These days, it seems like there's a special day, week, or month set aside to recognize and celebrate everything: causes, issues, and occasionally, culinary creations. While there is nothing wrong with National Donut Day, for too long there wasn't a time to pause and appreciate the country's largest estuary. To change this trend, the legislatures of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania chose the week of June 4-12 to celebrate the first Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week.
This week for the Chesapeake is a time not only to celebrate the beauty, bounty, and recreation the Bay provides but also to remember that the fight to save the Bay and its rivers and streams is a marathon, not a sprint. In this long, hard, endurance race we are inspired by the many stalwart fighters for clean water, such as Bernie Fowler. The 92-year old former Maryland state senator has dedicated his life to cleaning the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay. His efforts have made an indelible impact, and his never-give-up attitude serves as motivation to a new generation of Bay advocates.
These advocates are found across the watershed, from Bonnie Kersta, a CBF oyster gardener volunteer, to farmers implementing best management practices for clean water, to the over 6,000 volunteers across Virginia who cleaned 440 miles of streamline and shore, removing over 138,000 pounds of harmful debris on Clean the Bay Day. All this hard work, from these volunteers and others, is making a difference. Recently, the Bay has shown encouraging signs of recovery, with the resurgence of underwater grasses, horseshoe crabs, and the blue crab population. Despite these positive trends, the fight to save the Bay is far from over. But with the implementation of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and the amazing contributions of inspiring individuals, the Bay is well on its way.
This Week in the Watershed: #AreYouBayAware, A Successful Cleaning, and Resilient Horseshoe Crabs
- Farmers in Virginia are helping to save the Bay through implementing best management practices for clean water on their farms. (Daily Progress—VA)
- Bernie Fowler, a legendary champion for the Chesapeake Bay and Patuxent River, is an inspiration for clean water fighters. (Daily Times—VA)
- This week is the first Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, a joint effort by Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania to promote national appreciation for the largest estuary in the country. (Daily Press—VA)
- A Pennsylvania legislator has proposed a new water fee to raise revenue for water restoration efforts throughout the Keystone State. (Bay Journal)
- CBF's 28th Annual Clean the Bay Day was a resounding success, with over 6,000 volunteers participating across Virginia and over 138,000 pounds of harmful debris removed. (Progress Index—VA) Bonus: CBF Press Release
- Horseshoe crabs are making a comeback throughout the Chesapeake Bay. (Bay Journal)
- Bonnie Kersta is a finalist for this year's COX Conserves Heroes Program for her volunteer work with CBF's oyster gardening program. If Bonnie wins, CBF will receive a $10,000 grant. You can help by voting online, and you only need to vote once between now and June 17. (Williamsburg Yorktown Daily—VA) Click here to vote for Bonnie!
What's Happening around the Watershed?
- Hampton Roads area, VA: Become an oyster gardener! First-time oyster gardeners are invited to attend one of our Oyster Gardening seminars to learn how to maintain their oyster garden over the coming year 2016-2017. Returning gardeners can turn in their "mature" oysters and pick up new baby oysters for the year. Click here to see the dates and locations for both first-time oyster gardener seminars and returning gardener roundup!
- Baltimore, MD: Join CBF and the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore for a Healthy Harbor paddle and rally to support the environmental restoration of this ecosystem and show that we value the health of our city, our harbor, our Bay, and our streams. Pre-register at BaltimoreFloatilla.com.
- Easton, MD: The fourth annual outdoor Clean Water Concert Series continues with the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters. The Navy's official chorus will perform pieces ranging from Broadway tunes to sea chanteys and everything in between. Top-notch entertainment you won't want to miss! All concerts are free and open to the public. While enjoying the music, be sure to stop by the dozens of environmental and community exhibits, including CBF's, so that you can learn more about the Bay and how you can be a part of the movement to restore it.
- 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. We'll be shaking off the dirt and debris on shells 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. Click here to register!
- Easton, MD: The fourth annual outdoor Clean Water Concert Series wraps up with The XPD's. One of the best bands in the D.C. area, the XPD's are back and ready to groove to Motown, R&B, and funk tunes that will have you on your feet! All concerts are free and open to the public. While enjoying the music, be sure to stop by the dozens of environmental and community exhibits, including CBF's, so that you can learn more about the Bay and how you can be a part of the movement to restore it.
- Upper Marlboro, MD: Join CBF for a day at Clagett Farm for educational presentations, a tour of the farm, a service project, and a showcase of foods produced on the sustainable farm. Attendees will assist in the filling and planting of elevated garden beds designed for easier accessibility to individuals with a limited range of motion. Click here to learn more and register!
—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate