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This Week in the Watershed

Annapolis-flooding-1200
Sea level rise is a significant threat to many coastal communities, including Annapolis, MD. Photo by Amy McGovern.

Amidst a deluge of rainy days like we are currently experiencing, local flooding often ensues. Swamped roads, public health concerns, and damaged infrastructure, are just a sampling of the issues caused by flooding. While flooding can often be perceived as only a nuisance, sea level rise is exacerbating fears, particularly among coastal communities. This presents many challenges for waterfront properties, especially considering computer models suggest waters are going to rise higher before they recede.

Annapolis is one community wrestling with sea level rise in hopes to preserve its historic downtown. A recent event gathered scientists, city officials, and residents to discuss threats, opportunities, and solutions in preserving Annapolis' waterfront. While the complexity and multifaceted nature of the issue leaves no silver-bullet solution, Annapolis is well ahead of many coastal communities by actively planning for the inevitable future, especially when contrasted with coastal communities who would rather bury their head in the sand.

Clearly, sea level rise, like the larger issue of climate change it originates from, is an issue that must not only be approached from a mindset of mitigation but also adaptation. While rising waters might be an unavoidable reality for the foreseeable future, focusing on science-based solutions while considering the economic, cultural, and social consequences is a great step. This is true not only in combating sea level rise but also in the fight to Save the Bay, championed by the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

This Week in the Watershed: Rising Waters, Keystone Tree Awards, and Prosecuting Polluters

  • We love this editorial drawing the connection between improved air quality in Maryland and a healthier Bay. (Capital Gazette—MD)
  • A declining number of prosecutions against polluters has environmentalists concerned in Maryland. (Baltimore Sun—MD)
  • Progress has been made in cleaning up the Bay and its local rivers and streams, but recently released data by the EPA reveal that states will very likely miss the 2017 interim cleanup targets. (Bay Journal)
  • A study released this week found that water quality is deteriorating in Calvert County, MD tidal creeks. (The Calvert Recorder—MD)
  • U.S. Senator Ben Cardin hosted a discussion on water quality, focusing not only on legislative victories but the importance of science in crafting sound policy. (Capital Gazette—MD)
  • Oyster restoration efforts in Virginia Beach have not exactly gone according to plan. (The Virginian-Pilot—VA)
  • Planting forested buffers is one of the best clean water practices, and CBF's Pennsylvania office was recognized with both the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence and the Arbor Day Foundation's "Good Steward" Award for its tree planting efforts. (Lancaster Farming—PA and CBF Press Release)
  • While oyster farming has thrived in Virginia, it has been held back by bureaucratic red tape in Maryland. Efforts were made this week to change that. (Bay Journal)
  • Population growth throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed is an issue that cannot be ignored. (Bay Journal)
  • Sea level rise presents several obstacles for waterfront communities, including downtown Annapolis, MD. (Baltimore Sun—MD)

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

May 6

  • Shady Side, MD: Break a sweat and help Save the Bay— join CBF in cleaning the "homes" of the next generation of Chesapeake Bay oysters! Help restore the Chesapeake's native oyster population by cleaning oyster shells by shaking off the dirt and debris so baby oysters can successfully grow on them. This "shell shaking" event is a bit of a workout but a fun, hands-on experience. With lifting involved, it is not recommended for individuals with bad backs or other health concerns. A tour of our restoration center will follow the shell shaking. RSVP to Dan Johannes at DJohannes@cbf.org. Click here for more information!

May 7

  • Norfolk, VA: Volunteer with CBF at the 5th annual EcoFest Festival held along the shore of the Lafayette River. Produced by the Lafayette Environmental Outreach, the event combines educational engagement and ecological stewardship. Tanner Council, CBF Grassroots Coordinator, is looking for 5 to 6 volunteers to assist with a variety of activities. Shifts are available from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 1 p.m.-4 p.m., or all day. Please contact Tanner to volunteer and indicate what times work for you at TCouncil@cbf.org or 757-632-3807.

May 12 and 19

  • Annapolis, MD: Join CBF for an upcoming trip aboard the CBF skipjack the Stanley Norman. While aboard, you'll be invited to help hoist the sails or simply enjoy the view! You will leave with a better understanding of oysters and their role in keeping the Bay clean as well as what CBF is doing to restore the oyster stocks to Save the Bay. Click here to register! (Note: these are the only two dates that have not been sold out!)

May 14

  • Baltimore, MD: For nearly two years, CBF has been working on renovating a vacant lot in West Baltimore into a green space. Join us as we put on the finishing touches and celebrate! The morning will include final planting of perennials followed by an opening ceremony. Everyone is welcome to join the fun and help finish the planting, be inspired by our community leaders, and eat some hotdogs, potato salad, strawberries, and watermelon. Click here to register!

May 15

  • Norfolk, VA: The Blue Planet Forum is an annual, free environmental lecture series held in Hampton Roads. Its mission is to educate and engage the public on important environmental issues affecting Hampton Roads and the nation. In the next installment of this very popular series, the audience will be treated to presentations by an expert panel on the topic: Water, Water Everywhere: exploring how water inspires and influences us. The event is free, but space is limited, so registration is strongly encouraged. Click here to register!

May 16

  • Baltimore, MD: Cruise the Inner Harbor aboard CBF's 46-foot workboat the Snow Goose as we explore the complex and fascinating relationship between the urban environment and the Bay's natural ecosystem. CBF staff will demonstrate the importance of this port as an economic lifeline for the state of Maryland and help participants appreciate the life cycles and needs of the thousands of birds, fish, crabs, oysters, and other organisms which share these waters. Click here to register!

—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate

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