Posted on July 18, 2013 at 12:23 AM in Agriculture, Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, Clean Water Stories, Community, Conservation/Restoration, Maryland, Outreach, Pennsylvania, Polluted Runoff, Programs/Initiatives, Virginia, Volunteers, Water quality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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"I walked a jetty in Chesapeake Beach and picked up all this in 10 minutes. If we all did this once a month imagine the difference we could make. SAVE THE BAY!"
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!
After he passed away in 2011 at the age of 37, Danny's family and friends created the Daniel Bowles Memorial Foundation to raise money in support of causes that he believed in. As an avid crabber, fisherman, and boater, Danny had a special place in his heart for the Chesapeake Bay.
Recently, on what would have been Danny's 39th birthday, his friends and wife, Genine, visited CBF's Merrill Center to make a donation to CBF in his memory. The donation represented the proceeds from the highly successful Daniel Bowles Memorial Bull Roast held last October, which was attended by 150 of his closest friends and family. This annual event is just one way Danny's family is keeping his memory alive.
Memorial donations like these are vital to CBF's continued success in our efforts to save the Bay. If you would like to learn more about how you can memorialize a loved one with a gift to CBF, visit our website or call us at 410/268-8816 (or 888/SAVEBAY).
Located in South Central Pennsylvania across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg, Lemoyne—a borough of less than 5,000 people—is becoming a stormwater management leader and Shirley Stark is working to keep it that way.
With forward thinking council members, what started as a Downtown Revitalization back in 2006 has led to the construction of street berms containing rain gardens along the borough’s Market Street. The rain gardens capture polluted water running down the road, filter out litter and pollution, and let water infiltrate into the ground—instead of flowing untreated into the Susquehanna River.
Shirley Stark, a Lemoyne resident and CBF volunteer is leading a charge to raise public awareness about these rain gardens and to keep them maintained. A long-time native plant gardener and advocate, she first made the connection between native plants, rain gardens, and polluted urban water while making a video for the StormwaterPA website. Stark has always loved gardening, but was really motivated when she realized that gardening can help clean and protect our water.
Rain garden maintenance is critical because the native plants require different upkeep than most landscaping. If not properly maintained, then the rain gardens may not work efficiently. Unfortunately, Lemoyne was having difficulty training its staff to properly care for the rain gardens as well as paying for their upkeep. Knowing that long-term maintenance is critical to the success of the gardens, Stark organized a group of volunteers to maintain the Market Street rain gardens.
Thus far, Stark is finding success! In September, she organized a fall maintenance day with more than 60 volunteers who planted 300 plants and removed a truckload of weeds. She plans to have at least two maintenance events each year and potentially a third in the summer. Beyond maintenance, Stark is hoping to build public awareness of the Market Street rain gardens, stormwater pollution, and what people can do at home to improve water quality.
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:
My family only owns a small plot of land in a sub-division in a small Virginia town, but fortunately in that small plot we own the stream that runs through it. I've lived in the Chesapeake watershed my whole life, first in Pennsylvania and then in Virginia, all while owning a sailboat on the Patuxent River where I've spent every summer sailing up and down the Bay, my favorite place on Earth.
Knowing that our stream eventually drains into the Chesapeake, I do my best to take care of this little trickling of water. I find myself cleaning up trash from the road and along the banks on a regular basis, knowing this is just a little effort but doing it anyways. A drop in the bucket eventually leads to a full bucket!
—Julia Newbold, Purcellville, Virginia
Do you have a story about the river, creek, or Bay in your backyard? Tell us about the waters in your life and why they matter! Our rivers, streams, and Bay inspire and renew us. But some are against cleaning up our waters and the Chesapeake Bay. They say we can't afford clean water. But, your stories can help us show them they are wrong. Why are your waters important to you? Tell us YOUR story!
Two weeks ago, a group of dedicated Virginia Tech students chose to spend their spring break learning about and restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Below is an excerpt from their experience on a farm in the early part of their Alternative Spring Break adventure with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Some perceive the image of the Chesapeake Bay as a sun-tanned waterman hauling oysters and blue crabs into his boat as the sun peaks over the horizon. However, the Chesapeake Bay community extends beyond this common image. In fact, the community extends beyond the realm of saltwater and infiltrates into the areas of small freshwater streams. Many of which run through agricultural lands.
As new agricultural land is highly limited in availability, farms have increased intensive margins to meet growing food demand. Such efforts include increased fertilizers, pesticides, and technology. Streams that run through farms have been overloaded with excess nitrogen and phosphorous in recent decades. This excess produces abnormally large algal blooms, which ecosystems cannot compensate for. Once the blooms die, bacteria decompose them, using up a large percentage of dissolved oxygen. Thus, these nutrients are virtually “choking” the bay.
In order to understand these challenges, and how Best Management Practices (BMPs) offer solutions, students went to Frederick, MD to learn from CBF’s stream restoration biologist, Rob Schnabel. CBF helps organize farmers and educates them on BMP options available to them, such as the establishment of riparian buffer zones. Rob works to establish such practices with local farmers.
Rob had the students remove tree shelters from various red maples, tulip poplars, and river birches. The trees bioengineer a riparian buffer zone by absorbing and filtering excess nutrients from the farm as they pass into the local stream. Rob then gave a guided tour along the farm’s stream to discuss other BMPs and stream dynamics. Other practices include cover crops of nitrogen-fixing clover, rotational grazing, and well-structured fencing from streams.
Historically the Chesapeake Bay was assisted by extensive wetlands to filter such nutrients as they came from all over the watershed. Tragically, Maryland has lost more than 75 percent of wetlands, 90 percent of bay grasses, and 50 percent of forest buffers. Efforts to reestablish such natural filters are a necessity to bay quality.
Establishment of natural buffer zones, cover crops, nutrient management plans, and other pollution controls offer cost-effective methods to meet TMDL requirements. However, not enough producers have knowledge of such methods, or deter from them due to conflicting values. Organizations such as CBF play a key role in successfully working with producers of differing values so they may understand the economic, ecological, and social value of protecting water quality.
—John Haworth, Virginia Tech Student
It’s that time of year again…time to make your New Year’s Resolutions! (And hopefully this time, you’ll keep ’em!) Here are 5 resolutions we’re making to Save the Bay in 2012…won’t you join us?
I am an immigrant from China. The American dream and world-class education and research brought me here at the dawn of the new century. I spent most of my time in the U.S. in the greater Baltimore area, starting as a Ph.D student at Johns Hopkins. Before I came, I learned a bit about the city, including its glorious history as the dominant port in the new continent as well as its current problems.
However, that is not what impressed me when I first put my feet on American soil. What really struck me was how blue the sky is and how green the grass is. Later I found out many of my friends from China have the same feeling. Due to neck-breaking development over the last three decades, pollution has become a huge problem in China. Blue sky, clear water, and green grass are no longer the normal. That is actually one of the reasons that propelled me to come to the U.S. I have since then enjoyed the good environment we have here. But I never forget the environmental problems China faces.
To get a Ph.D from Johns Hopkins is never easy. Life as a new immigrant is equally tough, if not tougher, for the first few years. Now that I am kind of settled down, I am starting to think about it again and seeking opportunities on learning about how to tackle the environmental problem. I am grateful that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) gives me the opportunity. Through my volunteer services with CBF, I learned what kind of actions we can take as an individual and as a community to preserve and protect the precious environment we have.
I also learned that in the 1960s and 1970s, many areas in the U.S. faced similar environmental problems as China is facing today. Thanks to organizations like CBF and government agencies, we can enjoy a much better environment comparing with 40 or 50 years ago. It gives me hope. On the other hand, there is still a lot to do to make the environment better and closer to its undisturbed condition, or even simply prevent it from skipping back to worse conditions. As an immigrant settled down in the Chesapeake Bay area, it gives me another reason to get involved with CBF.
What if you had to save the Chesapeake Bay, and you had no money?
It's a fitting question in the depths of the Great Recession, as deficit hawk shrills throughout the land and governments across the watershed wonder how to afford the next round of Bay cleanup requirements.
Personally, I've been investing cheaply in a host of advanced green technologies: a clothesline in the backyard ($3) and a rainy day drying rack ($20) in the cellar; organic cooling systems, AKA trees, to shade the south and western sides of my house ($500); busting up half my driveway with a pickaxe ($27) to absorb stormwater runoff, planting it with more organic cooling systems.
I bought a small house near work and stores, saving energy, allowing bicycle to replace car most days. A smaller fridge is next as I now shop almost daily. I installed a super-quiet whole house fan ($900) for all the cooling I need most days; and heavily insulated the attic and crawl spaces ($800).
Had I sprung big bucks for Energy Star appliances, solar panels, geothermal heat pumps and an electric car, I'd have received tens of thousands in government subsidies. And in the end I wouldn't have been greener.
So I think it’s time we took a serious look at cheaper ways of getting to a better planet, of saving taxpayer dollars as we restore our environment.
Broadly, that would mean cutting government subsidies to polluting activities; and letting polluting activities reflect their full price.
If I’d bought a big house in a rural subdivision, for example, I’d have been awarded a bigger mortgage deduction, even as I drove more, used more open space, required more roads and polluted more on my septic tank than on a city treatment plant.
We give some $1 trillion annually in federal tax breaks to homeowners, a presidential fiscal reform commission reports. At state and local levels, taxpayers pay thousands a year for every home in a sprawl development to ease the real cost of roads, water and air pollution and the cost of services such as fire, police and utilities.
The extra gasoline such residents burn would cost maybe eight bucks a gallon if we removed government subsidies to oil companies—more than 12 bucks a gallon if, as some suggest, we include part of the defense budget for protecting foreign oil sources.
If gasoline fetched its true market price, there’d be far less need to subsidize electric cars—or mass transit, or bigger roads. No need either, to subsidize solar and wind energy as much if all our traditional energy sources operated without subsidies (like the taxpayer guarantees for part of the accident insurance on nuclear power plants).
Power companies could be rewarded for saving energy, not pushing more of it. At a hearing on a new, $1.4 billion power line I asked what if that money went instead for conservation, could we avoid the need for the line?
Their shareholders wouldn’t like that, a company spokesman said, as they make money based on how much energy they transmit.
Agriculture, the Bay’s biggest source of pollution, is underpinned by federal crop subsidies; at the very least, we’d save big time on cleanup costs if these were morphed into payments for reducing runoff.
Water quality would also benefit if poultry manure were made the responsibility of the big chicken producers nationwide—now it is "owned" by individual growers.
Popular but expensive open space protection programs are in part a price we pay for bad government land-use policies. A proposal by Maryland’s Governor O’Malley to cut state subsidies for schools, roads, and wastewater where counties allow sprawl development could save billions.
Other environmentally beneficial savings worth scrutinizing range from low-cost commuter tolls (a subsidy to sprawl), to flood insurance and beach replacement (subsidies to development, often in some of our most sensitive natural areas).
From the other side of the equation, government accounting for economic progress needs to start valuing the nature we lose as well as the development that replaces it. Current indicators like GDP (gross domestic product), add the value of a parking lot but don’t subtract the value of the forest it felled.
Some might see in the above a danger of slowing growth; but if something can’t pay its way financially, and further creates pollution that costs to clean up, why on earth would we want more of it?
I think the possibilities of saving the Bay cheaper are large, and the politics for doing it are right. The Bay watershed has two Congressmen on the 12 member "Supercommittee" charged with coming up with deficit reductions.
Who wants to convene a conference to see what we can do?
The above appeared in the Bay Journal News Service (http://www.bayjournalnewsservice.com/). Tom Horton covered the Bay for 33 years for The Sun in Baltimore, and is author of six books about the Chesapeake. Distributed by Bay Journal News Service.