations from Vulcan Materials Company and Coastal Design and Construction. CBF salutes both companies for their support! The work to save Port Isobel shows how a community can come together to make the impossible possible.

—Brie Wilson

To learn more about how you can help save the Bay, please visit

PhotoTwo of the stone breakwaters sit off the northeastern shore of Port Isobel. Photo by Laura Burrell Baxter/CBF Staff.


Photo of the Week: Blue Ridge Oyster Fest

View from front of the crowdPhoto by John Rodenhausen/CBF Staff.

A week ago, more than 1,500 Virginians gathered in the Blue Ridge to celebrate Earth Day for the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Oyster Festival! It was a gorgeous Saturday complete with Chesapeake oysters, Devils Backbone Brewing Company brew, and live music before the rains came late afternoon. CBF was on hand to educate participants about the Bay and to collect the oyster shells for our oyster restoration activities downriver. Proceeds from the event went to CBF and Big Brothers & Big Sisters of The Central Blue Ridge. We're so very grateful for the support of our friends in the mountains!