Working Food and Farmscapes


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David Sweet

I have a suggestion for preserving marshy shorelines from erosion and re-establishing grass and their growing zones along such shorelines as are subjected to almost any amount of erosional damage.

I propose to use recyclable material that will by it's use stabalize, create and re-establish a medium sutable for growth and spread of marsh grasses, and which may have more sweeping uses if conjoined with other existing or developing systems geared to preserving the marshes of the Chesapeake Bay:

Old pound netting is long-lasting and durable, cheap (AND STRONG STILL) even after it is discarded. In it's application here it is VERY recyclable!

I have seen along the north (Gloucester County) shore of the York River the effects that old pound netting have had, once swept to the shore by some long ago violent storm. This net-covered marsh-sod line, fronting on an open stretch of river located at the Catlett Islands, is now held together with an oft-folded and piled pound-net. Tyhe net at once ties the entire line of marsh together in an interlaced mesh-net running though the soils and roots of the marsh. It's capacity to catch and hold organic debris washed through it and by it's capacity to promote new growth within it's sponge-like mesh, has stabaized the shoreline from the most severe effects of erosion...

My plan is to use the pound-netting by folding it over and over itself to create a series of mildly billowing 'piles of folded netting to catch and hold organic debris, and by the very nature of it's own man-made fibre, will additionally provide a stable medium for root developement, which in turn will add to the overall effectiveness of holding organic debris. There is a need to devise a means of holding the netting to the beach/marsh/etc while the initial stability of the system is somewhat vulnerable. It will be shown that within a year of it's application it will prove to be self-locking to the marsh-location it is applied. Newly established roots and debris filling the now sponge-like medium, and by the grasses growing through it will anchor it permanently.

I would propose that in some cases tires and/or rip-rap might be used in conjunction with this, and it would be worth the effort to research it's use with other systems and to combat other problems.

I will like to hear back from you about this, and any coments concerning it's application or uses.

Thank you,
David Sweet


Why are Farmers being coddled? If any Industrial business was causing as much pollution as Bay area Farmers they would be in jail!

The excuse that Farmers can't make a profit farming responsibly doesn't cut it.

Farmers can simply raise the price of their crops to meet expenses like any other business.

If consumers can find a better price elsewhere so be it.

If Farmers can't survive without subsidies they need to find another business.

If large farms can produce better and cheaper that's a good thing. The Free Market rewards inovation and technological advancements with profit.

If large farming operations have made the small ones obsolete that's business.

Should we be subsidizing carriage makers? The mass produced automobile made them obsolete. Fountain Pens put Quill Pen makers out of business and Ball Point Pen Makers in turn put Fountain Pen Makers out of business. That's business!

I used to live next door to a farm in Southern Maryland. The Farmer used to plow right up to the edge of the stream beds and insisted on plowing steep areas where the water carried sediments right into the stream. He related that he wanted to plant every inch. He was a wealthy man and could have easily afforded to leave a buffer here and there.

On the otherhand sediment control for construction and other industry is highly enforced with stiff penalties.

Walmart was forced to pay huge fines for minor sediment control violations related to the construction of some of its stores. Yet Farmers do the same thing everyday without consequence.

When I built my home I was required to surround it with sediment control fencing even though there was nowhere for sediment to run. Farmers disturb acres and acres of soil without an inch of silt fence being required. Not that I would require it. A buffer would be sufficient, but apparently that is either not required or enforced.

Many of these farms are on the Bay or on rivers going into the Bay. Waterfront property is worth a fortune these days and yet these Farmers have managed to cultivate the image that they are poor struggling people living hand to mouth. Farmers are Business Men like any other. Let them compete in the Free Market as such.


Dirck Bartlett

I do believe we could do more with shoreline buffers for farmers. The truth is, however, that a 100 foot buffer when applied from each mean high water mark, would make some fields totally off limits for farming. With many coves and an irregular shoreline, we would be hurrting the farmers in an unecessary way. The better approach is to insist on the buffers to be located on the lowest elevations of the property and not necessarily on a shoreline that does not slope to the river. A simple builders level or transet, can identify the lowest points on the property and it is those areas that need attention the most. CRP buffers work! I installed one and the water quality has improved to the point that I have SAV for the first time since the early 1970's. Concentrating on areas where the water flows in a heavy rain is better than just having a buffer around a shoreline where water does not always collect during a rain event.


The majority of the algae responsible for killing oysters, crab, fish and grasses in the Bay is the result of poor farming practices. Buffers as described by other posters can be implemented with little economic impact to the farmers. HOWEVER, I think the only way to get any action is for us ALL to write to our federal and state representatives, enact laws that have real enforcment provisions and substantial fines for non compliance.

Below are the Maryland Federal representative contact information as well as a partial list of our State representatives. If there is significant interest (please email me) I will compose a complete list of State Rep. email addresses...

Mikulski, Barbara A.- (D - MD) Class III
(202) 224-4654

Sarbanes, Paul S.- (D - MD) Class I
(202) 224-4524

House of Representatives:
District 01 (Kennedyville)
Wayne T. Gilchrest
Maryland-1st, Republican
2245 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2001
Phone: (202) 225-5311

District 02 (Cockeysville)
C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Maryland-2nd, Democrat
1630 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2002
Phone: (202) 225-3061

District 03 (Baltimore)
Benjamin L. Cardin
Maryland-3rd, Democrat
2207 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2003
Phone: (202) 225-4016

District 04 (Mitchellville)
Albert Russell Wynn
Maryland-4th, Democrat
434 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2004
Phone: (202) 225-8699

District 05 (Mechanicsville)
Steny H. Hoyer
Maryland-5th, Democrat
1705 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2005
Phone: (202) 225-4131

District 06 (Frederick)
Roscoe G. Bartlett
Maryland-6th, Republican
2412 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2006
Phone: (202) 225-2721

District 07 (Baltimore)
Elijah E. Cummings
Maryland-7th, Democrat
2235 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2007
Phone: (202) 225-4741

District 08 Kensington
Chris Van Hollen
Maryland-8th, Democrat
1419 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-2008
Phone: (202) 225-5341

State Representatives email addresses:

Delegate District 43: Curt Anderson

Senator District 30: John C.Astle

Delegate District 42: Susan L. M. Aumann,

Delegate District 39: Charles Barkley

Delegate District 4A: Joseph R. Bartlett

Delegate District 17: Kumar P. Barve

Delegate District 9A: Gail H. Bates

Delegate District 24: Joanne Benson

Delegate District 12B: Elizabeth Bobo
Email: Elizabeth.Bobo

District 29B: John Bohanan
Email: John.Bohanan@house.state.mdus

District 33A: Davide Boschert

District 8: Joseph Boteler

District 45: Talmadge Branch

District 4: David Brinkley

District 47: Gwendolyn Britt

District 42: Jim Brochin

District 8: Eric Bromwell

District 16: William Bronrott

District 25: Anthony Brown

District 10: Emmett Burns

District 30: Michael Busch
Email: Michael.Busch

District 31: Joan Cadden

District 37A: Rudolph Cane

District 11: Jon Cardin

District 41: Jill Carter

District 30: Virginia Clagett

District 3A: Galen Clagett

District 8: John Cluster

District 37: Richard Colburn

District 38B: Norman Conway

District 43: Joan Carter Conway

District 33B: Robert Costa

District 15: Jean Cryor

District 25: Ulysses Currie

District 45: Clarence Davis

District 25: Dereck Davis

chris oko-giglio

save the dolphins man, radical

Helen Loughrey

I have been concerned about the era of a post peak oil economy, which is approaching within my lifetime. This topic intersects with environmental ecology and community health. I am concerned especially about future local food security.

I am wondering how the CBF could help to foster a re-localization effort to encourage citizens to buy local food, to encourage local food producers to go organic, and to increase the local production of food overall by starting up community food gardens for schools and retirement communities and even neighborhood HOA's.

An economic re-localization effort would be a way both to educate the citizenry about the impact of sustainability on the health of the Chesapeake Bay and to help prepare the region for the time when it will have to provide its own food supply.

We need to develop a sustainable Chesapeake "Energy Descent Action Plan" for both the economy and the environment. A healthy Chesapeake Bay full of healthy fish will be crucial to our region's future ability to secure its food supply. Because of peak oil, this generation's life will literally depend on it.



Dick Bartelett wrote:
"The truth is, however, that a 100 foot buffer when applied from each mean high water mark, would make some fields totally off limits for farming. With many coves and an irregular shoreline, we would be hurrting the farmers in an unecessary way".

But is it OK to hurt people who want to use the same property for other purposes? It seems that farmers get a free pass while other business owners and property owners are treated as criminals. Take the Dobbins Island case as an example: From the pictures I have seen this property owner has done quite a bit to preserve the island and prevent errosion. Much more than most farmers and yet the CBF is doing their best to make an example of this person because he flaunted the CBF's authority. This is a prime example of an organization with good intentions that has gone off on a tyrannical Socialist power trip. I am not suggesting that the CBF and government do the same to Farmers, I am merely pointing out the hypocricy. I would rather see an individual's rights and his/her property rights respected. I would rather see the CBF use incentive rather than a hammer and sickle to enforce their goals. As an example: Who would buy tuna that couldn't claim "Dolphin Safe"? Who buys a lamp that isn't UL approved? The Free Market works if you let it. Let CBF endorse behavior and practices we appreciate rather than become tyrannical dictators with no respect for individuals and their property rights.


Charles Swigart

I am one of those local officials--a member of Borough Council in Huntingdon, PA which lies along the Juniata River.

I support the efforts to clean up the bay. But we are concerned that our small town is being asked to pay too high a price in this effort.

Will removal of nitrogen and phosphorus at sewage treatment plants result in a significant reduction in the loading of the Chesapeake Bay? Are not agricultural sources a bigger factor?

And if removal at point sources is important, why should not the cost of that removal be born by all citizens of Pennsylvania? It is interesting that the richest part of the state is not in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The burden is being placed on those least able to pay the cost.

bruce davis

All this talk of controlling nutrient runoff is fine and needs to be acted upon....however I do not understand why the state allows mollusk fishing to continue in the chesapeake with such completely decimated populations and horrible water quality. Why cant we declare the entire chesapeake north of the bridge to be a no-mollusk fishing zone. The skipjacks can go south into the area that flushes below Kent Island if they insist on pushing around for nothing. The recent false horse-mussel bloom in the upper bay which followed hurricane isabel proves that a modest increase in filtering mollusks has a huge effect on water quality....lets get this done.

ray coffey jr.


i have a design for a surfacewater filter/culvert made from used tires that i am willing to license to groups for free for a limited time. if anyone is interested please contact me, thanks for your time and kindness.

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