The second annual Choose Clean Water Conference was my destination last Tuesday. The conference had some interesting trips planned around the D.C. area to showcase urban development. Being a baseball fan, I naturally went on a tour of the Washington Nationals stadium.
The first thing to note about the ballpark is that it is located right on the Anacostia River. Because of this, the tour guide informed us, the stadium engineers focused greatly on limiting stormwater runoff. The stadium has a filtration system “that separates water used for cleaning the ballpark from rainwater falling on the ballpark.” Both sources of water are treated before they are released to local sewer and stormwater systems.
The ballpark also uses many water-conserving features, such as dual-flush toilets. According to our tour guide, these features save an estimated 3.6 million gallons of water per year and reduce overall water consumption by 30 percent.
In addition to saving water and reducing pollution, the ballpark conserves energy by using special light fixtures. The ballpark uses a projected 21 percent less energy than typical baseball field lighting.
The ballpark also has a small but impressive green roof just over the fence in left field.
As we toured the facility, it was obvious that our tour guide was just as proud of the stadium’s greening techniques as I am to be a Yankees fan. Nationals Stadium became the first LEED Certified Silver ballpark upon completion in 2008.
One last thing that I thought was pretty cool is that they actually offer a bicycle valet. You can cruise in on your bike, drop it off at the valet, then pick it back up after the game.
After we finished the tour, we walked over to Yards Park, a new waterfront park just a couple of blocks from the stadium. On the way to the park, we passed a few swales in the sidewalk. These grassy areas were intentionally lowered to allow stormwater to be absorbed more easily.
Yards Park is definitely one of the coolest places I have been in D.C. It has a modern design and offers open air in an urban environment. You can see some of the vegetation by the riverbank in the slideshow.
If you would like more information about Nationals Park’s sustainable approaches, visit the team’s official website to view a diagram.
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 came from Mike, who asked, "Where can I find fish consumption advisories for the state of Maryland and other areas in the Bay watershed?"
We all love the fish and shellfish the Chesapeake Bay provides us with. But it's important to be mindful of the contaminants these species might be exposed to. If we eat fish and shellfish that have been exposed to toxic chemicals, it could harm our health.
Each of the Bay states and the District of Columbia post fish consumption advisories for specific species in certain bodies of water. Some are general advisories for everyone to abide by, while others are limited to sensitive populations, like children or pregnant and nursing women. These advisories are not necessarily meant to discourage you from eating fish and shellfish altogether, but rather to help you limit your consumption of contaminants that could be harmful to your health.
Check out your state's website for more information about fish consumption advisories in water bodies near you. Be sure to keep up with fish consumption advisories for your area if you fish the Bay or its rivers!
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.
Maryland has surpassed its goal to preserve 9,700 acres in 2010. The state permanently protected 12,812 acres last year, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The land was conserved through state Program Open Space acquisitions and conservation easements purchased through the Rural Legacy Program and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
Land conserved in 2010 includes:
Maryland tracks its environmental goals using BayStat, an online tool that assesses, coordinates and targets restoration and conservation programs.
Visit Maryland's website to learn more about the state's land conservation goals.
When I was about to set a resolution for this year, I couldn't help but think of my accomplishments and my stumbles of the past year. Whether it be career goals, or cutting it back on the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches (those things are awesome).
Unfortunately, this blog is not featured on Martha Stewart Living, so I'll avoid the food and instead talk about my accountability as someone who works for an environmental organization.
I've always been an advocate of believing in everything you do. To be honest, about a year and a half ago, I had no idea what a watershed was or even what the Chesapeake Bay was. Yes, that last statement is sadly true.
The thing is, I think a lot of people are in the same position that I was. Good people who want to help, but they just don't know what to do.
A lot of the things I was doing every day were having a negative impact on the environment and the Chesapeake Bay, but I didn't think to correct my actions.
I would leave lights on, keep the water running, buy bottled water, buy processed foods, use plastic cups for every drink, fertilize my lawn; I even drive a Silverado, for goodness sake. The point is, I wasn't doing any of these things while dancing around my house yelling, "Who cares about the Bay!?" I was simply neglecting all the information that is out there that can easily make you take a step back and re-evaluate your lifestyle choices.
I certainly feel as though there are a lot of people like me that still need to be reached. People who would respond to watching a movie like Food Inc. or would cut back on their use of plastic if they had to collect their garbage for a month and see how much they go through.
My new years resolution could be to continue to grow as an environmental steward, but I think I will take it a step further. This year, I would like to keep a more open mind about all of my actions and to continue learning as much as I can about how these actions affect me, others, and the environment around me.
What's your new years resolution for the environment?
Happy New Year,