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February 2016
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April 2016

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

 


Help! Looking for Maryland Streams to Conduct Bacteria Testing

Kilgore FallsKnow of any local swimming holes? Or local streams where people wade, fish, or just cool their heels on a hot summer day? We're looking for sites to conduct water tests this coming summer in Frederick, Howard, Harford, and Baltimore Counties (potentially Carroll County, too) as well as Baltimore City. And we'd love to get your ideas for the best sites to sample!

We are focusing on freshwater streams, rivers, and ponds in those areas where people recreate. If you know of a place where there's a tire swing, or where kids regularly look for salamanders or frogs, or just dip their toes, please e-mail CBF's Tom Zolper at tzolper@cbf.org.

We are particularly interested in sites that perhaps only locals know about. These sites aren't public beaches, just treasured local places to enjoy a freshwater stream or river. A site might even be a small stream running through a neighborhood. We want places that people appreciate—if only for their gurgling reminder of nature in the middle of suburbia.

We are testing for the impact of polluted runoff on local streams and ponds. Polluted runoff is rain that becomes contaminated by dog poop, farm manure, weed killer, or other pollution as it runs off the landscape. In our debut testing program last summer we found some sites had bacteria levels as much as 200 times higher that of safety limits set by the federal government. One popular swimming hole had dangerous bacteria levels even two days after a heavy summer downpour—yet people were still swimming!

Testing at Kilgore FallsThis summer we want to dig a little deeper into this problem, to alert the public, and local governments when appropriate. But we need your help finding test sites. The results will mean more to the public if we test water spots used for recreation.

If you are interested in volunteering to help us take water samples, let us know that, too. We want to test within 24 hours of when big rainstorms happen, so your schedule has to be a little flexible. We will provide training and materials.

Again, please e-mail tzolper@cbf.org if you have interest in any of the above. Thanks in advance for your help!

—Tom Zolper
CBF's Assistant Director of Media Relations

 


The Start of an Island Season

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We're THIS excited about our spring education season to start! Will you join us? Photo by CBF Staff.

As songbirds begin to chirp at sunrise and daylight stretches longer into the evenings, CBF environmental educators flock back to the Chesapeake Bay for the start of another season. Winter is fading and it is time to pull out nets and spring mud boots.

The start of the spring season as a CBF island program educator brings feelings of excitement and eagerness at the thought of a new, fresh season filled with students traipsing through the black needle rush in the marsh, crab pots brimming with feisty blue crabs, and silent sunrises over the awakening Bay. However, before any of these adventures can be had, staff must prepare the boats, education centers, and grounds for the consistent flow of students and teachers that will soon be arriving.

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Our lonely Fox Island Education Center eagerly awaits the start of season. Photo by CBF Staff.

The fleet of Chesapeake Bay deadrise boats and unique jet drive boats have been pulled out of the water for the winter to allow captains and crew to spruce up paint jobs, perform regular maintenance, and complete any big projects that time won't allow for once the regular season gets rolling. The houses and buildings have to be awakened with a deep cleaning after their long winter naps. Heat and water gets turned on, and the buildings creak back to life. Mops, brooms, and vacuums stay busy in educators' hands. The tractor grumbles across Port Isobel's soggy ground as it pushes dirt into holes that high winter tides have carved out. Fresh grass seed is scattered over bare patches of earth with hopes that the brackish Bay water will stay back and allow grass to grow.

Educators convene at island team meetings to share ideas for how to keep student field investigations fresh, active, hands-on, and engaging. Staff brainstorm ways to include and integrate new information on current events and Bay topics, such as addressing agriculture's role in curbing nutrient pollution and effects of climate change that the islands see firsthand. The plans for land and water experiences evoke a sense of learning, wonder, and connectedness with the Bay for both CBF educators and the students who will arrive this month.

Long, busy days of preparation are tackled with excited energy as a spirit of newness and eagerness hangs in the air over the four island education centers. A walk down the weathered, wooden dock includes observations of how different this quiet scene will be in just a few short weeks. Soon students will be scattered across the dock, some shrieking with excitement as they catch and release their first rockfish and others working together to pull up an old crab pot that is covered with sea squirts, skillet fish, and blue crabs. At another end of the dock, an educator may be showing students how gobies have adapted to life on an oyster reef by not having any scales. Learning, exploration, and discovery will soon enough be back on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay at CBF island centers, and we can hardly wait.

—Brooke Reynolds
CBF's Smith Island Manager


Photo of the Week: Full Moon Rising

Michael Klise

I shot this at the rising of the November 2015 full moon over the Choptank River. The geese just happened by!

As for what the Bay means to me: Here in Cambridge, the Choptank flows with the tides and gives us sights like this if you're lucky enough to be there at the right time—in my case, the full moon last Thanksgiving.

—J. Michael Klise

Ensure that Michael and future generations continue to enjoy extraordinary places like these along the Chesapeake. Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint—the plan to Save the Bay! 

Do you have a favorite Chesapeake photo you'd like to submit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Photo of the Week contest? Send your digital images to CBF's Senior Manager of Digital Media, 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!


This Week in the Watershed

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The United States Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint Monday by denying to hear an appeal brought by a group of industry special interests led by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Photo courtesy iStock.

This week, the Bay claimed a victory over thirty years in the making. Bay state governors and the EPA administrator first agreed on plans to clean up the Bay in 1983.  However, decades of unmet promises and increasingly dirty waters led to the development of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint in 2010. This established a framework by which the states and EPA worked cooperatively to identify science-based limits on the pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Subsequently, each state developed its own plan to achieve those limits and committed to two-year milestones that outline the actions they will take to achieve those limits. Most importantly, EPA promised consequences for failure. Finally, the fight for clean water had some teeth. Shortly thereafter however, powerful special interests 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. After the legality of the Blueprint was upheld in federal District Court, the decision was appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals where the three-judge panel unanimously affirmed the lower court ruling. The Farm Bureau then appealed the decision to the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court. Monday, the Supreme Court denied the Farm Bureau's request to hear the case, thereby allowing the ruling of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to stand.

The fight is finally over. As Jon Mueller, CBF Vice President for Litigation, said, "For five years we have fought in the courts to defend a commonsense solution to reducing pollution, a solution borne of a cooperative relationship between the states, the federal government, and the citizens of the Bay Region. Today, that fight has ended. Now, we can all lay down the law books and focus on the hard work of restoring the Bay to a healthy and vibrant state." A pause for celebration has passed, and we are left with the reality that the success of the Blueprint—the Bay's best, and perhaps last chance, for real restoration—now depends entirely on it's implementation. We will build upon the framework of the Blueprint, and not cease in our efforts until the Bay, a true national treasure, is saved.

This Week in the Watershed: A Historic Victory for the Bay

  • Be sure to check out this editorial in support of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the legality of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. (Virginian Pilot—VA)
  • Many news outlets covered the Supreme Court decision: Baltimore SunMD; Patriot NewsPA; Capital GazetteMD; Bay Journal; ThinkProgress; Richmond Times-DispatchVA; Daily PressMD; Washington Post—D.C.; York DispatchPA.
  • The momentous news of the week: the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint by rejecting to hear an appeal by the American Farm Bureau Federation and a group of other special interests. (CBF Press Release)
  • Pennsylvania released a plan to "reboot" its efforts in cleaning their rivers and streams. The reboot however is endanger of not receiving adequate fundinga scenario which would ensure its failure. (Bay Journal)

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

March 24

  • Richmond, VA: Enjoy tasty sweets and sweet knowledge at CBF's Desserts and Discussion, where we'll learn about different aspects of our local waterways! This month, Dr. Lesley Bulluck, assistant professor at VCU's Department of Biology and the Center for Environmental Studies will speak on her work with Prothonotary Warblers. Bring a dessert to share with the group and win a prize for the most delicious contribution! CBF will also provide coffee, tea, and other drinks. Stay tuned for a registration page! Questions? Contact Blair Blanchette at bblanchette@cbf.org or 804-780-1392.

March 26

  • Machipongo, VA: Learn how native plants can enhance the beauty of yards and gardens, attract beneficial birds and insects, and improve the health of local creeks and the Chesapeake Bay. A complimentary lunch will be provided. Click here to register!

Upcoming

 —Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate