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February 2014
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April 2014

Photo of the Week: Skipjack Color

Skpjk-Ellsworth.S-BlakelyLightboards and rigging, Skipjack Ellsworth, Chestertown, MD. Photo by Steve Blakely.  

No boat defines the Chesapeake Bay like the skipjack—a vessel that's more endangered now than the oysters it used to harvest. What you miss in those beautiful black-and-white period photographs is just how much color a skipjack can have!

—Steve Blakely

Ensure that Steve and future generations continue to enjoy extraordinary sights like these. Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint! 

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], 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!

Clean Water Worth Working For

Photo by Chris Tanner.

The following first appeared in The Frederick-News Post yesterday. 

We applaud the city of Frederick for taking the next step to reduce the messy problem of pet waste (“Frederick accepts grant to combat pet waste,” March 22). We also thank the more than 100 city residents who already have taken the city’s “Scoop the Poop, Don’t Pollute” pledge.

It is heartening to see local governments and citizens taking such initiative. Innovation and cooperation are critical as we all do our part to clean up local creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

While some might smirk at a government program targeting dog piles, the potential for cleaner local water is substantial. Pet waste is responsible for about a quarter of the fecal bacteria pollution in streams in the Lower Monocacy River watershed, of sources scientists can identify. Rain washes the waste into local streams. Waste from livestock, wild animals and humans also gets into the water.

Such bacteria pollution is troubling. A 2009 study by the Maryland Department of the Environment found bacteria readings in the 314-square-mile Lower Monocacy watershed as much as 23 times higher than safety limits for swimming during the warmer months. That’s more like toilet water than a natural stream.

We believe a well-designed program to reduce pet waste can be one tool in the toolbox for reducing such local water pollution—and improving public health.  

The city’s program could also help dispel the myth that clean water is too expensive to achieve. Educating the public to pick up after their pets, and providing bags and receptacles to help that effort, can be relatively inexpensive.

There’s no guarantee the doggie cleanup program will succeed. Changing public behavior is not easy. Surveys have found a great many dog walkers simply refuse to pick up after themselves for a variety of reasons.

But it’s worth the effort. Other towns and counties around the region are launching similar efforts, not only to reduce pet waste, but to clean their streams through other innovative strategies.

We’ll never succeed if we don’t try. This is our moment in time to finally clean up our streams, or write them off forever. Our children and grandchildren will thank us for the effort.

—Alison Prost, CBF's Maryland Executive Director

Urge your state legislators to stay strong on stormwater fees!

Photo of the Week: Life, Love, and Relaxation on the Bay

10150075_10202863940071947_1509367585_nLast Friday's sunrise from Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Photo by Mike Fisher.

For my wife and I, the Chesapeake Bay is a source of Life, Love, and Relaxation. Whether it be boating and fishing on the Bay, canoeing its tributaries, searching for shark teeth along the cliffs in Calvert or just walking along the shore, there is no place we would rather be than home on the Chesapeake Bay!

Mike Fisher

Ensure that Mike and future generations continue to enjoy extraordinary sights like these. Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint! 

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], 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!

They're on Their Way!

Osprey-Tracking-Banner-940x320-compressedClick here to learn more about our osprey tracking project, and watch as osprey Woody, Tango, Quinn, and Nick take flight!

It's been a long, cold winter, but we're excited to say spring is on the way! Thanks to our new osprey tracking project, we've just received word that two of the four osprey we've been tracking have left the sunny shores of Cuba and Colombia, where they've been wintering, and are now on their way back home to the Chesapeake!

Click here to see for yourself as osprey Nick and Quinn make their way back home. 

Every March, these quintessential Chesapeake birds return to the same nest, where they reunite with their mate, breed, and fish for menhaden. Soon their young will begin to hatch, grow, and fledge, before departing for warmer climes late in the summer. 

Thanks to the conservation-minded folks at Microwave Telemetry, Inc. (MTI), we've been able to track four particular osprey—Woody, Tango, Quinn, and Nick—who spend their spring and summer near our Arthur Sherwood and Port Isobel Island Education Centers for our students to see and study.

Often called the "osprey garden," the Chesapeake Bay has the most concentrated population of osprey in the world. It won't be long now before the familiar cheep-cheep-cheep and majestic dives return to our waters. Simply put, we can't wait.

Safe travels, Woody, Tango, Quinn, and Nick!

—Emmy Nicklin
CBF's E-Communications Manager

Report Released on Interfaith Summit


Participants in CBF's Living Waters Interfaith Summit brought samples of water from their part of the watershed to combine in this vessel. (Whitney Pipkin/Chesapeake Bay Journal)

The following first appeared in Bay Journal earlier this month.

The daylong event in November drew more than 130 people, including Bay Journal staff member Whitney Pipkin, from a variety of faith backgrounds and environmental groups to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden near Richmond, VA. It kicked off with a drum circle and ended, after much discussion, with a woman nearly in tears about what it meant to know she was “not alone” in her 40-year pursuit of faith-based environmental stewardship.

One of the event’s goals was to assemble a steering committee to carry on the conversation between faith-based and environmental groups. That steering committee now has 16 members from a wide range of church groups and organizations.

The nearly 60-page report also includes the full results of instant polls that took place at the conference with the help of electronic clickers. Attendees were asked questions about why they came and whether they identified with a certain faith tradition.

The full report is in some ways a template for interested parties to replicate the event on a local level, which was one of the most popular ideas at the conference. The report includes an itinerary from the event and lyrics to religious, water-oriented songs that were sung.

For those who weren’t able to attend the event, the report summarizes at length the panel discussions and presentations that took place in November. Among the most popular was a presentation by pastor and farmer Shelton Miles on “Theological Reflections from the Tractor Seat” (included on pages 12 and 13 of the report).

