This Week in the Watershed

Algal blooms are increasing throughout the watershed, in part due to warming temperatures as a result of climate change. Photo by Bill Portlock/CBF Staff.

Climate change is a prototype of a truly global issue. Low-lying islands in the Pacific are being lost to sea-level rise; food supplies are threatened with record-setting droughts in Africa; beetles which were previously killed by freezing temperatures are destroying forests in the western United States. These are just a few examples among many of the impact climate change is having around the world. Add to the list: the warming waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

According to Maryland's Center for Environmental Science, water temperatures have risen on average 1.2 °F since the 1980s across more than 92 percent of the Bay and its rivers and streams. This increased temperature decreases the water's capacity to hold dissolved oxygen, exacerbating the Bay's fish-killing dead zones. The decreased oxygen squeezes fish into smaller and smaller areas of the water column, and contributes to algal blooms. Rising temperatures also stress other temperature sensitive species, such as eel grass. Added altogether, warming the Bay dramatically impacts the entire ecosystem.

Facing a problem of climate change's magnitude can quickly become overwhelming. Research shows in fact, that the immensity of the issue contributes to alarming apathy. As with most issues this large and complex, there are no silver bullet solutions. Rather, small, incremental solutions amount to significant change when brought to scale. And often, these solutions are local in nature.

A recent report highlights how fighting stormwater runoff is an effective strategy in combating climate change. Rain falling on baking asphalt and concrete, then funneling into our waterways, heats the Bay and its rivers and streams. By decreasing the amount of impervious surface and through better stormwater management, we can fight this trend, and decrease the water temperature. And perhaps not coincidentally, help clean the water as well. Talk about a win-win.

This Week in the Watershed: Warming Waters, Striped Bass, and Scooping the Poop

  • Good news for the James River, as a recent report declares it is healthier than in decades. (Daily Press—VA)
  • Microbeads, tiny plastics found in products ranging from toothpaste to cosmetics, are polluting our water supply. Pennsylvania is planning to hold a hearing on the issue after the budget impasse is resolved, potentially following Maryland's lead by passing legislation banning microbeads. (York Dispatch—PA)
  • The waters of the Chesapeake Bay are warming. If the trend continues, it could "worsen fish-suffocating dead zones and alter the food web on which the bay's fish and crabs depend." (Baltimore Sun—MD)
  • A survey of juvenile striped bass in Maryland brought good news, as it found reproduction twice the long-term average. (Bay Journal)
  • Thousands of dead menhaden washed up on Virginia's Eastern Shore after a fishing accident. (Daily Press—VA)
  • ICYMI: The Richmond County Board of Supervisors voted to delay the vote on the development of Fones Cliffs. (Free Lance Star—VA)
  • Picking up after your dog might not seem like a big deal, but as this editorial reveals, dog waste has enough bacteria and viruses that it can cause serious health issues in humans. Don't forget to scoop the poop! (Frederick News-Post—MD)

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

October 17

  • Keymar, MD: Help CBF plant over 800 trees and shrubs on a dairy farm in Frederick County. This stream buffer will help provide clean water in the Monocacy River Watershed. Register here!

October 18

  • Upper Marlboro, MD: Come on out to CBF's Clagett Farm for a fun-filled afternoon with friends, live music, craft-brewed beers, and mouth-watering food created by area chefs using local ingredients at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Burgers and Brews for the Bay event. Learn more and buy tickets here!

October 21

  • York, PA: A good time is to be had by all at BrewVino. Residents can meet neighbors looking to protect local waterways and learn about new opportunities to get involved in ensuring clean water, healthy communities, and a thriving economy for York County. Oh, and there will be good food! Click here to register!

October 22

  • Washington, DC: Join USGBC-NCR for "Building for Climate Resilience: Adaptions and Strategies." Part of USGBC-NCR's lead-up to Greenbuild Voices on Resilience Campaign, this event will feature a panel of expert practitioners discussing real-world examples of projects designed and engineered to withstand our changing environment. Click here to learn more!

October 23

  • Easton, MD: CBF's Maryland Eastern Shore office is moving! Join us at our new building, the Eastern Shore Conservation Center. Building tours and light refreshments will be provided, and CBF Eastern Shore staff will be present to visit with you as we celebrate the new space with partners and friends in the community. Click here for more info!

October 24

  • Baltimore, MD: Join us at the Great Baltimore Oyster Festival to celebrate the mighty oyster while enjoying five varieties of oysters, specialty foods, boat tours, music, and more! Hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Waterfront Partnership, and Healthy Harbor. Online registration is closed, but still come on out! Entry to the event is free, and oyster plates will be available for purchase on-site. Click here for more info!
  • Queen Anne's County, MD: Come paddle with us on Southeast Creek, just off the Chester River. Southeast Creek is a prime example of a healthy tidal Eastern Shore creek, replete with large expanses of tidal marsh, abundant wildlife dominated by various species of bird life, and a watershed consisting mainly of farmland. The paddle is comfortable and peaceful, offering up close views of herons fishing in the shallows and wood ducks nesting in the many trees along the banks. Click here to register!

—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate

"Veterans on the Susquehanna" Event Honors Heroes and Local Waterways

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Daniel Graff and his son, DJ, paddle the Susquehanna River, under the watchful eye of Joe Pegnetter of "Heroes on the Water" at Shank's Mare Outfitters in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. Daniel and his family joined other veterans and their families at our first-ever "Veterans on the Susquehanna" event. Guests were treated to kayaking, fishing, fly-fishing casting lessons, live music, dinner, and refreshments. Photo by B.J. Small/CBF Staff.

Veterans and their families enjoyed a day of paddling and fishing, food, and live music at the first-ever "Veterans on the Susquehanna" event in Wrightsville, York County, on Saturday, Aug. 29. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Heroes on the Water–Central Pennsylvania Chapter, and the Cumberland Valley and Muddy Creek chapters of Trout Unlimited joined forces to host the day.

Shank's Mare Outfitters, along the Susquehanna River, was the ideal setting to honor the sacrifices made by veterans, to spend the afternoon on the water, and to appreciate why clean water counts in York County and across the Commonwealth.

Our "Clean Water Counts: York" campaign is underway in York County. Its goal is to make residents aware of local water quality issues and solutions, and to build and motivate advocacy to reduce water pollution in the county and across the Commonwealth. There are 19,000 miles of impaired waterways across Pennsylvania; 350 miles are in York County.

"The iconic waterways flowing through York County's diverse community are a part of the local way of life," said CBF's Pennsylvania Outreach and Advocacy Manager Amanda John. "'Clean water counts: York' is bringing together individuals, businesses, and organizations from around the county to make sure elected officials are made aware of pollution protections those waterways need."

York County commissioners Doug Hoke and Chris Reilly attended the event.

Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited volunteers Andrew Kimsey, left, and Alan Howe offer fly-casting lessons to Sue Farrell of Mt. Wolf, at Shank's Mare Outfitters in Wrightsville. Photo by B.J. Small/CBF Staff.

Veterans and their families paddled the Susquehanna and fished under the watchful eyes of guides from Heroes on the Water. Heroes on the Water, many of them veterans themselves, also provided kayaks and fishing gear.

U.S. Army veteran Francine Praught of Lancaster was all smiles as she paddled out onto the Susquehanna. Praught admitted to catching more grasses than fish, and that getting out and enjoying time on the river was the ultimate goal of her day.

Air Force veterans Daniel Schaan of Washington, D.C., and Sarah Shaffer of Etters, shared the Susquehanna experience in a tandem kayak. Marines Corps veteran Daniel Graff of York and his son, "DJ," were guided on the water by Joe Pegnetter. Graff and his son later added fly-casting lessons to their experience.

Muddy Creek Trout Unlimited volunteers Chris Haag, Kelly Warren, Andrew Kimsey, and Alan Howe of Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited, helped guests get into the swing of things, by sharing fly-casting techniques with all who wanted to learn them. Joe Myers of Wrightsville and Sue Ferrell of Mt. Wolf attended the event for the fly-casting instructions alone. Myers had recently gotten a fly rod and was anxious to learn how to use it.

U.S. Army veteran Francine Praught of Lancaster, enjoys her time kayaking on the Susquehanna River. Photo by B.J. Small/CBF Staff.

Not able to attend in person, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey sent his best wishes in a letter recognizing participants and organizers. "For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have selflessly risen to answer the call of freedom," Senator Pat Toomey said. "From Lexington and Concord, to Gettysburg, Normandy, Korea, Vietnam, and most recently Afghanistan and Iraq; American soldiers have gone to the ends of the earth to fight oppression and tyranny, and to uphold the cause of freedom. Many brave Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice for defending our freedoms and never returned home to see their families."

Senator Toomey added that, "It is fitting that we gather together on occasions like these to express our gratitude for all that our armed service members, current and past, have done to protect our way of life and keep our nation free."

"We're thrilled to partner with Heroes on the Water and local Trout Unlimited chapters and to see nearly 100 local veterans and supporters gain so much from their experiences on and around the water," CBF's John added. "We look forward to hosting a second annual 'Veterans on the Susquehanna' in 2016 to honor and celebrate the sacrifice and bravery of even more of these local heroes."

— B.J. Small, CBF's Pennsylvania Media and Communications Coordinator

This Week in the Watershed

Professor Tami Imbierowicz of Harford Community College oversees her daughter Stephanie as she takes a water sample at Kilgore Falls in Harford County. Their findings are part of a study revealing alarming levels of bacteria in popular Maryland swimming spots. Photo by Tom Zolper/CBF Staff.

It might be a bit cliché, but the truth still stands that you can't solve a problem until you recognize its existence. While polluted runoff is a problem we have been fighting for years, this week we found evidence that it is wreaking havoc on freshwater streams and lakes in Maryland. We also released milestone reports revealing that while progress has been made towards saving our Bay and its rivers and streams, there is still much work to be done.

Our response is continuing the work to save the Bay, through restoring the native oyster population, bringing teachers into the field so they can inspire the next generation of clean water advocates, and taking the fight for the Bay to the courtroom. Also this week we are working to raise the voices of the 17 million citizens who live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in advance of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council's meeting on July 23. TAKE ACTION: Tell your Governor and the EPA that clean water restoration must move forward!

This week in the Watershed: Dirty Streams, Restoring Oysters, and Teaching Teachers

  • CBF has partnered with Hood College, Howard Community College, and Harford Community College, in a study exposing alarming levels of bacteria in Maryland streams, particularly after heavy rain. (Baltimore Sun—MD) Read more about this stream study in our Press Release.
  • In efforts to fully implement the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint by 2025, the states of the Chesapeake Bay watershed have committed to two-year incremental goals called Milestones. CBF and Choose Clean Water Coalition evaluated clean water progress for Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. (CBF Press Releases)
  • CBF President Will Baker and CBF PA Executive Director Harry Campbell discuss all things Pennsylvania water quality on WITF's "Smart Talk." (WITF—PA)
  • There are few activities more helpful in saving the Bay than oyster restoration. CBF is in the thick of building sanctuary reefs. (Bay Journal)
  • Speaking of oyster restoration, this group in Carroll County, Maryland is doing great work, collecting and recycling old oyster shells. (Bay Journal)
  • Recently we took legal action to challenge Virginia's rules for large livestock farms, arguing the state is failing to protect streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay by allowing farm animals unfettered access to streams. This week that lawsuit was unfortunately dismissed. Stay tuned for updates on this important issue. (Richmond Times-Dispatch—VA)
  • Fourteen teachers from Pennsylvania and Virginia went paddling, turned over rocks, and studied forestry and soils during a two-day workshop this week, co-sponsored by CBF. (CBF Press Release)
  • The writers of this editorial deserve high-fives and fist-bumps all around for clearly and convincingly arguing the need for the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint in saving the Bay. (Frederick News-Post—MD)

What's Happening around the Watershed?

July 23

  • Join CBF for an evening of exploring the beautiful lower Susquehanna River. Explore a unique stretch of the Susquehanna, paddling by plants and animals that call these ecosystems home while discussing how land use and pollution have affected the overall habitat of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Click here to register!

July 25

  • Folks on the Eastern Shore of Virginia are invited to learn about native plant landscaping at an exciting, educational event: "Trees, Bees, and Clean Water: Connecting the Dots." Experts will help attendees learn about the pollinating power of birds, butterflies, and bees, how to landscape to reduce polluted runoff, how to build a rain garden, and more. Space is limited and registration is required. E-mail Tatum Ford at to reserve your spot!

July 28

  • In preparation for stormwater medallion placement on July 30, CBF will be distributing door hangers with information about how citizens can reduce their impact on the waterways! E-mail Blair Blanchette at or call 804/780-1392 to participate.

July 30

  • Join CBF as we place stormwater medallions in Oak Grove, Richmond. This unique volunteer opportunity allows you to have a positive impact on the Bay while also using a caulk gun! E-mail Blair Blanchette at or call 804/780-1392 to participate.

August 1

  • This annual benefit for CBF draws kayakers, paddle boarders and all kinds of other paddlers—from novice to advanced—from far and wide for a race at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. CBF is looking for 5-6 volunteers to assist in event/race logistics and share information with the attendees. To volunteer please e-mail or call Tanner Council at or 757/622-1964. To join the races, click here!

—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate

This Week in the Watershed

Clean water is in our grasp with the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The Blueprint recently withstood a legal challenge from powerful special interest groups. Photo by Danny Motsko.

Conflict, and particularly conflict against a strong opposition, is fundamental to every good story. The story of saving the Bay is no different. Over the past several decades, voluntary commitments by states to clean their waterways were never met. Indeed, in a sea of good intentions, the water only became more polluted.

Enter the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The states in the watershed agreed to two-year incremental milestones of pollution reduction, with the EPA having the enforcement power to impose consequences for failure. Finally, the fight for clean water had some teeth. Shortly thereafter however, powerful special interests with enormous influence attacked the new agreement.

Led by the American Farm Bureau Federation, national agricultural and development industry groups challenged the Blueprint's pollution limits in court. In September 2013, Judge Sylvia Rambo ruled affirming the legality of the Blueprint. The fight continued as the Farm Bureau group appealed Rambo's decision, this time joined by attorneys general from 21 states supporting their efforts.

A new, and hopefully final, chapter in this conflict was written on Monday, with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denying the Farm Bureau group appeal. With this victory for clean water the work to save the Bay and it's rivers and streams continues, focusing our efforts on the implementation of the Blueprint—the Bay's best, and perhaps last chance, for real restoration.

This week in the Watershed: A Historic Victory for Clean Water, Restoring Streams, and Loving Trees

  • As already noted, the big news this week was the court ruling upholding the legality of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. With such big news and accompanying coverage, it deserves a list of its own: CBF Press Release, Associated Press, Washington Post, Think Progress, Baltimore Sun, Bay Journal
  • We couldn't agree more with this editorial, claiming the need of the EPA's enforcement powers for the success of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. (Richmond Times-Dispatch—VA)
  • Arlington County in northern Virginia has been doing great work around stream restoration. (Arlington Connection—VA)
  • As reported last week, CBF went to court in Virginia, suing the state to fence farm animals out of streams. Jon Mueller, CBF VP for Litigation, argued on July 2, "We got to where we are today [with a polluted Bay] because [agreements to clean the Bay] were non-binding." (Richmond Times-Dispatch—VA)
  • Harry Campbell, CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director, discusses the importance of trees in the fight for clean water. (The Sentinel—PA)

What's Happening around the Watershed?

July 11

  • Enjoy a leisurely guided hike along the Gwynns Falls Trail through Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. A guest speaker will bring to life the history of this the second largest urban park in the country. Click here to register! Deadline to register is July 7.

July 16

  • Attend the U.S. Green Building Council's National Capital Region's "A Midnight Summer's Dream" Gala. This annual fundraiser has been the premier summer networking event for the DC metro area’s green building community for over a decade. Click here for more information!

July 23

  • Join CBF for an evening of exploring the unique and beautiful lower Susquehanna River. Explore a unique stretch of the Susquehanna, paddling by plants and animals that call these unique ecosystems home while discussing how land use and pollution have affected the overall habitat of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Click here to register!

July 25

  • Folks on the Eastern Shore of Virginia are invited to learn about native plant landscaping at an exciting, educational event: "Trees, Bees, and Clean Water: Connecting the Dots." Experts will help attendees learn about the pollinating power of birds, butterflies, and bees, how to landscape to reduce polluted runoff, how to build a rain garden, and more! Space is limited and registration is required. E-mail Tatum Ford at to reserve your spot!
  • Get on the water with a kayak trip on Bear Creek, near Baltimore. A unique experience on urban waters, you will see the impact of suburban development on the land and water, paddle close to the infamous Sparrows Point, and hear from a local environmental group about what's being done in the area. Click here to register! Deadline to register is July 17.

—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate

This Week in the Watershed

Farm Fresh volunteers sweeping the beach at Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA as part of CBF's 27th Annual "Clean the Bay Day," held Saturday, June 6. Photo by CBF Staff.

Like the mighty Susquehanna, which dumps 25 billion gallons of water into the Chesapeake Bay every day, the work to save the Bay and its rivers and streams is never stagnant. In this work, few things matter more than an educated and enthusiastic citizenry. Accordingly, it is our desire here at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that the 17 million people who live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are informed of all the Bay happenings and also engaged with opportunities to enjoy nature and serve through volunteering.

With that goal in mind, every Friday be sure to visit our blog to get your fill of the week's top stories and learn what's happening around the watershed.

This week in the Watershed: Spring Cleaning, Chickens, and Horses of the Sea Variety

  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's 27th Annual "Clean the Bay Day" was a smashing success with over 6,000 volunteers helping collect 125,000 pounds of trash, all in just three hours! (Virginian Pilot—VA)
  • With Tampa Bay restoring its underwater grasses, the Chesapeake Bay has a great example for achieving clean water. (Reuters)
  • A seahorse was found in a baby oyster cage near CBF's Brock Environmental Center! (Virginian Pilot—VA)
  • Did we mention how much of a success Clean the Bay Day was? (Daily Press—VA)
  • The opening of bass season in Pennsylvania is drawing attention to the poor water quality throughout many of Pennsylvania's rivers and streams, particularly the Susquehanna. (Daily Local News—PA)
  • EPA released an interim assessment of progress made under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The findings show most states are generally on track but one state is alarmingly off track to meet their pollution reduction commitments. Read CBF's state-specific assessments of their findings in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

What's Happening around the Watershed?

June 13

  • Those interested in oyster gardening for the first time or those looking to pick up new baby oysters can attend an oyster gardening workshop in Kinsale, VA.
  • CBF is hosting it's 10th Annual "Bands in the Sand" benefit concert, headlined this year by The Bacon Brothers. Due to unprecedented demand, this year's concert is sold out!

June 16

  • Another opportunity for those interested in oyster gardening for the first time or those looking to pick up new baby oysters to attend an oyster gardening workshop, this time in Newport News, VA.

June 20

  • Those who have been growing oysters can plant them in the Patuxent River.
  • Get outside and get your hands dirty, helping plant 400 trees and shrubs along Swatara Creek in Londonderry, PA. E-mail Kate Austin at to register!
  • Yet another opportunity for those interested in oyster gardening for the first time or those looking to pick up new baby oysters to attend an oyster gardening workshop, this time in Deltaville, VA.
  • The Clean Water Concert Series continues on Maryland's Eastern Shore, as the XPD's perform in Easton, MD.

June 21

  • Love paddle boarding? Then put on your calendar "Cape 2 Cape," a festival celebrating paddle boarding through a 19-mile race across the Bay and various Father's Day races. All proceeds benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

June 24-25

  • Interested in advocating for clean water in Virginia? Attend the 5th Annual Clean Water Captains workshop in Virginia Beach. E-mail Lori Kersting at for more information.

June 25

  • Get on the water with CBF on Susquehanna's West Branch, often described as a "recreation mecca." On this canoe adventure you'll learn about the native ecosystem and explore the verdant valley, paddling by plants and animals that call these unique ecosystems home. Click here to register!

June 26

  • Help restore the Chesapeake's native oyster population by cleaning oyster shells (we call it "shell shaking") by shaking off the dirt and debris so baby oysters can successfully grow on them. Registration is required!

—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate

Photo of the Week: Clean the Bay Day Is Almost Here!

253266_10150996484505943_1945850502_nBoy Scout Council Pack 414 from Williamsburg and Farm Fresh team coordinator Thomas Mott unearth a giant fishnet on Clean the Bay Day a few years ago. Photo by Andrea Moran.

Every June, roughly 6,000 dedicated volunteers from across Virginia join us in removing more than 135,000 pounds of trash from 500 miles of our rivers, streams, and Bay. Clean the Bay Day, a Virginia tradition 27 years in the making, is one of the largest volunteer clean-up efforts in Virginia. 

And just like the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint—the science-based federal/state plan to Save the Bayit represents a coming together of municipalities, businesses, and individuals who care about the health of our waters, our economy, our way of life. It's inspiring to see so many committed to the clean water cause across the Commonwealth.  

So why don't you join us this year and be a part of this extraordinary day.

—Emmy Nicklin
CBF's Senior Manager of Digital Media

Music, Clean Water, and the Eastern Shore

Everyone is up and dancingThe Eastern Shore of Maryland has a great deal to be thankful for. From the rich history of the beautiful colonial towns that dot the landscape, to the farms and forests that stretch from Cecil to Worcester Counties, we are in a unique position to enjoy the "Land of Pleasant Living." 

Of course, we also have the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams right in our own backyard. The Bay has long supported the livelihoods of many who live and work here, but it impacts our lives far beyond our valuable fishing and tourism industries. The Bay brings us together as a community: It's part of our heritage, and we need to work hard to ensure that it is fishable and swimable for future generations to enjoy. 

Sharing ProduceTo help raise awareness about the Bay and involve the community in its restoration, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is partnering with the Avalon Foundation to host a series of concerts in downtown Easton. The series kicked off in June with a Farmer's Market concert featuring national recording artist Susan Werner, who wowed the crowd by singing and telling stories about her own agricultural background. The  event continued with a ticketed show at the Avalon Theatre with Susan, followed a week later by an outdoor, block-party-style concert featuring the XPDs on June 8. We conclude the series with a final concert on June 29, this one featuring the popular and fun Eastport Oyster Boys.

At each concert, CBF volunteers and staff are prompting people to share stories about the Chesapeake Bay and its value in their lives. It is amazing to hear about all of the ways in which clean water motivates us, from those who grew up fishing and swimming in the Bay, to people who came to this area because of the beauty and opportunity provided by this important resource. The Chesapeake Bay brings us together as a community, and we all have a story to share about the many ways it impacts our lives.

The Crowds Come OutAnd now with the science-based, multi-state, bi-partisan Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint guiding it's restoration, we can unite as a community around clean water. We may all have different backgrounds, and often we have different opinions. But our connection to the Bay and to this area is something we all have in common.

This is the moment in time for the Chesapeake Bay, and for the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This is the moment to restore our national treasure and ensure that the oysters, crabs, and finfish that call this area home will thrive. And most importantly, it is the moment to guarantee that future generations have their own stories to share with their children and grandchildren about the Bay. We'll see you Saturday!

—Photos and Text by Bess Trout, CBF's Eastern Shore Grassroots Field Specialist 

Can't make it on Saturday? Tell us your own Chesapeake clean water story here!

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.

Notes from the Education Field, Part 3: Lessons from the Smith Island program include the importance of community

All photos by Adam Wickline/CBF Staff.

The early October sun shines brightly as I tie up my skiff into the harbor of Tylerton, one of three towns located on Smith Island, MD. Here is where the Chesapeake Bay Foundation operates its Smith Island Education Center in the heart of town. I walk up the dock where I am greeted by Jessie Marsh, CBF’s senior manager for all our island education centers, including Smith. Jessie is a native of Tylerton but now resides in Crocheron, MD in Dorchester County. With a big grin, Jessie hands me what appears to be bear claws with handles. It’s time to pull some slow-roasted pork shoulders that have been cooking since last night.

Today is the Smith Island Pig Roast, a free community event that has been happening here since 1991 when a group of North Carolina folks started the tradition. It is a chance to gather all those connected to the island for an outdoor meal while enjoying each other’s fellowship. In preparation for the meal today, CBF barbeques around 180 pounds of pork, shucks four bushels of oysters, and acquires a giant tub of macaroni salad. The oysters will be breaded and fried, and the pork will be pulled and slathered in a vinegary sauce.

As I work diligently to pull apart the pork shoulders for the feast ahead, I look around the Smith Island center’s kitchen. Most people have a certain image in their minds when you say “environmental education center”: woods, cabin, dirt, and a bearded man in a flannel shirt directing activities. However, this center is unique in its unobtrusiveness; its ability to blend in with the town in which it resides. The education center here looks like any other house on Smith. And therein lies the beauty of this program: It fits right in with the community.  

DSC_0044The Smith Island Center was established in 1978, and since its inception it has been a part of Tylerton. It is comprised of two houses—one of which is among the oldest in town—that were both family homes at one time. The center’s program involves visiting with locals and discussing the history of the island as it relates to the health of the Chesapeake. Students also experience life as a waterman by setting crab pots, scraping the underwater grasses for soft crabs, and oystering. The goal is to show students the way of life in this community and understand that it is directly connected to the Bay’s health. 

Beyond its education program, the center adds to Tylerton in many ways. The economic impact of the center has been a boon to local people. The ferry is paid to take CBF students back and forth from the mainland to the island. Teachers may purchase part of their groceries for their trip from the Drum Point Market, the only store in the town. If they do not want to cook their own meal, teachers and students have the option of hiring Mary Ada Marshall to cater their meal with her famous baked rockfish or crab cakes, followed by a famous Smith Island layer cake.

CBF’s Smith Island Center also works to culturally enhance its neighborhood. Twice a year it hosts a Ladies’ Night where the hard-working women of the island can relax, swap stories, and eat together. In the spring it provides a chicken supper to accompany the annual Blessing of the Fleet, and in the fall it hosts the Pig Roast. The educators here have helped run the wintertime bingo series, hosted community clean-ups, and assisted families cleaning soft crabs for market. One educator even fell in love, got married, and stayed on the island after she left CBF. Needless to say, CBF has become an integral part of community life in the small town of Tylerton. 

DSC_0281After I finish pulling the pork and washing my hands, I grab my camera and walk outside to see the throngs of hungry residents preparing for the feast. Most are sitting in the sun, talking with friends old and new. As the educators walk out the door with trays of pork and oysters, I cannot help but wonder if CBF’s relationship with Smith Island is a prime microcosm for our role in the broader watershed. In the community, we are a full-blown partner and stalwart neighbor. We take care of our neighbors when trouble arises and work to improve our communities. We hope for a better future and work hard towards a better Bay. 

And now the lines form with our neighbors and friends. After a short prayer, the procession of eaters pass the table and pile on their vittles. The investments CBF has made in the community have been worthwhile, as evidenced by today’s gathering. The investments CBF is currently making in the watershed community will pay dividends in the future when we have a healthy, vibrant Chesapeake and educated future generations that will keep it that way. And that is something all of our neighbors can agree upon. 

—Adam Wickline

Read Parts One and Two of this "Notes from the Education Field" series.


Chesapeake News and Dos

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

Photo courtesy John Rodenhausen and Beth McGee/CBF Staff

This week in the Watershed: Bikes, Beaches, Turtles, and Teachers!  

  • Two Chesapeake Bay Foundation employees will finish their three-week circumnavigation of the watershed via bicycle today.
  • Maryland’s cover crop program set a record for the number of acres  enrolled in the state’s upcoming winter cover crop program to hold sediment and nutrients on the field. Gov. Martin O’Malley said this is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing pollution. (Baltimore Sun – MD)
  • The Baltimore Aquarium released three rescued Kemp’s ridley sea turtles back into the Bay. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the most endangered of all sea turtle species. (Baltimore Sun – MD)
  • Pennsylvania is mulling over the idea of allowing drilling under Pa. forest land. The head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development indicates state government could receive revenues of $60 billion in the next 30 years. (Pittsburg Post-Gazette - PA)
  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will reintroduce his septic tank ban for Maryland’s legislative session, which did not pass this year’s session. (WAMU – Washington, D.C.)
  • It is safe to return to the surf in Norfolk, where two beaches were closed on Tuesday due to elevated bacterial levels in the water. (Virginian-Pilot – VA)
  • Baltimore City teachers were out on a farm in Catonsville with the Chesapeake Classrooms program, learning how to incorporate the environment into their classrooms.  (ABC 2 News – MD)
  • The Washington Post Editorial Board opines about the high value of EPA’s “pollution diet” and reminds all that while the cleanup effort may be costly those costs must be measured against the Bay’s economic importance and even greater costs of continued inaction. (Washington Post – D.C.) 


Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities in the Bay

August 20 

  • Join the Cyclist for the Bay crew in Virginia as they complete a team ride in the area. They will start in Ashland, VA at 7 a.m.!
  • This weekend, volunteer oyster gardeners in Virginia will return their grown oysters and get a new batch of baby oysters (called “spat”) to grow for next year. To learn how to become an oyster gardener in Virginia and help Save the Bay, please visit our website. If you live in Maryland and want to be a gardener, go here

August 22


  • Become a watershed steward! Take part in a program that will teach you how to make a difference in your home and your community. On Monday at 6:30 p.m. in Millersville, MD, there will be informational session about this unique program.
  • Volunteers are needed for oyster shell shaking at CBF's Oyster Restoration Center on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Contact Carmera Thomas for details: 


August 25

  • Volunteers needed to help CBF pick up 1,200 bags of baby "spat" for our oyster gardening program in Cambridge, MD. Interested? Please contact Carmera Thomas for details:

September 17

  • Do you want to speak on behalf of the Bay? Do you enjoy talking to people and sharing your passion for our national treasure? Sign-up to become a CBF Speaker and Fairs and Festivals volunteer. This is a great way to teach the public about why it’s vital to care for the Chesapeake. Please see the event page for more details and to sign up! 

Adam Wickline


DSC_0341-1 Adam is the Community Building Manager of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He works to inform and engage people across the watershed to take part in Saving the Bay. If you have an upcoming Bay-related restoration event and you need volunteers, please let us know: awickline@cbf.orgDo you enjoy working with fellow Bay Lovers to help save the Chesapeake? Become a CBF Volunteer to receive notifications about upcoming volunteer opportunities.