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Cindy Edson

For a Healthy Bay – Let Grasses Stay!

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Are you one of the 260,000 recreational boaters chomping at the bit to get on the Chesapeake Bay this year? It is purported that everyone in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is six degrees away from a boat owning friend with the promise of sunset sails, crab house cruises, and weekend raft-ups.

But there’s an economy behind the recreation as well; Maryland fisheries and watermen, all rely on strong fish populations that keep seafood healthy, economies strong, and ecotourism flourishing. At the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s January Legislative Reception kicking off the 2020 Maryland General Assembly, Senate President Bill Ferguson reminded the room that “the (Chesapeake) Bay is the most important thing we have in the state of Maryland. It is the commerce hub and is where we have the birth of our future experiences.” This all takes a toll on the ecosystems working to keep the Bay healthy and habitable for underwater life.

One such ecosystem partner is submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) providing benefits such as carbon sequestration (removing excess carbon from our waterways), erosion prevention through sediment stabilization (keeping sediment in place due to their strong root system), buffering from land-based sources of pollution through runoff filtering, and provision of food and habitat for marine and aquatic species. The Chesapeake Bay is reliant upon flourishing and healthy SAV; however, it is negatively impacted by excessive boat traffic. Propeller scars from traveling in shallow banks, bursts that excavate sediment creating holes, and displaced sediment choking the shores and washing over SAV, are the typical types of damage wreaked underwater.

Since 2016, The Ocean Foundation (TOF); dedicated to restoring, conserving, and financing natural coastal infrastructure by cultivating social entrepreneurs and working with decision-makers to affect systemic change, has partnered with several Chesapeake Bay communities including ShoreRivers to study and implement behavior change campaigns with the boating population. Through the Trust’s Outreach and Restoration and Community Engagement grant programs, they’ve conducted extensive surveying and studying of the attitudes and ideals of boaters to determine the values and social thinking that influence behavior to maximize the outreach messaging to create and affect behavioral change. Through online/phone surveying, intercept studies, and observation operations at high volume recreational boating areas, TOF developed a social marketing campaign, trainings, and messaging collateral to inform and offer solutions to boating practices. Examples of nondestructive behaviors include turning off motors and using poles to navigate shallow seagrass beds and waiting for high tides to enter low areas.

Evaluating pre- and post-campaign SAV health is the best determination of project impact utilizing monitoring program data specific to grasses. The success of this replicable data-driven project has led to further upcoming campaigns in other Chesapeake watershed areas this summer with partners such as Arundel Rivers Federation, Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, Magothy River Association, and Severn River Association all of whom will monitor for the health of SAV near participating marinas and positive attitude and behavior changes. “We hope that this reminder of the importance of grasses to a healthy bay inspires boaters to boat responsibly in shallow waters,” says Ocean Foundation grants and program manager, Alyssa Hildt.

The Chesapeake Bay Program has a target to sustain and increase SAV presence, with the ultimate goal of reaching 130,000 acres, a 40,000-acre improvement from 2017. With continued education, partnership monitoring, and community engagement, utilizing the full boating season with the expansion of signage, and messaging materials, the future looks greener for life under the sea.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust Announces Awardees

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The Chesapeake Bay Trust has a rigorous grant review process: every proposal submitted over $5,000 is sent to members of a Technical Review Committee (TRC) and is reviewed and scored quantitatively by at least three external peers who are experts in their fields. The Board of Trustees meets 4 times per year to review and approve all TRC recommended proposals. Proposals for $5,000 or less are reviewed by two or more technical experts on the Chesapeake Bay Trust program team.

Anne Arundel County Community Planting Mini Grant Program

February 2020

Hillsmere Shores Improvement Association: for the implementation of 65+ native trees and shrubs in the community. $2,500.

Community Engagement Mini-Grant Program

February 2020

Chesapeake Education Arts Research Society: for six hands-on, educational workshops regarding vegetable and native tree sapling gardening and seed saving. $4,873.
Cottage City: for a community clean-up and information session on the impacts of trash and litter pollution. $500.
No One Left Unhelped, Inc.: for a series of clean-ups, storm drain stenciling events, and environmentally focused educational workshops. $5,000.
ShoreRivers: for the production and distribution of the State of the Rivers Report Card and for five events related to the state of the rivers. $5,000.

Environmental Education

February 2020

Accokeek Foundation: for the development of a Countywide 1st grade program “Tiny Seed, Global Impact.” $31,717.
Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park: for the expansion of professional development and the Countywide 2nd grade environmental program “Chesapeake Champions.” $25,839.
Camp Puh’Tok for Boys and Girls, Inc.: for the enhancement of a countywide 6th grade “Ecosystem Investigation” program. $40,000.
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Sassafras Environmental Education Center: for the enhancement of Countywide 4th, 5th, and 9th grade Agro-Ecology programs. $23,977.
Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education: for professional development trainings to Maryland educators incorporating student-led action projects. $39,999.
Montgomery County Public Schools: for 10th grade teacher professional development “Citizen Science: Chemistry of Nitrogen Cycling.” $70,000.
REAL School Gardens (dba Teach Out): to design and pilot a new, Environmental Science-focused Professional Learning Community for teachers from five Prince George’s County elementary schools. $36,000.
ShoreRivers: for the development of an Eastern Shore Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience Academy for teachers. $39,857.
YMCA of the Chesapeake: for countywide expansion of an Environmental Literacy for 6th graders. $39,906.

Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach

February 2020

Anacostia Riverkeeper: to reduce trash in the Anacostia River watershed through the design, fabrication and installation of one Bandalong Litter Trap in the Lockridge Drive Tributary. $250,000.
Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc.: to implement a Stormwater Pavers project for the Audubon Naturalist Shop parking lot. $68,125.
Bannockburn Community Club: to implement conservation landscaping, dry wells and rain gardens. $48,596.
Christ the Servant Lutheran Church: for the replacement of 4,000 sq. ft. of impervious blacktop with permeable pavers at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church. $119,200.
Friends of Cabin John Creek (and) Watershed: for community‐based public engagement, watershed stewardship, and stormwater management installations including residential rain planters. $64,191.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: to design and deliver a Green Team Leadership Development Program training, developing successful green teams at 3-5 places of worship. $8,944.
National Wildlife Federation: to expand the understanding and practices of stormwater management through residential lawn replacement with native plants to reduce stormwater and create wildlife habitat. $50,000.
Rock Creek Conservancy: to expand Rock Creek Conservancy’s existing Stream Team Leader program by recruiting and training 20 Leaders to lead litter cleanups for about 450 community members. $21,444.

Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship

February 2020

Alice Ferguson Foundation: for two stormwater retrofit practices within the barnyard area of the Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center. $140,000.
Anacostia Watershed Society: to support a Watershed Stewards Academy and Maryland Master Naturalist program that trains 60 watershed residents. $11,510.
Anacostia Watershed Society: to improve habitat and water quality along the Anacostia River using mussels, floating wetlands, and trees. $23,453.
Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization Community Development Corporation, Inc.: to plant 300 trees in the Greater Riverdale/Bladensburg neighborhoods. $134,031.
City of Hyattsville: to promote the importance and benefits of trees by implementing a Tree Canopy study and providing resources to residents to plant trees. $60,762.
City of Mount Rainier: to develop 11 green infrastructure practices to reduce stormwater runoff impacts and support making the City of Mount Rainier a model “green city.” $196,000.
EcoLatinos, Inc.: for an outreach campaign to increase awareness of stormwater runoff and its impact on water quality among Spanish-speaking residents. $18,993.
EcoLatinos, Inc.: in support of the “Festival del Rio Anacostia 2020,” where more than 800 attendees can participate in environmental related activities. $23,694.
End Time Harvest Ministries: to engage residents in a clean water initiative educating surrounding neighborhoods on stormwater problems and possible solutions. $31,163.
Global Health and Education Projects, Inc.: to plant 200 trees through the Family Tree Adoption Program in high-priority areas of Prince George’s County that have low tree canopy. $115,969.
GreenTrust Alliance, Inc.: to add 5.5 acres of forested and warm season grass/ pollinator-focused headwater buffer to an existing stream and wetland restoration project at the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. $50,000.
Town of Cheverly: to design and implement a rain garden in the Cheverly Town Park. $54,954.
Town of Edmonston: to implement the fourth industrial “green street” located in the district of Lafayette Place. $68,527.
University of Maryland College Park: to develop a water quality action framework and outreach campaign for homeowner/community association boards, property managers, and residents. $50,000.

Sponsorship

February 2020

City of Annapolis: for an architectural visualization plan to address sea level rise and resiliency at City Dock. $3,000.

Anne Arundel County Community Planting Mini Grant Program

November 2019

Tidewater Colony Open Space Association: for the removal of invasive plants and planting of native trees in the Tidewater Colony community in Annapolis. $2,500.
Whitehurst Residents Club Association, Inc.: for the removal of invasive species in the Whitehurst community in preparation for native planting. $500.

Community Engagement Mini-Grant Program

November 2019

Asbury Foundation: for the installation of conservation landscaping and two educational workshops regarding stormwater issues and solutions. $5,000.
Edgewater Beach Citizens Association, Inc.: for the removal of invasive species using goats and community engagement. $5,000.
Plastic Free QAC, Inc.: for a series of informational events regarding the effects of plastic pollution on waterways and reusable bags as a better alternative to plastic bags. $4,420.

Watershed Assistance Grant Program

November 2019

Arundel Rivers Federation: for design and permitting of the Quiet Waters Park Caffrey’s Run stream restoration project. $102,807.
Baltimore County Soil Conservation District: for design and permit submission of the Western Run and Deadman Run stream restoration project. $161,600.
Cecil County, Maryland: for design of a stream restoration and sand filter project at Cecil County Public Schools Administrative Services Center and design of a tree planting at Bayview Elementary School. $183,890.
Chesapeake Rivers Association: for design of the Anne Arundel SPCA ecological restoration project, including stream restoration, wetland, marsh, and living shoreline components. $120,000.
City Neighbors Foundation: for the design of stormwater management practices at City Neighbors Charter School. $38,850.
The Community Ecology Institute: for the development of an ecological master plan and design of stormwater management practices at the Community Ecology Institute’s farm. $65,000.
Eden Korean United Methodist Church: for design of stormwater management practices on the church’s grounds, including a bioretention, rain gardens, a rainwater harvesting system, and an infiltration berm. $22,203.
Harford Soil Conservation District: for design and permitting of the stream restoration and riparian buffer components of the Broad Creek headwater restoration project. $110,000.
Prince George’s County, Maryland: for design and permitting of the Carey Branch headwater restoration project. $75,000.
ShoreRivers: for the development of the Wye Mills Action Plan to identify prioritized stormwater management and green infrastructure opportunities within the Wye Mills Community. $30,818.
ShoreRivers: for design and permitting of a stream restoration project at Foster Farm in Church Hill, Maryland. $44,927.
ShoreRivers: for design and permitting of a stream restoration project at Hickman Farm in Kent County, Maryland. $95,000.
Southeast Community Development Corporation: for the design of stormwater management practices at Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School. $29,163.

Outreach and Restoration Grant Program

November 2019

Gunpowder Valley Conservancy: for the removal of asphalt, the installation of two micro-bioretention practices, the installation of an outdoor teaching area, and educational workshops. $75,000.
ShoreRivers: for a two-year program to engage and activate faith organizations of any denomination in environmental education to their congregations, and ultimately environmental stewardship action. $74,958.
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: to educate local Harford County residents, community groups and faith-based groups about the importance of trees and forested landscapes for water quality and quality of life. $74,901.
City Neighbors Foundation: for the implementation of four stormwater Best Management Practices, the removal of impervious surface, and the development of associated environmental education curricula. $74,741.
The Church of the Redeemer: for the removal of an asphalt parking lot to be replaced with bioretention, pervious paving, and native plants, trees, and shrubs. $74,043.
Lower Shore Land Trust
: to develop an invasive species management model program within Wicomico County that will be transferrable to other counties building a framework for mapping invasive species on County property and extending outreach to landowners and community groups. $72,069.
Urban Ecosystem Restoration, Inc.: to convert approximately 3,838 square feet of turf to conservation landscaping in the Lakelands HOA and provide multiple modes of educational outreach to 465 members of the Gaithersburg community. $66,629.
Baltimore Tree Trust: for the Fells Point Gateway Tree Project to plant a “gateway” of trees along Eastern Avenue and Fleet Street in Baltimore to create a green corridor running parallel to Patterson Park and the waterfront. $66,331.
Howard EcoWorks: for planting trees and shrubs and associated educational events to encourage homeowners to convert turf grass to more functional systems. $50,856.
Port Tobacco River Conservancy: for the construction of an outdoor classroom shelter and the enhancement of stormwater control best management practices. $51,000.
Gunpowder Valley Conservancy: to conduct formative social marketing research for motivating businesses to install rain gardens and microbioretention practices on their properties. $50,000.
The Ocean Foundation: expand our successfully pilot tested social marketing campaign in Chesapeake Bay tributaries throughout Maryland to improve recreational boating practices in the presence of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). $49,979.
Canton Canopy: for creating tree pits, planting trees, and maintaining trees in the sidewalks along Fait and Linwood Avenues, as well as community volunteer events in Baltimore City’s Canton neighborhood. $38,900.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance: for support of the Baltimore Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Training Program. $30,000.
Civic Works, Inc.: for support of a certification-based stormwater management training for 10 Baltimore City residents from historically marginalized communities. $30,000.
Patterson Park Audubon Center: for support of the Audubon’s Avian Ambassadors for Baltimore, Birds, and the Bay program. $30,000.
University System of Maryland Foundation- The Environmental Finance Center: for support of the Stormwater Management Residential Action Framework and Outreach project. $30,000.
Gunpowder Riverkeeper: for a countywide outreach campaign to curb stormwater pollution using online/print communications, social media, and events. $30,000.
Friends of Patapsco Valley Heritage Greenway, Inc.: to conduct at least 10 stream cleanups, 4 invasive plant removals, 2 native shrub and tree plantings, and storm drain labeling to reduce the amount of pollution and increase the native tree canopy in Elkridge. $29,998.
Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Inc.: for support of the revival of the Harris Creek Connected group to utilize their collective actions to inspire a cultural shift of environmentalism as it relates to cleaner water and neighborhoods in Baltimore City. $29,995.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: to assist in restoring BMP projects as well as educate 6 to 8 congregations to maintain these BMPs. $29,943.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: to facilitate restoration projects at congregations in Salisbury through a multi-session workshop.  The course will foster greater understanding of local water-quality challenges. IPC will work with Lower Shore Land Trust on restoration projects. $28,347.
Anacostia Riverkeeper: for a microplastic monitoring and outreach program in the Anacostia watershed. $27,819.
Howard County Conservancy: The Howard County Conservancy will work with county partners to reduce pesticide use, encourage planting of native plants and become a certified Bee City. $27,816.
Nanticoke Watershed Alliance: for an outreach campaign with poultry farmers about alternatives to mowed grass for improved stormwater management. $26,695.
Alice Ferguson Foundation: to provide training for Charles County residents and organizations to monitor and provide detailed data on the waste entering the Charles County waterways. $22,784.
Lower Shore Land Trust: for support of the project “Engaging Faith-Based Communities in Stewardship and Restoration” for rain barrels, cisterns, native garden, and educational workshop supplies at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church of Salisbury. $20,207.
United Workers Association (United Workers): The core of this program will be developing and disseminating a citywide Zero Waste Plan in collaboration with Baltimore Office of Sustainability and Zero Waste Associates. $20,000.
Clean Water Fund: for support for the Testing Methods for Communicating Best Practices for Living on Septic project. $19,927.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: to train congregations within the City of Gaithersburg to educate 60-100 people about watershed restoration. $15,038.
Wicomico Environmental Trust: for a water quality testing program that engages the citizens, is led by trained scientists, and supports the City of Salisbury and Wicomico County watershed restoration goals. $15,000.
Columbia Association: for invasive species removal, native perennial plantings, 300 tree planting, and to install 500 live stakes along eroded stream banks. $15,000.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: for a leadership development program to increase the impact of the faith community on Chesapeake Bay Watershed improvements. $14,466.
Nanjemoy-Potomac Environmental Coalition, Inc.: school students will design a reusable bag to distribute throughout the community at grocery stores and community events and present their reusable bag program to government and non-governmental representatives. $13,510.
Department of Natural Resources: for native trees and shrubs planting, workshops, and signage at a publicly accessible location at Bloomfield Farm. $9,499.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: for support of the Green Team Leadership Development Program, educating 100 people about watershed restoration in Baltimore City. $9,298.
Wicomico Public Library: to create a StoryWalk along the Riverwalk in Salisbury to increase childhood physical and ecological literacy. $7,853.
Baltimore Community ToolBank: for the education of business owners and property managers in Baltimore City on sustainable stormwater practices. $4,500.
Stone Gate Town House Community Association: for workshops covering stormwater management and bay-wise Gardening in the Association. $4,255.

Anne Arundel County Community Planting Mini Grant Program

September 2019

Annapolis Landing Homeowners Association: for native tree planting, invasive species removal, and increased tree canopy. $2,500.
Arundel Rivers Federation: for planting in West Shoreham community to aide runoff and water filtration. $1,465.
Magothy Meadows Homeowners Association: for removal of invasive species diseased trees and native tree planting. $2,500.
Olde Severna Park Improvement Association, Inc.: for spraying of invasive phragmites on community property. $800.

Community Engagement Mini-Grant Program

September 2019

Chestertown Garden Club: for a native pollinator garden and tree planting with community volunteers. $2,793.
Cross Keys Condominium #1: for Baltimore City waterways workshops and the value of native pollinator plants and engagement of volunteers in a conservation landscaping project. $4,908.
Riva Trace Council: for the installation of a native plant pollinator garden and education regarding the value and function of native plants and treating stormwater runoff. $4,910.
Town of Emmitsburg: for the distribution of 117 rain barrels and two educational workshops regarding the challenges and solutions associated with stormwater runoff. $5,000.
Town of New Market: for a rain barrel education workshop and distribution of 40 rain barrels to workshop participants. $2,400.
Volunteering Untapped Incorporated: for a community clean-up in Druid Hill Park and the Druid Heights neighborhood. $4,700.

Capacity Building Initiatives

September 2019

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: for the enhancement of communications systems in place and increasing management capacity. $15,778.
Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park: for technical capacity building to support upgrades at the Eastport and Back Creek campuses. $11,307.
Anne Arundel Watershed Stewards Academy: for consultant support to devise a strategic plan. $17,490.
EcoLatinos, Inc.: for the enhancement of adaptive and technical capacities to support diversity, equity and inclusion work. $12,000.
Gunpowder Valley Conservancy: to increase leadership capacity and develop a financial plan to diversity revenue sources. $15,293.
Harford Land Trust, Inc.: for developing communications and database upgrades to support the technical capacity. $17,180.
Havre de Grace Maritime Museum: for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Alliance to create an adaptive development plan. $13,000.
Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Inc.: for work with a development consultant to create a sustainable and robust plan. $16,500.
National Wildlife Federation: for technical and leadership support for the Young Professionals of Color program through the Choose Clean Water Coalition. $29,960.
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust: for technical capacity support to upgrade multiple systems for donor relations and employee use. $14,541.
Potomac Conservancy: for diversity, equity, and inclusion capacity building through a local consultant. $25,000.
Rock Creek Conservancy: for technical capacity enhancements relating to volunteer outreach and engagement of a broader audience. $7,750.
West Virginia Rivers Coalition: for capacity building support to increase revenue and leadership capacities. $15,000.

Environmental Education Mini Grant Program

September 2019

Anacostia Watershed Society: to remove invasive plants and plant native wildflowers to restore 1 acre of meadow habitat along the river. $5,000.
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute: “Canoe and scoop” water quality field experience. $2,500.
Baltimore Urban Debate League: for native plant and tree installment and pollution outreach for 8th graders in 2 schools. $5,000.
Bethesda Green: for student participation in the Bethesda Green Environmental Leaders Program. $5,000.
Broadway High School: for investigation of water quality and user issues by doing a bottom grab invertebrate investigation and a qualitative measurement study. $290.
Catonsville Elementary School: for field trips on the Patapsco River. $2,375.
Cecil County Public Schools: for a Cecil Manor Elementary School outdoor experience at North Bay. $5,000.
Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries: for field trips including the Kings Gap Environmental Education Center, Wildwood Park Nature Center, the Susquehanna River and the PA State Legislature. $3,260.
Dunloggin Middle School: to establish a better riparian buffer with tree plantings. $4,020.
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Sassafras Environmental Education Center: for elementary grades to participate in stream cleanups and create artwork. $4,537
Easton High School: for AP Environmental Science students to research and implement capstone projects with industry mentors. $3,700.
Edward M. Felegy Elementary School: for a comprehensive program engaging students about meadow restoration along the Anacostia Watershed. $2,653.
Elk Neck Elementary School: for an outdoor experience at North Bay. $4,154.
Friends of Deckers Creek: to hold a four-part education event for the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club and kayaking field trip. $4,921.
Green Muslims: for the “Our Deen (Faith) is Green” youth outdoor education program, taking place at Hard Bargain Farm in Accokink, MD, and Whitehall Farm in Clifton, VA. $5,000.
The GreenMount School: for garden and wildlife habitat study with trash clean-up in area stream buffers and streets. $5,000.
Henrico Education Foundation: to provide field trips with the James River Association for 150 students. $5,000.
Immaculate Conception School: for watershed research and field experience with Prigel Family Creamery and Conowingo Dam. $5,000.
James River Association: for participants of the Tuckahoe YMCA and Quioccasin Middle School’s STAR program to explore and understand their local watershed through field trips. $5,000.
James River Association: Elizabeth Redd Elementary School’s 5th grade will participate in an in-class lesson, field trip to Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, and a Paint Out Pollution stewardship project. $5,000.
Kent Island High School: for implementation of an outdoor classroom. $5,000.
Key School: for the creation of an environmental sculpture on plastic pollution. $5,000.
Lacey Spring Elementary School: for professional development training for up to 25 teachers about the Chesapeake Bay and restoration. $3,750.
Live It Learn It: for Audubon Naturalist Society field trips by right 5th grade classes with a garbology-focused action project. $5,000.
Loch Raven Technical Academy: 6th grade biosystems field investigation at Camp Puh Tok. $5,000.
MacArthur Middle School: for 330 8th graders to visit Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and install a rain garden. $2,250.
Mary Moss @ J. Albert Adams: for construction of a green house, grow native plants, and expand a rain garden on campus. $4,750.
Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education: to develop teacher training program for Project Learning Tree. $5,000.
Montpelier Elementary School: for student participation in a field experience at Patuxent Research Refuge and install a rain garden on their school grounds. $3,975.
Mountainside Education and Enrichment, Inc.:  for stormwater mitigation education activities for Friends Meeting School. $3,530.
One Montgomery Green: for student participation in the Clean Headwaters Program. $5,000.
Park School of Baltimore: for students to study poultry farming and soil ecology. $4,996.
Park School of Baltimore: for student study of plankton, false-dark mussel filtration rate and efficiency and comparison to oysters in varying Inner Harbor conditions. $4,968.
Rivanna Conservation Alliance: for 200 students to investigate local water pollution issues, monitor water quality, and implement an action project. $4,985.
Skyline High School: for water quality field trips and monitoring by 150 9th-12th graders. $5,000.
Spring Grove Area School District: for a wetland and watershed field trip by 8th grade science students. $2,864.
The Summit School: for sixth through eighth grade students to participate in a Roedown Farm field experience. $4,240.
University of Mary Washington: for professional development training of 20 4th-6th grade teachers on watershed curriculum development and integrating science and literacy. $5,000.
Viers Mills Elementary School: 4th grade field experience and action project on school grounds. $5,000.
Village School: to take student pollinator gardens from concept to fruition, by designing, and installing pollinator gardens for the dual purpose of improving water quality and providing a diverse habitat. $1,178.
Wicomico County Board of Education / Public Schools: for 130 middle schools to engage in outdoor experiences leading to on-campus projects. $2,085.

Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Program

September 2019

Lancaster Farmland Trust: to catalyze the adoption of farm conservation practices, document the current state of conservation plans on farms, and assess any barriers to the implementation of those plans. $100,000.

EPA Conowingo

September 2019

University of Maryland College Park: for the establishment of a Watershed Implementation Plan innovative financing system. $309,814.

Side Effect to a Healthy Bay: Becoming Happier and Healthier People!

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The Trust has a vision that the Chesapeake Bay and local watersheds are healthy and safe, our waters are fishable and swimmable, local communities benefit from healthy resources, and everyone participates in restoring and protecting natural resource treasures.

You may have seen the recent Cornell University article touting the benefits of stress reduction from spending time in nature. Further research shows a positive link between time spent outdoors and human health, as evidenced by such efforts and programs as the ParksRx program in Washington D.C. where doctors prescribe time in parks to patients; by the construction of green spaces and courtyards in hospitals nationwide; and by outdoor time as part of anti-obesity programs for children.  While there are numerous studies (e.g., the Japanese study of shinrin-yoku, or the study of the impacts of greening on crime and mental health in housing projects), sometimes anecdotal evidence is more powerful.  Here are examples of projects the Trust has funded modeling holistic health alongside environmental improvements.

MedStar Harbor Hospital:  Green Infrastructure in Protecting Public and Environmental Health (South Baltimore, MD)
Medstar Harbor Hospital – with the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Trust partners – the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources – designed nine bioretention facilities identified in a green infrastructure master plan. Bioretention systems are planted depressions that collect, filter, and slow stormwater runoff while enhancing the natural beauty and environmental health of the campus. These systems will collectively treat almost five million gallons of stormwater runoff every year and adding natural green space to improve the physical and mental health of hospital patients, employees, and the community.

Waterfront Partnership: Healthy Bodies and Clean Water: Canoeing and Kayaking with Baltimore’s Premier Environmental Stewards (Baltimore, MD)
Baltimore City’s Recreation and Parks Department partnered with three of Baltimore City’s premier environmental advocacy groups, Blue Water Baltimore, The Parks and People Foundation, and The Waterfront Partnership, to provide a tangible connection to local waterways in a fun, active activity (kayak/canoe) with the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks’ Summer Kayak and Canoe Program. The program increased citizen ownership and responsibility of local waterways by engaging a wide and diverse audience in the effort and conveyed to participants the benefits of personal health, such as exercise, are connected to and inform us about the overall health of the Bay. 

Talisman Therapeutic Riding, Inc:  Talisman TheraBay Trails Program  (Grasonville, MD)
The Talisman TheraBay Trails program supports veteran’s therapeutic programs and an annual Veteran’s Victory Garden.  The Talisman Therapeutic Riding’s “Talisman TheraBay Trails” program has helped to increase stewardship of land and water resources by incorporating watershed education curriculum into year-round programs, summer camp initiative, volunteer training materials, and annual Veteran’s Victory Garden.  The objectives were to increase understanding of Talisman’s Farm location within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and how the agricultural, conservation, human and horse behaviors that occur on the Farm impact the watershed. 

Channel Marker, Inc.:  Rain Garden and Rain Barrels at a Mental Health Wellness Center (Talbot County)
Channel Marker, a mental health services organization, installed a rain garden, rain barrels, and informational signage at their new Regional Wellness Center for youth and adult clients to treat stormwater runoff from the building that flows into the Miles Watershed; engage clients in an environmental action project promoting environmentally conscious behaviors, and create a positive connection between watershed health and human health.

After

Before

University of Maryland Medical System Foundation:  Druid Heights Green Space Project (Baltimore, MD)
The University of Maryland Medical System Foundation, in coordination with the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, renovated a vacant property in the Druid Heights community of Baltimore City.  The renovated space now serves as a public green space helping to improve neighborhood health and well-being while also providing much-needed wildlife habitat.  The objectives of this project were to form meaningful partnerships and engage community residents in a restoration project that will decrease stormwater pollution and educate community members about the connection between environmental and human health.

Global Health and Education Projects, Inc.:  Communities Organized for Health and Environment (Washington, D.C./Metro Area)
Global Health and Education Projects, Inc. established the “Communities Organized for Health and Environment” project which included a tree adoption program, Anacostia Trail cleanup, outdoor physical activity, and a health and environment day workshop. This program provided outreach to minority and underserved residents fostering involvement in environmental solutions and natural resources restoration. This effort connected individuals with how outdoor activities can improve both environmental and personal health.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Green Team (Baltimore, MD)
The Johns Hopkins Hospital Green Team, in conjunction with The Living Classrooms Foundation and an East Baltimore Community, completed a storm drain stenciling project and a litter reduction effort to beautify the neighborhood and to prevent trash from entering local waterways. This project brought awareness and education to the community about environmental issues, sustainable living, and making better choices to create a healthier lifestyle.

The Trust works with many funding partners to collaboratively support natural resource projects in several key topic areas: education, restoration, community engagement, and science and innovation. One of our key goals is to reach under-engaged audiences: people who might not realize they are connected to healthy natural resources but are.  We want to give these audiences the voice and power to protect and restore what will ultimately care for them. Find out more about all the grant opportunities we offer here and make an excuse to get outdoors!

I Just Spent a Year Without Buying Plastic. You Can Too.

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This blog was originally submitted by Dr. Jana Davis, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, to the Capital Gazette newspaper where it ran as in the opinion column on February 16th.

It may sound impossible, but I can say, as a (somewhat) normal person, it’s very possible to reduce buying plastic by 90% with very limited impact on lifestyle. Why did I try this? I looked down one day at my dollar-store plastic flipflop

s and thought: “These Ridiculous. Pink. Things. Will be in a landfill for billions of years.” I had also heard that there is almost more plastic in the oceans than fish and saw an image of a starved albatross on a deserted island with a stomach filled with plastic. I decided I could do something.

I, perhaps like you, am not a “super greenie.” I am not only not a vegan, I’m not even a vegetarian (gasp!). I don’t drive an electric car; I don’t even drive a hybrid (shame!). I don’t do yoga, though I respect people who bend that way. I love the dollar store, despite that it is filled with plastic. I’m just a normal person (except for the dollar store thing).

So, if I can do this, so can you. Over the last year, I kept using plastic I already owned, but I didn’t purchase new plastic.

Here’s how:

Easy: You can still buy many items in regular stores with little extra effort. Examples: eggs (cardboard), yogurt (Oui brand in glass), ice cream (Turkey Hill doesn’t have a plastic layer lurking inside), produce (some groceries offer Brussel sprouts and mushrooms loose, not in packaging), spinach (frozen in cardboard). Cleaning supplies: Even regular stores, if you search, offer one brand of powder detergents in cardboard boxes.

Hard but not impossible: Cheese, meat, fish. Dust off your negotiating skills. You’ve got to order from the counter and gently convince them to wrap your stuff in paper. Some like the challenge. Some think you’re crazy. If they don’t have paper, offer them a container you brought from home or tinfoil.

You may have to get creative with toiletries. The store Lush sells shampoo bars with no packaging (work great), conditioner bars (work less great), and some kind of beeswax product for those of us who need mane taming (works OK, but my standards have lessened). For those who can’t wrap their minds around rubbing a bar on their heads, Plaine Products online ships liquid stuff in metal containers.

Tooth care is tougher. Apparently, it’s pretty easy to make your own toothpaste, but I don’t cook so I’m certainly not going to try some chemistry experiment I can’t eat. Nelsons Naturals ships glass toothpaste jars that don’t cost that much more than college tuition. (The taste takes some getting used to.) For other items, try packagefreeshop.com.

Impossible to date: Super processed snack stuff. (It isn’t good for you anyway.) A few brands have a paper or foil outside packaging and paper inside (e.g., Pepperidge farm Milano cookies). Hair dye (the Henna stuff just doesn’t cover grays. If I needed that sort of thing). Clothes (much of the microplastic in the oceans comes fr

Photo for this blog provided by Plastic Free QAC: a grassroots, non-profit organization committed not only to beautifying Queen Anne’s County, but also in changing behavior and empowering residents and businesses to make more environmentally friendly choices day to day. Click on picture to enlarge.

om synthetic fabric). Look for cotton.

Eating out: I can’t count how many times I have said: “May I please have a water with no straw” in the past year. (Let’s be honest: It was “Vodka cran, no straw.”) I carry around with me a little set of bamboo utensils, and yes, it feels weird. You get to know which restaurants serve sides in unnecessary plastic containers and which you can ask to refrain from that, and how to still eat out but not result in an albatross stomach’s worth of plastic trash. For leftovers, ask for a piece of tinfoil.

If you want to start with just one thing, start with grocery bags. Plastic grocery bags are the worst; they really don’t get recycled, and they blow all over and end up in rivers.

Yes, I know: You left your reusable bags in the car. One day, as I was lamenting this great conundrum at the checkout line, I realized: Wait a minute. I walked into the store from my car in less than a minute. It isn’t a hike along the Appalachian Trail. But – someone might – steal my cart! Someone could look at my cart’s contents and realize “Holy cow! What an amazing shopper! This selection is SO much better than my own! I’m taking this cart!”

But you know, it’s not actually my food yet anyway. So, you could — just a suggestion — go BACK to your car to get your reusable bags.

This really isn’t as hard as you might think: It just takes a little getting used to and some changing of habits.

But my year is up, and I think there is only one thing I am adding back in: Hair dye.

Plastic Free QAC Has Long Term Plans to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic

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Plastic Free QAC, Inc. let no grass grow under their feet when awarded a Community Engagement Mini-Grant last November through the Chesapeake Bay Trust for a series of informational events regarding the effects of plastic pollution on waterways and reusable bags as better alternatives to plastic.

Plastic Free QAC (PFQAC) is grassroots, non-profit organization committed not only to beautifying Queen Anne’s County but also in changing behavior and empowering residents and businesses to make more environmentally friendly choices day to day. Only in existence for 2 years, they started with a handful of trash cleanups along county roads and waterways and grew to reusable bag distribution events throughout the County and partnerships with environmentally friendly businesses, other local non-profits. PFQAC conducted 16 monthly cleanups, each 1/4 mile in length, adding up to 4 miles. A total of 944 plastic bags were collected and counted from the 8 most recent cleanups.

Their award through the Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement Mini-Grant program (their first-ever grant-supported project) gave PFQAC the chance to build an outreach plan committed to raising awareness of the detrimental impacts of single-use plastics and sustainable options available through supermarket events; tabletop presentations at churches, libraries, and community centers; trash clean-ups; and hands-on art activities to engage children. All of the educational and tabletop materials produced through this grant provide the foundation for the organization’s future efforts throughout the County.

One of the big issues to be addressed when applying for this Trust grant program is the replication or interpretation of a project in other areas of the watershed to enable other groups in other areas to leverage ideas. PFQAC strongly noted already valuable lessons learned including the importance of strong partnerships with local nonprofits, use of powerful visuals such as pictures and videos, sound research on purchasing costs, messaging tailored to specific audiences, methods for recruitment of volunteers, expanded outreach using social media and a variety of other communications tools, as well as effective record keeping and data collection.

PFQAC is experienced in organizing and completing environmental projects and you may have seen them at 2019 Kent Island Day, 2019 Sea Glass Festival at Chesapeake College, Rotary Club presentations, the Kent Island Federation of the Arts, or the Chester Safeway.

PFQAC also participated in the Community Engagement Mentorship Program working with ShoreRivers in defining project goals and capacity, organizing project budgets, and working through the Trust’s online grant portal system.

And they aren’t stopping there! This small but mighty group have outlined 10 initiatives for 2020 which include tackling heavy issues like surveying and researching boat shrink-wrap recycling and marina practices; expanding partnership opportunities with environmental clubs and area schools; working with the Maryland Department of the Environment to encourage businesses to join the Green Registry; and encouraging restaurants to adopt straw-upon-request platforms and install biodegradable product practices.

We are pleased to share their promotional video, created by PFQAC creative videographer Julie Shaeffer, here.

Learn more and to get involved with Plastic Free QAC here.

Chesapeake Bay Trust Celebrates at 2020 Legislative Reception

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The evening’s speakers are pictured from left: Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Department of Natural Resources; Gary Jobson, Chairman of the Board of the Chesapeake Bay Trust; Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.; Jana Davis, Trust executive director; Senator Pam Beidle; Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo; and Superintendent of the Chesapeake Bay Office for National Parks Service, Wendy O’Sullivan.

The start of January marked the convening of the 441st session of the Maryland General Assembly and with that, the annual Chesapeake Bay Trust Legislative Reception. This year’s event was a special celebration honoring the 10th anniversary of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps program.

The evening brought together the 10th cohort of Chesapeake Conservation Corps members, Corps alumni, Maryland State Delegates and Senators, grant program partners, supporters, and friends to network, celebrate, and acknowledge the importance of the work both the Trust and the Corps do.

Guests were reminded by Senate President Bill Ferguson that “The Bay is not political. The Bay is the most important thing that we have in the state of Maryland. It is the commerce hub and is where we have the birth of our future experiences.”

10th cohort Corps members networked with alums, mentors, and host sites as well as Trust leadership and elected officials.

The Trust featured its newly released annual report for FY 2019 highlighting the over $11 million granted out to organizations throughout the watershed to fund almost 400 projects collaboratively supporting natural resource projects through education, restoration, community engagement, science and innovation, and capacity building. Board of Trustee member, Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo spoke about the Trust’s reputation for transparency and operational excellence noting “The Chesapeake Bay tag is the … piece that allows the Trust to leverage so much more. If you think about when you go to the MVA and pay that little extra money for that Bay tag and you encourage all of your friends and you encourage all of your family members to get that bay tag. That equates to about $3.5 million to the Trust. But the great thing about that is that the $3.5 million because the Trust is run so well, is leveraged to more like $12 million dollars. Which is absolutely incredible when it comes to the amount of work that needs to be done to restore the Bay.”

And speaker Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio reminisced about her involvement in protecting the Trust as a member of the Maryland General Assembly. “Before I was Secretary of Department of Natural Resources (DNR), I served in the Maryland House of Delegates and at that time I learned that the Bay plate program was a pilot program that was going to expire. Senator Astle and I got together and made a joint decision to co-sponsor legislation to make it a permanent program. And I’m still really proud of the fact that we were able to accomplish that and have the support of the entire Maryland General Assembly to make that happen because the Chesapeake Bay Trust is so important. At DNR, we firmly believe that cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay takes participation from a variety of stakeholders and it takes every citizen in Maryland to be a part of the process. And I think that is really one of the great and unique things about Chesapeake Bay Trust is that your programs and your grants are getting projects done on the ground in our local communities and really engaging citizens in the process. And we’re really proud to partner with the organization.”

Senate President, Bill Ferguson welcomes the crowd.

One way the Trust continues to engage is through the operation of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps program (CCC). Each year, the CCC places young adults (ages 18-25) with nonprofit or government agencies to work full-time in the environmental field for a one-year term of paid service in the Chesapeake Bay region. The Corps Members receive hands-on green job and leadership experience through on-the-ground experience leading and assisting with projects and programs for their host sites, extensive training hosted by the Trust and other service-learning opportunities including grant writing and project management.

Since its inception, the program has partnered with over 117 host sites and graduated 265 corps members, many who were in attendance representing the environmental agency they went on to work for after graduation.

Guests included Delegate Dana Stein, Corps Advisory Board member Delegate Anne Healey, and Maryland Secretary of the Environment, Ben Grumbles.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust partners with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, BGE, and the National Park Service to run each cohort of, on average, 35 members. Founding advocate, Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller told the crowd “it’s very easy for me to support this program… We want to protect the Chesapeake Bay; we want to protect Maryland… it takes young people like this with some enthusiasm to make things happen.”

National Park Service Superintendent of the Chesapeake Bay Office, Wendy O’Sullivan, added “I stumbled into the National Parks Service through a youth corps program, right out of grad school. So all of you that are here … you are on a path and you are part of a family now of the champions of the Chesapeake of Ambassadors for our environment and the Park Service couldn’t be more proud to add and be part of that leveraging of the bay plate money for the corps program.”

 

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program is open for application! Learn more about the program and how to apply to join the 11th cohort here!

Goatscaping: Clearing Invasive Species Never Looked So Cute

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Invasive kudzu engulfs the left side of this picture while the goat cleared area on the right shows the improvement made.

By Kristina Arreza
Chesapeake Bay Trust Communications Intern

Maintaining and enhancing its community areas is one of the primary responsibilities of the Edgewater Beach Citizens Association for the Edgewater Beach Shaded section community. The community is a small neighborhood of 53 homes. In the communal area of several acres a park, picnic area, and an active pier with boat slips are the backdrop for 36 goats from Browsing Green Goats. Why you may ask? In the little nook located on South River from Park Avenue to Edgewater Beach Drive lies tangles of invasive Kudzu vines engulfing and suffocating the existing native trees and plants. Kudzu has destroyed natural riparian vegetation along the banks of Beards Creek and South Park River, causing instability and erosion of sediment which fills the South River. Known as an overpowering vine, Kudzu can suffocate trees at the crown when engulfed which, result in rotting roots.

Mary Bowen, invasive species control specialist and founder of Browsing Green Goats, has mastered the innovative technique of tackling weeds in a sustainable matter. “Goats can graze in hard to reach places that machines usually miss; such as slopes, wetlands, and rough terrain areas.” Goats also eat poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and knotweed to name a few. Additional benefits of goat browsing include the natural fertilizer source of their excrement and their ability to till the soil with their hooves which break down clumps and large mounds of soil for a better surface to plant new trees. They have made significant progress. According to John Greene, project leader for the Edgewater Beach Citizens Association (EBCA), “the goats cleared almost an acre in the first 24 hours!”

This project was funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s (Trust) through the Community Engagement Mini-Grant Program. This grant program is designed to connect residents throughout Maryland in activities that enhance communities, engage residents, and improve natural resources. A few of these activities include tree plantings, rain gardens, stream cleanups, storm drain stenciling, and yep, removal of invasive species. The Trust seeks to reach groups that have traditionally been under-served in tackling environmental issues and new applicants and organizations from a diverse array of communities.

Before the Trust’s approval of the Edgewater Beach Shady Side Community project, Mr. Greene said that the plants were “too powerful for the toxic and environmentally unfriendly herbicides or from removing the vines by hand.” Completion of the invasive removal was slated for Summer 2020, however, the goats have made a significant impact in their short period spent in the area. After this phase of the project, maintenance will include identifying crowns (root systems) and treating those crowns with approved chemicals for removal. Further maintenance of the entire park area is conducted by residents throughout the year. The EBCA was able to accumulate $2,500 towards this project alongside an additional $2,500 in donations to complete the eradication of kudzu.

The Arundel Rivers Federation (ARF) aided in raising awareness and publicity for the rest of the Edgewater Beach Shaded community to be educated and involved in this portion of the project. In the second phase, ARF intends on hosting a kayak trip with area neighbors and the South Riverkeeper – to inform them about native riparian plants and their importance to the river. Additional opportunities for outreach include anticipated services from Annapolis area high schools – including the Annapolis High Key Club. The project intends to educate students about the issue of invasive plants and river health.

Recently, the community and their project was featured in the Edgewater Patch. Read the full story here.

Blogging About Plogging

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We’re showcasing the unique experience of participating in the Chesapeake Conservation Corps by sharing profiles of Corps members of the 2019-2020 cohort along with information on their host site and descriptions of the work they have been doing.

Karlis Grauze (right in picture) is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Philosophy. He has previous experience working with Howard EcoWorks, Anacostia Watershed Society, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Karlis joins the 10th-anniversary Chesapeake Conservation Corps cohort position with Patapsco Heritage Greenway (PHG). PHG aims to preserve, protect, and restore the environment history, and culture of the Patapsco River Valley. Karlis will lead GIS work about the Patapsco River Valley to help engage the Spanish-speaking community who use Patapsco Valley State Park, help with environmental stewardship events, and educational outreach to local schools.

In support of his host site’s outreach mission, Karlis helped introduce plogging to the popular Patapsco Trail Fest which took place mid-September.  The concept of plogging is still relatively new to the United States. It evolved from the European #plogga or #plogging and derives from the Swedish “Plocka upp” and jogging. Plogging combines the recreational act of jogging/running (or even hiking) with environmental stewardship (i.e. picking up trash) along the way. The weekend combines many different events including mountain biking, climbing, paddling, hiking, and trail runs, as well as many other recreational and stewardship activities for adults and families alike, making it the perfect test “plog” for the concept.

PHG is the ideal organizing partner focusing on the overall participation and enjoyment of all partakers representing all the user groups of Patapsco Valley State Park. Advanced planning for the event included mapping a wooded trail route with signage to enable participants to go at their own pace while still completing a full loop around the park. The Fest awarded prizes for the (1) fastest time, (2) greatest amount of trash, and the (3) weirdest item found.

Expectations were guarded as this was the first time plogging was introduced at the Fest. However, plogging drew a dedicated crowd who set the standard for future growth and has inspired planning and marketing for more plogging events in the spring. “We hope that combining recreation and environmental stewardship in different ways will help us reach a larger audience and give participants new and fun experiences,” stated Karlis. Participants collected several full bags of trash around the river along with 3 tires. The weirdest item found ended up being what is thought to be a large piece of an old motorcycle of some sort. One of the participants hauled this heavy piece back to the finish line, dog in hand!

For future events, organizers will increase marketing efforts to engage a wider audience and increase the number of participants. Trail Fest was a pilot for the planned X-Treme Cleanup series which will feature kayak and bar crawl clean-ups. Thank you to Karlis Grauze for an innovative addition to a popular event keeping it fresh and fun for all who attended!

Interested in finding out more about plogging? Check out this great video from the PBS News Hour here.

ShoreRivers + REALTORS = Water Wise and River Friendly Homeowners

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The Chesapeake Bay watershed offers a lifestyle unmatched elsewhere, however, waterfront property ownership comes with special responsibilities. ShoreRivers recently held a half-day workshop to educate area REALTORS on resources to help them take the lead with residential buyers and sellers and their waterfront homes. “One of the intents of this workshop as to educate Chesapeake Bay REALTORS on how they can be part of the solution to prevent nutrient pollution and it’s resulting algae blooms and fish kills….something that is becoming way to common in other waterways,” said Matt Pluta, director of riverkeeper programs for ShoreRivers.

From yard fertilization to living shorelines, members of Bay Area Association of REALTORS and Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS packed the Chesapeake College classroom to learn about safe, effective, and sustainable methods for improving landscapes and water quality. ShoreRivers’ Riverkeepers updated the group on the conditions and threats posed to the Choptank, Sassafras, Chester, and Miles rivers. Environmental planners from Talbot, Queen Anne’s, and Dorchester counties discussed the laws surrounding protection of all land within 1,000 feet of Mean High-Water Lines of tidal waters, landward edge of tidal wetlands, and all waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Attendees learned about the causes and impacts of algal blooms, water quality threats, bacteria monitoring, the economic value of river friendly yards, laws relating to buffers and critical area protection, and homeowner resources.

What can residents do to keep our local streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay clean and healthy? Slow down surface water runoff. Homeowners can do their part by planting a conservation landscape, rain garden, or trees on their property. They can install rain barrels or cisterns to capture runoff from their roof. They can also replace traditional pavement with permeable pavers that allow the runoff to soak into the ground. These practices not only help improve water quality, they also beautify the property and can save homeowners money on water and heating/cooling bills.

And of course, lawns. The University of Maryland Extension suggests “fertilizer-free and pesticide free lawns are the best choice for the environment. Both time and money can be saved by reducing the frequency of fertilizing and applying pesticides. Slow release and low or no phosphorous fertilizers are optimal to promote a healthy environment.” Over-application of fertilizer and pesticides on lawns contributes to large amounts of excess nutrients in our rivers.

Everyone’s ability and responsibility to minimize adverse impacts on water quality, reduce pollutants and runoff, protect fish and wildlife habitat, and bring our treasured resource and lifestyle amenity back to its best health was the resounding message throughout the day. And while the information-packed focus of this professional development workshop was the Eastern Shore, much of the training is replicable in other areas of Maryland. The University of Maryland Extension reminds us that “most Maryland residents live within a half-mile of a storm drain, stream or river. Most of those waterways eventually drain into the Chesapeake Bay. What we do to maintain our own landscapes can affect the health of our local waterways, the Chesapeake Bay and our environment.”

This workshop was funded by a grant through the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Outreach and Restoration Grant Program. The Trust’s mission to promote public awareness and participation of all local residents in the restoration and protection of our region’s natural resources includes engaging new audiences and partnering with organizations, like ShoreRivers, who recognize the importance of sharing best practices that increase the inclusion of all local residents in the ongoing effort to educate, engage, and restore our natural resources and communities. Thank you ShoreRivers for your innovative idea, logistical planning, and hard work in not only making this event a success but also providing a grass roots outline for others to use!

 

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Perspective: Olivia Wisner

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On August 20th, the Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) will graduate 31 members from 28 host sites and welcome the programs 10th class, with 37 new members assigned to 32 host sites. Created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2010, the CCC provides career and leadership training for young people interested in environmental careers. The insights gained from graduating corps members can shape the potential for environmental science and industry in the future. We are pleased to share Olivia’s (pictured left teaching a 5th grade class) experience here:

As a native Marylander, the Chesapeake Bay has always been an iconic natural resource. Growing up I was taught by outstanding environmental educators, and was fortunate enough to spend every summer with my family crabbing, canoeing, and camping at Janes Island State Park. My early experiences in nature shaped my subsequent education and career interests. I graduated from University of Maryland Baltimore County with a B.S. in Environmental Science, where I learned about the natural processes that take place within the watershed. But it’s been my time with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland (CBNERR-MD) that’s taught me the most about the Chesapeake Bay.

I came to CBNERR-MD in August 2019 as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps Member. The Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) is a professional development program managed by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, providing budding environmental professionals with a year of hands-on full-time experience working with non-profits or organizations that aim to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. I’m glad to have been stationed with CBNERR-MD because of their three unique component sites: Jug Bay, Monie Bay, and Otter Point Creek. I’ve had unforgettable experiences at all three sites, growing my perspective of the Bay as a whole.

Within my first month with CBNERR-MD, I had the opportunity to expand my horizons at Jug Bay. Straddling Prince Georges and Anne Arundel Counties, Jug Bay is a freshwater tidal marsh located along the Patuxent River. I was invited to help Melinda Fegler of the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary with Snakehead monitoring; the infamous invasive fish from Asia. In the early morning we boarded an electrofishing boat and spent hours scanning the edge of the water looking for Snakeheads. We removed five that day, and I scooped the largest one.

My involvement with the Shoring Up Resiliency through Education (SURE) program, allowed me to further explore the realm of environmental education. SURE serves teachers and students surrounding the Monie Bay component of CBNERR-MD. I’ve visited parks, marinas, and schools to help support Somerset County Public School system as they develop an environmental literacy curriculum. This has been an exciting project because I’ve been exposed to the behind the scenes efforts of environmental education.

As my Corps experience is winding down, I’ve had the opportunity to give back to CBNERR-MD through my CCC capstone project at the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center at Otter Point Creek in Harford County. I worked closely with Park Manager Kriste Garman and Park Naturalist Lauren Greoski to design a space, called the Nature Discovery Area, where young visitors can learn about nature through play. It was installed in late June with the help of my fellow Corps Members.

My time as a Corps Member with CBNERR-MD has truly exceeded my expectations. I feel lucky to have worked with an amazing organization, in beautiful locations, doing important work for the Chesapeake Bay all over Maryland.