What's Bill Seeing in the Field: Egret Colonies

For more than 30 years, CBF Educator and photographer Bill Portlock has been exploring, documenting, and teaching the wonders of the Chesapeake and its rivers and streams. With his vast, intimate knowledge and experience with the watershed, we thought who better to check in with about what he's seeing in the field right now . . . DSC_2980
The Great Egret is a large wading bird common to the Bay but residing largely along the Southeastern U.S. coast in winter. As spring arrives, they move north and west to begin building their stick nests in rookeries with other egrets and, often, with Great Blue Herons.

Earlier in April, near Blacksnake Island there were six pairs of Great Egrets and a single pair of smaller Snowy Egrets setting up housekeeping in a forest of loblolly pines and oaks in full flower. Their new nuptial plumes glowed in the afternoon light and waved in the 10-knot southeast wind. An osprey passing overhead got their attention but they remained in the canopy. There were nests to build and soon, eggs to incubate. An egret colony in its earliest, pre-nest stage: another sign of spring.

—Photographs and Text by Bill Portlock, CBF Senior Educator

What else is Bill seeing in the field these days? Click here to see.

DSC_3068

DSC_2791

DSC_3162


April Is Oyster Month!

OysterQuiz2016_500x261We all know oysters are awesome. They filter our water; they provide important habitat and protection from storms; and they are delicious.

So this month, just as we're launching into our oyster restoration season, we're celebrating everything there is to love about our favorite mollusk.

You can take part in the celebration by:

Whatever you chose to do, we hope you'll take some time this month to appreciate and give thanks to these brilliant bivalves! They truly are amazing.

—Emmy Nicklin
CBF's Senior Manager of Digital Media

 


What Did You Do on Your Spring Break?

IMG_8154
An unusual group of laborers could be seen bending and lifting in the distance on Paul Quick's farm in Union Bridge, Maryland. They were students from the University of Virginia, doing community service earlier this month as part of an Alternative Spring Break program.

While many of their classmates were still sleeping in, these 10 UVA students were working up a sweat as the sun rose and delivered unseasonably warm temperatures.

Each year at this time an inspired slice of students from many colleges commit to spending their spring break helping in the community in various ways. The UVA students volunteered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where they worked at the organization's Oyster Restoration Center and Clagett Farm for several days, and then one day to help Quick on his farm.

IMG_4651Quick decided several years ago to put his farm in a conservation easement, to honor his father-in-law's wishes that the old dairy farm not be developed. As part of the arrangement, Quick used federal funding to get 20 acres of trees planted along streams on the property. The trees help buffer the stream from possible polluted runoff from the corn and soy crops.

Those trees have now matured. The students' job was to cut off plastic sleeves called "shelters" that had protected the young trees from hungry deer. With about 7,300 trees needing this attention, it was a day of hard labor for students who may be more accustomed to a library or classroom.

The labor was equally strenuous earlier in the week at CBF's Oyster Restoration Center in Shady Side, Maryland, where the students cleaned debris off old oyster shells before planting them in restoration efforts. Those shells, which will be used to grow oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay, are heavy. The students had to use a simple device to lift a pallet full of shells above their heads and "shake" the pallet. It was hard work.

But the students said this was the way they preferred to spend their vacation: "It's worth it, but boy, it was a lot of work," said Maggie Daly, a Third-Year biochemistry student from Yorktown, Virginia.

IMG_4646"My shoulders will be sore tomorrow," said Sarah Overton, a First-Year student from Herndon, Virginia.

Daly said she considers herself "environmentally conscious" but wanted to put that ethic to work in the field so to speak. Overton said she felt the same, and also saw the program as a way to see another part of the region. She had always wanted to visit Annapolis, for instance.

Another student, Conner Roessler, a Fourth-Year from Midlothian, Virginia, was doing the program for the second year in a row.

For his part, farm owner Quick said he was glad for the help. He said the conservation easement required him to plant some trees to help buffer his farm streams, but he decided to plant far more.

The trees not only will help keep the streams clean, they also will provide habitat for deer and other wildlife which Quick enjoys.

Rob Schnabel, a CBF restoration scientist who worked with the students, said trees not only help prevent pollution and stream erosion, but also help cool the stream so trout and other aquatic life are more apt to survive. Unfortunately, Maryland is far behind in its goal to get the banks of farm streams planted with trees, he said.

—Tom Zolper
CBF's Assistant Director of Media Relations

Check out more photos of these inspiring students in the field.


Obama Keeps Virginia Coast Off Limits to Oil and Gas Drilling

Clouds_over_the_Atlantic_Ocean
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In a win for clean water and the Chesapeake Bay, last week the Obama Administration announced its decision to keep Virginia's coastline off limits to offshore oil and gas drilling. In recent years, officials have considered opening up the southern Atlantic coast to drilling, a move that has been supported by many of the governors and members of Congress in the region.

Luckily, it doesn't look like drilling will take place off of Virginia's coast anytime soon. While the U.S. Department of the Interior had included oil and gas leasing off Virginia in a draft proposal released early last year, in the updated five-year plan released this month the southeastern Atlantic coast remains closed to drilling. "When you factor in conflicts with national defense, economic activities such as fishing and tourism, and opposition from many local communities, it simply doesn't make sense to move forward with any lease sales in the coming five years," Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement.

Looming over any offshore drilling proposal is the potential for an accident that would result in environmental catastrophe. Remember the Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill of 2010, when more than a hundred million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and billions of dollars were spent on clean up? Imagine the devastation on the Atlantic Coast if a similar accident were to happen off Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay could suffer some of the very same impacts that plagued the Gulf area following the BP spill—oil-covered beaches, huge swaths of polluted water, and scores of dead and injured wildlife.

In fact, the waters off the mouth of the Bay are very similar to the Chesapeake itself both biologically and hydrologically. Just as science has shown the importance of healthy rivers and streams flowing into the Bay, science also tells us how important the ocean waters off the Bay's mouth are to the Bay system as a whole. The movement of clean salt water between the Atlantic and the Chesapeake is just as critical as taking care of the freshwater tributaries that feed the Bay.

After recent progress in bringing back oysters, underwater grasses, and cleaner and clearer water, drilling would add a new and dangerous threat to the health of the Bay. It's just not worth the risk. 

This goes even beyond potential environmental disasters. The Department of Defense and NASA have also raised concerns about the problems they would face from drilling off the Atlantic Coast. "The Navy and NASA have repeatedly said that Outer Continental Shelf drilling could significantly affect their abilities to carry out training and testing activities in support of America's national security and strategic interests," Virginia Congressmen Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott, and Don Beyer said in a letter to the Interior Department last year. The congressmen noted that nearly 80 percent of the proposed leasing area off Virginia's coast would interfere with U.S. Navy training and operations, according to a Defense Department report.

Celebrating the latest news, last week Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam emphasized the many economic dangers posed by drilling. The announcement "is a big win for Virginians," he said in a statement. He noted that "40 percent of Hampton Roads' economy is tied to defense-related activities. Tourism and aquaculture generate billions of dollars for the Commonwealth. We cannot afford to jeopardize these important industries that are all tied to the health of our coastal waters."

Here at CBF, Virginia Executive Director Rebecca LePrell applauded the decision against oil and gas drilling off the coast of Virginia, emphasizing that it is the right move for the Chesapeake. "The Bay is on a path toward recovery with the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint," she said. "The benefits from chasing petroleum resources on the Atlantic Coast do not justify risking what could be dire consequences for the ecology and economy of the Mid-Atlantic region."

—Kenny Fletcher, CBF's Virginia Communications Coordinator

This is a huge win for Virginia and for clean water. Click here to send a thank you to President Obama for making the right call.

 


What's Bill Seeing in the Field: A Sure Sign of Spring

For more than 30 years, CBF Educator and photographer Bill Portlock has been exploring, documenting, and teaching the wonders of the Chesapeake and its rivers and streams. With his vast, intimate knowledge and experience with the watershed, we thought who better to check in with about what he's seeing in the field right now . . .

Turtle3

I found this spotted turtle around 10 a.m. on March 17 resting on a bridge over the Mattaponi River in Caroline County. The sky was clear and the turtle appeared to be gathering warmth from the sun on the cement. Cold-blooded reptiles often regulate their body temperatures this way. However, he was in a precarious location with turtle speed no match for passing cars and trucks. So I stopped to help him to a safer place. I also had my camera with me. I knew it was an uncommon turtle and did not want to disturb him for long, nor certainly remove him from his territory, but did want to document the species in Caroline County as well as share another sure sign of spring with my friends: a turtle emerging from hibernation.

Turtle2The spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) is a relatively small, rare, omnivorous freshwater turtle of Eastern North America, with an adult's shell typically about five inches long. Its upper black shell is overlaid with an irregular, attractive pattern of yellow-orange spots that define the species. Males have brown eyes and a female's eyes are yellow. Males also have a concave plastron (under shell) whose shape is thought to facilitate mating. Spotted turtles seem to occur in small, localized populations with each having three to four different feeding territories—so they do move around. These turtles feed on algae and aquatic vegetation, insect larvae, worms, slugs, spiders, crustaceans, tadpoles, small fish—always eating in water. Males are actively looking for a mate right now, too.

Mid-March is the time spotted turtles emerge from winter sleep. From October to March they live underground and sometimes underwater, buried in mud Turtle4beneath muskrat lodges or sphagnum moss, with other spotted turtles in what is known as a hibernacula. They seem to have strong fidelity to these sites year after year. Surprisingly, they lose little body weight during these months of inactivity. Their peak time of activity is March through June, followed by summer inactivity. See below for more particulars on their habitat and biology.

Students on CBF education programs encounter species of aquatic turtles frequently. Red-bellied cooters, painted turtles, mud- and musk turtles, and even snapping turtles are common freshwater turtles. Spotted turtles are more rare and deserve our care and attention to making our watershed healthy by stopping polluted runoff. Just as with many other species, the presence of a spotted turtle is a welcome indicator of a healthy environment.

—Photographs and Text by Bill Portlock, CBF Senior Educator

Habitat
Spotted turtles prefer unpolluted, slow-moving, shallow waters of ponds, swamps, bogs, fens, marshes, vernal pools, and wet sedge meadows with a soft underlying bottom of mud. Sphagnum moss, sedge tussocks, cattails, water lilies, and hydrophilic ("water-loving") shrubs are important components of the preferred aquatic habitats used by spotted turtles. They travel over uplands, too, when seeking other aquatic feeding territories or as females look for suitable nest sites.

Biology
Spotted turtles aggregate in aquatic habitats in spring (usually in May) to mate. Nesting occurs from mid- to late June. Clutch sizes are usually 3-5 eggs. Most females do not produce eggs every year. The turtles reach sexual maturity when they are 11-15 years old. Summer dormancy, primarily in terrestrial sites, occasionally takes place from July through August and into September, after which turtles enter hibernation. These turtles live to at least 30 years old and can exceed 50 years.

Turtle1


Video of the Week: Why We Do What We Do

For nearly 50 years, we have fought vigilantly for healthy rivers, clean streams, and a restored Chesapeake Bay. Watch this video, courtesy of Discovery Communications, to see just how far we've come. And learn why saving the Bay and its rivers and streams is so important to the health of our economy, communities, and way of life both here and across the globe.

 

With your help, we can finish the job and show the world that we can restore a national treasure like the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Please help us spread the Save the Bay message to your friends and family on social media. And thank you for joining us in what is perhaps the most important clean water movement of our time. 

—Emmy Nicklin
CBF's Senior Manager of Digital Media

 


Approve Funding to Keep Virginia Waters Clean

The following first appeared in the Virginian-Pilot.

Polluted runoff-1200
Funding for Virginia stormwater grants might expire soon, leaving polluted runoff as a serious threat to the state's waters. Photo by Krista Schlyer/iLCP. .

We're fortunate in Hampton Roads to be surrounded by beautiful rivers, bays, and the Atlantic Ocean. Not only does all this water improve our quality of life, but it is also a huge driver for our economy.

Fishing, boating, water- sports, and beaches attract tourists, residents, and workers. All of it depends on clean water.

These waters have been damaged.

Every rainfall in Hampton Roads picks up pollution from our buildings, streets, and parking lots. This runoff washes a destructive mix of oil, fertilizers, pet waste, pesticides, dirt, and litter directly into local creeks and rivers.

The health of our waters suffers. High bacteria levels close beaches. Algae clouds our waterways, and summertime algal blooms deplete oxygen in the water and smother fish and other sea life. In some cases, these blooms can even pose risks to swimmers and those who eat shellfish.

Luckily, we know what needs to be done to restore our waterways, and Virginia has a cleanup plan in place.

In recent years the state has provided matching grants to local governments for implementing effective upgrades to stormwater systems, reducing polluted runoff. They include measures like bioretention ponds and stream and wetland restorations, projects that filter water and build resiliency in the face of recurrent flooding.

That work is far from finished, and we may soon be missing a crucial part of the solution. Right now the Virginia General Assembly is making budget decisions for the next two years, and as it stands, funding could very well dry up for state stormwater grants.

The introduced budget did not include any money for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, which has provided matching grants for local projects.

Legislators need to act in the coming weeks to make sure that the program remains strong. That's why they should support funding proposals currently being considered to provide $50 million for stormwater grants in each of the next two years.

It's even more critical for the six Hampton Roads cities, which this spring are slated to receive updated, more protective, federally required stormwater permits.

Those permits will mandate stormwater upgrades, potentially leading to big financial challenges for local governments. State matching grants have been available to assist with this work, but if legislators decline to replenish the funding in the coming weeks, cities in Hampton Roads and elsewhere will be left on their own.

No region in Virginia stands to benefit more from this program than Hampton Roads. At the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, this region has to deal with our own pollution and whatever comes downstream from elsewhere. It's just common sense that Hampton Roads legislators would back statewide stormwater funding.

Other Virginia programs have also made progress in improving water quality. Farmers are reducing agricultural pollution. The modernization of wastewater treatment plants is greatly reducing pollution in Virginia's rivers.

But efforts to reduce pollution from urban areas is woefully behind. In fact, stormwater is the only major source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay that has actually increased in recent years.

Polluted runoff is a difficult problem, but one with known solutions.

Robust support for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund will help Virginians in Hampton Roads and across the commonwealth to enjoy the benefits of clean water.

—Christy Everett, CBF's Hampton Roads Director


Restoring Virginia's Waterways Depends on Support This GA Session

The following first appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

James-river-1200
The James River and other Virginia waterways have improved, but funding is still needed for Virginia to meet its clean water commitments. Photo by Jillian Chilson.

As Virginians, we have much to be thankful for these days when it comes to the Chesapeake Bay and our rivers that feed it. We've witnessed the return of underwater grasses in some areas of the James River, the resurgence of our iconic Chesapeake oyster industry in many Virginia tributaries, and the arrival of surprisingly clear water in the bay just last fall.

But thousands of miles of our rivers and streams are still damaged by pollution and listed as impaired waters by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

With the General Assembly now in full swing, the commonwealth's legislators should fully fund the clean water projects that will continue the encouraging improvements we've seen.

Restoring Virginia's waters is the right thing to do. A federal-state partnership has developed the Clean Water Blueprint to clean up the region's waterways, and Virginia is making steady progress toward meeting its goals.

Programs underway across the state are helping Virginia meet its commitments to cleaner water. In Richmond and other urban and suburban areas, localities are better controlling polluted runoff washing off hard surfaces such as streets, parking lots and sidewalks. In a long-term successful program, Virginia's sewage treatment plants are installing technologies that ensure cleaner water in local rivers. In rural parts of the commonwealth, farmers are putting practices on the ground that keep pollution out of waterways.

All of these projects desperately depend on state dollars for success. It's a wise investment, given that the cost of implementing the Clean Water Blueprint is estimated to come back fourfold in economic benefits. In fact, Virginia stands to see an $8.3 billion increase annually in economic value from taking the actions necessary to restore water quality, according to a peer-reviewed report commissioned by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Cleaner waterways boost our economy through recreation, tourism, commercial fishing, higher property values, and better quality of life. Here in Richmond, we're starting to reap the rewards of a significantly restored James River—once closed down due to kepone and other pollutants and now the city's most popular attraction. Our river has become a mecca for boaters, hikers, paddlers, and fishermen; festivals are celebrated all summer along its banks; and the James is the focus of commercial and residential redevelopment projects.

This General Assembly session, Virginia's legislators are considering budget proposals to fund programs that will make a big difference. For example, some of the most cost-efficient steps to restore waterways are farm conservation practices like fencing cattle out of waterways, and planting waterside trees and cover crops. Farmers have been eager to do their share, with so many signing up for a state cost-share program to keep cattle from streams that there's now a hefty backlog in funding. Nearly 1,200 stream-fencing applications are still pending, according to recent numbers by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

We can't let these farmers down. Addressing this backlog will spread proven farm practices and help Virginia meet water quality goals. Legislators should approve budget amendments introduced by Sen. Lynwood Lewis and Del. Michael Webert that would increase funding for farm conservation practices to a total of $82.6 million next fiscal year and $86 million the following year.

State funding can also help localities make long-needed upgrades to reduce pollution from urban and suburban runoff. The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund provides matching grants to localities for effective, shovel-ready projects. This program needs $50 million annually, as reported by the coalition of businesses and conservation organizations VirginiaForever. Accordingly, the General Assembly should adopt budget proposals for stormwater funding offered by Sen. Emmett Hanger and Dels. Steven Landes and Alfonso Lopez.

Sewage plant upgrades are another potential success story. While the installation of new technology has helped wastewater treatment plants prevent untreated sewage and other harmful pollutants from entering our waterways, the modernization process isn't finished yet. To ensure that this vital work is completed, legislators should support the $59 million for wastewater treatment plant upgrades proposed by the governor and included in bills introduced by Hanger and Landes.

Our rivers, our streams, and the bay are a key part of our culture; they provide recreation and water to drink, and they boost the economy. Please ask your legislator to support full funding for Virginia's clean water programs. The health of the James River and the Chesapeake Bay depends on it.

—Rebecca LePrell, CBF Virginia Executive Director


Greening Up Virginia's Eastern Shore Homes

063

In the small bayside town of Harborton, Sue and Bill Mastyl's home stands as a reminder that green home features are not only good for the environment, but also good for your wallet. For example, when they installed a solar power system and new hot water heater in 2009 they got back a whopping 50 percent of the cost through a combination of federal and state tax credits. They also got tax credits when they installed a new geothermal heat pump a few years ago.

Running energy-efficient systems that rely mainly on solar power, the couple's electricity bill adds up to only about eight dollars in an average month. When you factor in the quarterly renewable energy credits they get, by the end of the year they sometimes even end up making money!

"People think that things like solar and geothermal can only be done when you build new, so I'm constantly trying to reinforce that they can be added very easily to any type of building, as long as you have the right location," says Sue Mastyl. "I also try to emphasize that low-hanging fruit like energy-efficient windows, weather stripping, insulation, energy-efficient appliances, turning down the thermostat, remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room—all of this can have a huge impact."

Home improvement tax credits are available for all types of projects, from boosting insulation to adding high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. It's worth checking out if a renovation qualifies next time you undertake projects around the house.

In addition to these credits, "energy-efficient mortgages" let homeowners borrow money for improvements. These loans can cover more pricey upgrades that otherwise might not be affordable, like installing double-pane windows or HVAC upgrades. Since heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy used in the average American home, these investments will help you stay comfortable and save money in the long run.

Janet and Haydon Rochester never thought their 1907 Onancock home would be the focus of so much local buzz when they started renovations a year ago. Their traditional Eastern Shore house is in the process of undergoing a complete renewal with an emphasis on energy-saving upgrades. 

While from the exterior the Rochester place looks like a traditional Eastern Shore house, numerous subtle upgrades have made the dwelling much more energy efficient. Many are simple improvements that have made a big difference in cutting down on heating and cooling costs. Windows are all double glazed and coated to reject heat, while the roof is a highly reflective material that keeps the house cooler during the summer. Beefed up insulation, along with aggressively sealing and caulking all cracks, has also made a big dent in energy loss. Low water toilets and shower heads add up to savings in the water bill. Interestingly, these renovations have actually enhanced the traditional character of an older home.

Of course, there are plenty of other benefits to undertaking energy-efficient upgrades. First and foremost, they lead to cleaner air and water for all of us. Using less energy at home often means burning less gas, coal, or oil. Burning those fossil fuels produces pollution that not only contaminates the air, but as a result of rain storms also ends up in local rivers, creeks, and the Chesapeake Bay. Cutting down on energy usage can mean a reduction of nitrogen oxides in our air, which are a significant source of nitrogen entering the Chesapeake. 

So by undertaking these upgrades you both help improve the environment and support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the plan in place to clean up the Bay.

The greening of towns up and down the Shore now has a new meaning—people are increasingly integrating green-building design elements into their homes and recognizing their personal impact on our environment. 

—Tatum Ford, CBF's Virginia Eastern Shore Outreach Coordinator


This Week in the Watershed

Md-va-state capitols
This week the Legislative Sessions opened in Annapolis, Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia. Photos by Nikki Davis and Chuck Epes.

With the turning of the calendar to a new year comes new Legislative Sessions in two of the main Bay statesMaryland and Virginia. The outcomes of Maryland's 90-day session and Virginia's 60-day session will have a major impact on the Chesapeake Bay and each state's rivers and streams. Here at CBF, with the support of our members, we have several important priorities to advance.

In Maryland, CBF's top priority will be asking legislators to make big chicken corporations responsible for the excess manure their chickens produce. These corporations making big profits need to do their part to clean up the excess manure—instead of leaving small local farmers and Maryland taxpayers holding the (poop) bag. Some of our other priorities include working to ban plastic bags at retail stores, stopping unfair raids on funds for environmental programs that support the Clean Water Blueprint, and supporting efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Click here for a complete Maryland Legislative Session preview.

In Virginia, many of our priorities involve ensuring there is proper funding in place to implement best management practices to reduce pollution. These include supporting state funding for conservation practices to reduce pollution from farms, and increasing funding for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund. In addition to funding efforts, some of our other priorities include moving menhaden management from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, supporting upgrades at wastewater treatment plants, and advancing oyster restoration and expanding sustainable oyster harvests. Click here for a complete Virginia Legislative Session preview.

Not to be forgotten, while Pennsylvania's Legislature meets on a year-round cycle, we are still hard at work fighting for clean water in the Keystone State. Our top current priority is pushing for the promised "reboot" of water quality efforts which will accelerate pollution reductions to the level that will get Pennsylvania back on track. Other efforts include working with farmers to reduce pollution, advocating for adequate funding for restoration efforts, and pushing for the Lower Susquehanna River to be listed as impaired.

No matter where you live in the watershed, we'll need your support for the elected leaders of your state to uphold their commitment to clean water in the Bay and local waterways. Stay tuned for important updates and calls to action in the coming weeks.

This Week in the Watershed: Legislative Sessions, Oyster Uproar, and Coal Ash

  • Despite uproar from hundreds of local citizens, Virginia's State Water Control Board approved permits for Dominion Virginia Power to dump drain water from coal ash ponds into the James and Potomac Rivers. (Roanoke Times—VA)
  • A coalition of environmental groups are coming together in support of a Maryland bill that will require large poultry companies to take responsibility for the manure their chickens produce. (WGMD—MD) Bonus: CBF Press Release.
  • There is still major concern among the environmental community regarding the decision by the Hogan Administration to delay oyster restoration efforts on the Tred Avon River. (Baltimore Sun—MD) Bonus: Bay Journal recap of the Tred Avon oyster restoration delay.
  • Menhaden will be a central topic in the upcoming Virginia Legislative Session, along with several other environmental issues. (Virginian-Pilot—VA)
  • CBF is lending a hand in the development of an artificial reef in Smoots Bay, off the Potomac River. Reef balls will be the building blocks for the reef. (ABC News WMARMD)
  • Nutrient trading is a new concept in the world of Maryland agriculture. Time will tell how effective it is in reducing pollution. (Star Democrat—MD)
  • With the Maryland Legislative Session now upon us, what's on the wish list of several environmental organizations? (Star Democrat—MD)

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

January 14-16

  • College Park, MD: Join Future Harvest CASA for their 17th annual Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed conference. One of the region's largest farm and food gatherings, you'll be able to experience seven different conference tracks, interact with other farmers and food lovers, and enjoy local fare. Click here to register!

January 16-February 6

  • Across Virginia: Help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's rivers by participating in CBF's Grasses for the Masses program. Participants grow wild celery, a type of underwater grass, in their homes for 10-12 weeks. After 10-12 weeks of growing, participants will gather to plant their grasses in select local rivers to bolster grass populations and help restore the Bay. Workshops are being held throughout Virginia. Click here to find one near you!

—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate