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September 2013

Clean, Safe Water for Swimming, Recreation Through Much of Weekend

Sisters (2)
Photo by Heather Haffner.

The following appeared on Anne Arundel Patch earlier today.

Continued dry weather is keeping our swimming areas cleaner and safer than they've been all summer! And the good news is it looks like that could continue through much of Labor Day weekend. 

Only four private swimming areas in the mid-county region tested unsafe because of high bacteria counts this week: 

SOUTH RIVER

Glen Isle – 544

Pine Whiff – 198

Spring Lake/Beards Creek – 116

RHODE RIVER

Cadle Creek Community Dock – 216 

The acceptable level of enterococci bacteria is 104 or fewer bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters of water.

Enterococci are bacteria that are found in the GI tract of warm-blooded animals, which includes all birds and mammals.  Their presence in surface water indicates recent contamination with fecal waste. 

Rainwater washes contaminants such as dog waste, waste from leaking septics and wildlife waste from the landscape. Heavy rains also cause occasional sewage overflows and spills that also contribute bacteria.

Both the county health department and a network of volunteers test more than 100 public beaches and other areas around the county for bacteria. The results from the county tests are put online here, and for the volunteer tests here for Severn and Magothy rivers, here for South River, and here for Rhode/West River. All the sites listed above were tested by Watershed Stewards

Operation Clearwater volunteers who test many private swimming areas on the Severn and Magothy rivers did not report their findings this week. 

Tests, which usually are conducted mid-week, are really most useful for only a few days. Water quality can improve or degrade fairly quickly depending on whether it has rained. For that reason the county health department cautions residents to avoid swimming or direct contact with any "natural" water (swimming pools don't count) for 48 hours after a rain of ½ inch or more. 

—Tom Zolper, CBF's Maryland Communications Coordinator


VA School Rain Garden Wins National Award

DSC_0532Photo by CBF Staff.

A rain garden project coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that helps reduce runoff from a Henrico County, Va., school has won a National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award!

The rain garden was installed last year by horticulture students at The Academy at Virginia Randolph, school and county employees, and CBF staff to catch and filter runoff from school downspouts and a nearby playground. The students planted a variety of native trees, shrubs, and flowers whose roots absorb and retain water. The garden thus helps reduce runoff pollution and erosion, two of the most serious problems plaguing the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.

DSC_0538
Photo by CBF Staff.
The school grounds are within the Upham Brook watershed, which drains into the Chickahominy River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. The rain garden is one of four CBF is installing in the Upham Brook watershed as part of a stream restoration project funded by a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant and funding from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund (using funds generated by the sale of Chesapeake Bay license plates in Virginia), The Community Foundation of Richmond, and the Austin Memorial Foundation. The project is part of a larger effort to help implement Virginia's Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the state's plan to restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Bay. 

The recent award for the rain garden was one of seven Henrico received from NACo recognizing innovative local government programs. 

                                                                     —Chuck Epes, CBF's Assistant Director of Media Relations
 

VA randolph in bloom
The finished product in bloom! Photo by Mary Perretz.


 


Photo of the Week: Our Favorite Summertime Photos

8-28-2013 12-31-15 PMCheck out more of these summer shots on our Facebook photo album here.

"Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."  —Henry James

We tend to agree with James—summer is one of our favorite seasons, too. It's a time of watching your kids play in the water until the sun goes down, waking up at dawn to go fishing, and feasting on steamed crabs while sipping lemonade at water's edge. Summer on the Bay is all these things and more. 

And so in honor of our last gasp of the season this Labor Day weekend, we've put together some of our favorite Chesapeake summer moments and wanted to share them with you. 

Click here to visit our Facebook page to see our "Summer Highlights" photo album.

A special thanks to the many of you who contributed your own images and thoughts about the summer season to the album. And for those of you who didn't, there's still time to submit your photos if you have any you'd like to share. Just follow the instructions on the album to learn more.  

We know that you share our love of the Bay and its rivers and streams, and we enjoy seeing the photos that they inspire—it reaffirms all that we do to restore and protect the waters we love for you and for future generations. 

 


Paddling Toward a Saved Bay


Canoes on the WaterOn September 28 and October 19, CBF will hold two paddles through the marshes of Maryland's Kings Creek, a tributary of the mighty Choptank.
 With beautiful Eastern Shore scenery and autumn bird watching, these paddles offer an excellent opportunity to enjoy being out on the water during what is often thought of as the most beautiful season of the year.

These are also opportunities to learn more about our work, including defending and implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the science-based, multi-state plan to restore the Bay by 2025. The Blueprint incorporates the best science that we have available and provides a plan for each state within the six-state watershed to reduce the amount of pollution flowing into the Bay. But most importantly it provides a way for each person in the community to get involved with the effort to restore our shared national treasure.

There are many things that we can do as individuals to save the Bay. We can plant native plants in our gardens, participate in stream clean ups, and encourage our legislators to make Bay-friendly decisions. We can also continue to enjoy the incredible environment that surrounds us by joining us for a canoe paddle for instance! The Bay is a part of the heritage of the Eastern Shore, and if we connect with and experience it, we will be motivated to preserve it.

Bess Trout, CBF's Eastern Shore Grassroots Field Specialist 

Register for one (or both!) of these canoe trips now on our website here. 


Photo of the Week: Your Favorite Summertime Shots

KidsKayak_TrapPondA family kayaking and fishing on Trap Pond in Laurel, Delaware. Photo by Octavio Abruto/iLCP.

Do you have a favorite summertime photo in/on/near the water? We want to see it! We're collecting special summer moments and memories and compiling them into a Facebook photo album to share with other Bay lovers. What better way to celebrate the Chesapeake waters we all love so much. Send us your photos now to be included in the album!

Send your digital images 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. We look forward to seeing your photos!

My Intern Experience

 

Blog Photo
Kevin Painter busy at his desk. Photo by CBF Staff.
It is said that as an intern, you should take away as much from your internship as you put into it, and my time with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation definitely exceeded those expectations! My experience was exciting and challenging throughout the summerthere was never a dull moment. CBF and its staff did everything in their power to make every intern feel welcome and part of the team.

Since early 2012, I continuously checked CBF's website in hopes of a communications-related internship. That dream became a reality when I was thrilled to accept the Communications and Digital Media Internship earlier this spring. Being a part of the CBF community was a natural choiceI grew up on the Bay, and protecting and restoring it has been important to me for as long as I can remember. 

Saving the Bay

Throughout my work this summer I've been able to use skills I gained throughout college at the University of Maryland. I set up new social media platforms, assisted in existing social media platforms, wrote blogs, marketed CBF's Speakers Bureau, conducted research, and compiled influential news and media lists. I also assisted with the implementation of CBF's digital library, which stores all its pictures and news articles. I gained some hands-on, real-world experience that has furthered my skills and understanding of the communications field.

Environmental Field Experiences

I started my internship by attending an orientation with the other interns and CBF's Executive Management Team. That day was dedicated to getting to know each other and learning our individual connections to the Chesapeake Bay. We even had the opportunity to sit down and talk to CBF's President and CEO Will Baker, about his experience and history with CBF. From then on, CBF had multiple intern events scheduled:

  • Oyster Olympics at CBF's Oyster Restoration Center (ORC)Intern oyster restoration competition;
  • Environmental education experience on CBF’s skipjack, the Stanley NormanEducational trip to dredge for oysters and learned about the health of the Bay;
  • Kayak paddle at the Blackwater National Wildlife RefugeeDay-long paddle to observe the wildlife and learn about the history of the region; and
  • Boat excursion to Cantler's with CBF volunteers and the Digital Media TeamTrip to Cantler's Riverside Inn with some of our dedicated volunteers for lunch.

My two favorite events were the Oyster Olympics and the trip to Cantler's restaurant. The Oyster Olympics took place at the ORC in Shady Side, Md., where interns learned about the importance of the oyster population, while competing in a restoration-related competition.

The trip to Cantler's restaurant and crab house was a blast! The Volunteer Program Manager Heather Tuckfield and the Digital Media Team took 12 dedicated volunteers out for lunch at Cantler's. We hopped on CBF's workboat the Marguerite and spent an amazing day eating crabs and boating on the Bay.

This internship has introduced me to the world of environmental nonprofit organizationsin a word, it's wonderful. Every day that I come to work, everyone at CBF is in a great mood, and the atmosphere here is like no other office I've experienced. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is an outstanding organization, and I will continue to support it in the future.

Kevin Painter, Communications and Digital Media Intern

Interested in being a CBF intern? Check out our website!


Students Spring Into Action: From Pollution Runoff Nightmare to Native Garden Paradise

Native garden (3)Fourth graders hard at work planting a native garden at their school, Chesapeake Public Charter School, to prevent harmful polluted runoff. Photos courtesy of April Skinner.

After having the University of Maryland Extension office visit our school and conduct professional development for our staff, it was very apparent that our school yard has pollution runoff issues

Before garden 2
Before planting native plants to soak up polluted runoff.

We discovered that nearly a foot of soil had washed away from the front flagpole area of our school (Chesapeake Public Charter School) since our doors opened in 2008. After looking at pictures from our dedication ceremony in 2008, we saw a huge difference in the soil and the amount of plant growth in a 800-square-foot area. This high traffic area's soil was so compacted it was like concrete. This was a great real-world problem solving opportunity and a perfect tie in to our erosion unit from the fall.

Fourth graders jumped into action. After calculating the perimeter of the space, we set out pavers to build an 8-inch wall around the area. Next, we calculated the volume of mulch and compost we would need to till in and cover this area. With the help and donations of many of our parents, we were able to fill our raised bed with 400-cubic feet of rich, dark, organic matter (including some of our school's own grown compost). 

Our school's environmental center provided more than 100 native, student-grown plants and trees to fill this space. Each student then researched one plant and made a field marker to educate the visitors of our school to each of the species we planted. We had three patrons ask us to identify plants before we were even done planting, as they wanted to plant the same in their yard!

 

Native garden (1)
Forty-five students (grades 4 and 7), two teachers, and three parent volunteers helped transform this runoff nightmare into a native garden paradise.

So, after one HOT workday, 45 students (grades 4 and 7), two teachers, and three parent volunteers, we finally transformed this runoff nightmare into a native garden paradise. It will be a work in progress, as we want to add a walkway to the flagpole and a few benches. But for now it is a beautiful addition to our school entryway. It also acts as an extension to our Monarch Waystation and CPCS Vegetable Garden.

Our fourth graders are now the voice for reducing pollution runoff. They can tell you that the plant roots now absorb the water, instead of letting it runoff down the hill, carrying soil and harmful nutrients with it. We transformed a semi-pervious surface into a sponge which can hold water or at least slow it down and reduce pollution runoff.

April Skinner, Fourth Grade Chesapeake Public Charter School Teacher  

Native garden (2)


Photo of the Week: Bethel Beach

IMG_4894
Photo by Janice Vogel. 

"Bethel Beach in Mathews, Virginia. Taken by my friend Janice Vogel. She lives there and loves it. I've been drawn to it my whole lifethe Bay."

—Thomas Buchanan

Ensure that Janice and Thomas along with future generations continue to enjoy extraordinary places like these. Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint! 

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] cbf.org, along with a brief description of where and when you took the photo, and what the Chesapeake Bay means to you. We look forward to seeing your photos!