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Chesapeake Bay News

Archives: July 2010


Local Action Video Showcase Highlights Restoration Work

That’s the question 15 groups from the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s six states and the District of Columbia answered for their local political leaders through the Chesapeake Bay Program’s first-ever Local Action Video Showcase this spring. The videos showed citizens across the watershed working to do their part to restore the Bay. From river cleanups and rain garden plantings to best management practices and living shorelines, all of these groups are pitching in to help protect the Bay and their local rivers.

The groups’ projects were showcased at the Chesapeake Executive Council meeting on June 3 in Baltimore. The Local Action Video Showcase was an opportunity for local groups to show the Executive Council their conservation and restoration work and reinforce the idea that the watershed’s 17 million residents really can make a difference in the Bay restoration effort.

Local Action Video Showcase from Chesapeake Bay Program on Vimeo.


One group from Baltimore, the Herring Run Watershed Association, showed off their LEED Gold certified building, which employs composting toilets and various recycled building materials. The group aims to educate the public not only about the effects they have on their local waterways, but on the Chesapeake Bay as a whole.


Evergreen Elementary School in Leonardtown, Md., also showcased their green building, which has a green roof, rainwater cisterns used to fill up toilets, and photovoltaic panels and a wind turbine used to power outlets in the school. By exposing students to green practices from a young age, the school hopes the students will become the next generation of stewards needed to restore the Bay.




The Virginia Institute of Marine Science submitted two videos, showing a living shoreline project and the removal of “ghost” crab pots that have been plaguing the Chesapeake Bay.

And the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News showed its efforts to keep the water clean, including a trash pickup and installing forested shoreline buffers.


But those in Maryland and Virginia aren’t the only ones working to make a difference. There are many restoration projects taking place in all six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Troy Bishop with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition and the Madison County, N.Y., Soil and Water Conservation District gave Executive Council members a virtual tour of his farm, showing off the grazing and best management practices he uses. He showed that simple and practical changes can really make a difference.


One teacher in West Virginia and her students helped install rain gardens with the Opequon Creek Project Team. As an environmental science teacher, she emphasizes to her students the importance of working locally to improve the environment. In this case, they rain gardens they helped plant will trap polluted runoff before it reaches Opequon Creek, which runs to the Potomac River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.


Students in York, Pa., worked with the Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna to plant forested buffers along a creek. The group not only gets students physically involved in restoration activities, but emotionally involved by seeing how they are helping the environment by planting trees and creating wildlife habitat.



Other videos submitted for the Local Action Video Showcase are:

Izaak Walton League of America, Gaithersburg, Md.
Environmental education and stream cleanup




Magothy River Association, Severna Park, Md.
Oyster restoration and education




Riders in the Environment Improving Native Shorelines, Royal Oak, Md.
Stewardship and planting


Kennard Elementary School, Centreville, Md.
Stewardship and planting



Question: How does buying local food help the Chesapeake Bay?

Welcome to the latest installment of the BayBlog Question of the Week! Each week, we take a question submitted on the Chesapeake Bay Program website or a frequently asked question and answer it here for all to read.

This week’s question is: “In light of recent consumer buying trends, is there any evidence of environmental impacts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed of buying local foods? In other words, how does buying local food help the Chesapeake Bay?”

This is a great question, especially in relation to Maryland’s Buy Local Week, held from July 17-25 this year. Buy Local Week was initiated a few years ago by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission to raise awareness about the benefits of local food and community agriculture. It has since turned into a statewide initiative.

One of the major environmental benefits of incorporating local food into your diet is reducing the distance food is transported from where it is produced to where it is consumed. According to a 2001 report by the Capital Area Food Bank, fresh produce arriving at the Jessup, Maryland Terminal Market in 1997 traveled an average one-way distance of 1,686 miles from the state of production to Maryland.