The report also summarizes the most popular ideas that were floated during an Open Space exercise in the afternoon of the conference. Participants split into various topic discussions throughout the building to begin jotting down faith-oriented solutions for some of the Chesapeake Bay’s most vexing problems.

Participants zeroed in on 18 different topics to help organize a faith-based effort to protect local waters, including efforts to mobilize leaders and share best practices across organizations.

The Living Waters steering committee will convene at the end of this year to discuss the outcomes of the summit and what might be next for ongoing faith-oriented efforts in the watershed.

The full report can be downloaded from CBF’s website. ​

Whitney Pipkin

Photo of the Week: Blackwater Snow


Photographer Neil Dampier captured this quiet scene of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge caked with snow on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Ensure that Neil and future generations continue to enjoy extraordinary sights like these. Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint! 

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], 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!

The Farm Bureau Had It Wrong on Chesapeake Bay Clean-Up

Rockville Bridge Susquehanna river Harrisburg PA
Rockville Bridge, Susquehanna river, Harrisburg, PA. Photo by Miguel Angel de la Cueva/iLCP.

The following op-ed first appeared in The Patriot-News earlier this week.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau makes the case in its recent op-ed (Pa. Farm Bureau wants court protection from EPA 'sledgehammer': As I See It, Patriot News, Feb. 25), that the EPA has over-reached its authority. 

Acknowledging that EPA has the authority to set pollution limits, it goes on to say, "But we object to the notion that a TMDL gives EPA free reign over what state and local governments must do, how much they must do, and when they must do it."

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation respectfully disagrees with the Farm Bureau and agrees with the Patriot News editorial board (Distant states' governors should nose out of Pa's anti-pollution effort: Editorial, Feb. 10).

A little background. After years of failed agreements and several lawsuits to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and the rivers and streams that feed it, the Bay states asked EPA to develop what's called a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL

The TMDL sets the maximum pollution that rivers and the Bay can withstand and still be healthy. The states then worked with EPA to assess how much pollution each state needs to reduce.

Knowing the numbers of pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution that needed to be reduced to meet the TMDL, each state developed its own plan for how it could achieve the reductions. The choices were made by the states, based on how each state thought the reductions could best be achieved. All EPA did was supply the pounds that the state must reduce and require that the plans demonstrate reasonable assurance that they could succeed.

And it is working. Together the pollution limits, clean-up plans, and two-year milestones each state sets to track its progress are a Clean Water Blueprint that is being implemented across the region.

Farmers in Pennsylvania are making common-sense changes to their farms that benefit both their bottom line and their local stream. 

By doing things like planting cover crops on fields during the fall and winter, which preserve fertile soils from erosion or planting a buffer of trees to protect streams, they are showing that protecting water quality and farming can go hand in hand.

Communities like Lancaster City and a number of municipalities led by the York County Planning Department are looking at their communities differently and finding opportunities to reduce polluted runoff in ways that make their community more livable and ultimately help clean up the Susquehanna River.

EPA is not "micromanaging" activities in the watershed. Rather, Pennsylvania is implementing the plan the Commonwealth developed and there is nothing in the TMDL that dictates where farming may occur or where homes can be built.

In 2011, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau joined the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural interests, like the Fertilizer Institute and the National Pork Producers Association, and sued EPA in federal court in Harrisburg. They questioned the science, claimed EPA over-reach, and suggested insufficient opportunity for public comment.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and others joined the suit on EPA's side and argued the case in front of federal Judge Sylvia Rambo. In her exhaustive, 98-page opinion she dismissed all of the Farm Bureau's claims. In fact, she held up the process the states and EPA used as an example of the "cooperative federalism" that the Clean Water Act intended.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has joined an appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, and recently 21 state attorneys general and eight counties (five in Pennsylvania) filed "friend of the court" briefs in support of the appeal

In their brief, the states raise the concern that if the Blueprint is not stopped, similar clean-up plans might occur in the states that drain into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.

In their op-ed, the PA Farm Bureau highlighted those counties support as bolstering their case. They did not mention that among those supporting EPA is the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association, representing 700 municipal authorities across the state.

This is a very exciting time for those of us who value clean water. Progress is being made, pollution is being reduced, and jobs are being created to achieve the clean-water goals. 

We are confident that Judge Rambo's decision will be upheld and that we will be able to leave a legacy of clean rivers and streams to our children and future generations.

—Kim Coble
Vice President of Environmental Protection and Restoration, 
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Click here to sign our petition to stand up for clean water!

Save the Bay Photo Contest Now Open!

2014PhotoContestBanner_458x232If you've got an eye for Bay beauty, then we've got a contest for you!

Our 2014 Photo Contest is now open to both amateur and professional photographers. We want to see your vision of the Chesapeake watershed—from Pennsylvania to Virginia, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Eastern Shore. All photos must include water from the Chesapeake Bay or river or stream within the Bay watershed. 

Click here to submit your photo and enter to win a prize!

A panel of CBF employees will judge entries on subject matter, composition, focus, lighting, uniqueness, and impact. The public will also have the opportunity to vote online for their favorite photo in the Viewers' Choice Gallery. Winners receive cash prizes!

  • First Prize: $500
  • Second Prize: $250
  • Third Prize: $150
  • Viewers' Choice: $100 

All winners will also receive a one-year CBF membership and will have their photos displayed on CBF's website, in CBF's e-newsletters, and in CBF's Save the Bay magazine. (The first-prize photo will be featured in CBF's 2015 calendar.) All winners will be notified of the outcome, and their images will be posted on the CBF website by May 30, 2014.

So channel your inner Ansel Adams and submit your Chesapeake photos here! But hurry, the submission deadline is April 11.

We look forward to seeing your pictures!

—Jen Wallace, CBF's Managing Editor