The pollution associated with this transportation adds a considerable amount of nutrients to all water bodies, including the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. About one-quarter of the nitrogen pollution in the Bay comes from air pollution, so buying food produced locally is a great way to cut down on emissions.

Another way buying local food helps the Bay is by supporting and preserving local farms. When you buy local food, more of the money you spend goes directly to the farmer that grew it. Local, independent farmers can be vulnerable to development pressure, so supporting them helps them keep their farms going. Conversion of farmland to homes and shopping centers can adversely affect the long-term sustainability of the local farming industry, a significant part of the culture, heritage and economy of the Chesapeake region.

It seems that many people in Maryland already understand the importance of preserving farmland, as 61 percent of Marylanders surveyed by the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy said the issue was very important. Likewise, 78 percent of respondents said they were more likely to buy products identified as having been grown by a Maryland farmer.

So even after Maryland’s Buy Local Week is over, make an effort to shop at your nearest farmer’s market and begin incorporating local foods into your meals regularly. You can help to preserve a rich agricultural tradition, limit pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, support your local economy, and eat fresh, healthy food.

To find your local farmer’s market, check out the following sites:

Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Ask us and we might choose your question for the next Question of the Week! You can also ask us a question via Twitter by sending a reply to @chesbayprogram! Be sure to follow us there for all the latest in Bay news and events!

Keywords: local, food, produce

Blue Crab Advisory Report Recommends Continued Conservation Measures

A report recently released by the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee (CBSAC) notes that the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crabs appear to be making a comeback, but recommends that the jurisdictions that manage the blue crab fishery continue to keep conservation measures in place.

The 2010 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Advisory Report cites the success of recent measures to control blue crab harvest and emphasizes the need for these conservation efforts to continue into the future.

The annual winter dredge survey completed in April estimated that there are 315 million harvestable adult crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, an increase of 41 percent from 2009.

Although the interim target of 200 million harvestable crabs has been surpassed for two years in a row, that is not enough time to know if the population can be maintained over the long term. The CBSAC recommends that management and conservations efforts be maintained until long-term monitoring can show that the population is sustainable.

Other report recommendations include a sex-specific assessment to determine if specific regulations for male and female crabs are effective, and an assessment of incidental crab mortality.

The Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee includes fishery scientists from the University of Maryland, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, NOAA Fisheries Service and the states of Maryland and Virginia. The advisory report was approved by the executive committee of the Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will work with CBSAC to reevaluate by 2012 the interim rebuilding target of 200 million harvestable crabs. The new target will be based on an updated assessment to be completed in 2011.

Read the full 2010 Blue Crab Advisory Report from NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office website.

Keywords: blue crabs

Question of the Week: Where are public access points to the Chesapeake Bay?

Welcome to the latest installment of the BayBlog Question of the Week! Each week, we take a question submitted on the Chesapeake Bay Program website or a frequently asked question and answer it here for all to read.

This week’s question is one people ask at least every few weeks, especially in the summertime when they're itching to get out on the Bay: “Where are public access points to the Chesapeake Bay?”

One of the goals here at the Chesapeake Bay Program is to Foster Chesapeake Stewardship and Education, including through the restoration of public access to the Bay.

We have a map on our website that allows you to select your region to see all available public access points. If you click on a point on the map, it will give you information such as the name, location and amenities available at that spot, such as boat ramps, parking, fishing, swimming, trails and restrooms. You can also request a printed copy of this map to be mailed to you.

As of the 2009 Bay Barometer, the Bay Program had reached 98 percent of its goal of for public access. There are currently 761 public access sites, 166 Chesapeake Bay Gateways and more than 2,000 miles of water trails in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Be sure to check out the public access points and Gateways locations near your home or vacation spots this summer for your chance to enjoy all Chesapeake Bay has to offer.

Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Ask us and we might choose your question for the next Question of the Week! You can also ask us a question via Twitter by sending a reply to @chesbayprogram! Be sure to follow us there for all the latest in Bay news and events!

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