Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions asked by our members along with the answers and, in many cases, links to further information on the topic. As always, if you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us at member@cbf.org and we'll get a response to you as quickly as possible.

General

Q. Does CBF get the money for the Chesapeake Bay license plates in Maryland and Virginia? How about the money I gave on my state income tax form last year?

A. Both the license plate programs and the income tax check-off programs are fundraising efforts for The Chesapeake Bay Trust (in Maryland) and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund (in Virginia), nonprofit grant making organizations created to promote public awareness and participation in the restoration and protection of the Bay and its tributaries. CBF is not affiliated with the Chesapeake Bay Trust or the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, although we have applied for and received funds from both organizations for various restoration and educational programs.

Q. Do fees assessed on my water/wastewater bill for Bay restoration go to CBF?

A. No. In 2004, the Maryland legislature established the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Restoration Fund (known as the "flush tax") to be supported by a $2.50/month fee on sewer bills and an equivalent $30.00 annual fee on septic system owners. Utilities customers saw a new line item on their quarterly bills beginning January 1, 2005 for $7.50 per quarter ($2.50/month). These funds are collected by each county and turned over to the state, which distributes the funds to utilities to upgrade wastewater treatment plants. The revenues from septic-tank users are used to upgrade or replace failing septic systems and to provide financial assistance to farmers to help plant cover crops to prevent nutrient runoff from agricultural land. More information is available on the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) web site at mde.state.md.us/water/CBWRF/index.asp.

The Chesapeake Bay

Q. How is the Bay doing?

A. The Chesapeake Bay is showing encouraging signs of rebounding but is still in critical condition as a result of pollution. CBF's State of the Bay index that measures the Bay's health jumped three points between 2008 and 2010, with eight of 13 indicators rising. The indicator for the health of the blue crab population spiked 15 points, as the Bay's population increased significantly last year. Also, underwater grasses showed steady progress for the fourth year in a row. But the overall health index of the Bay is 31 out of 100, which means it is still a system dangerously out of balance. Read the full report.

Q. What is the biggest problem facing the Bay?

A. Nitrogen pollution, primarily from agricultural runoff, is the Bay's #1 problem. This overload of pollution seriously impairs the water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers and streams that feed it.

Local Issues

Q. I have a local Bay-related issue going on in my community. Can CBF help?

A. CBF is concerned about local issues—because it's on the local level that most positive changes can and should occur. For obvious reasons, we cannot get involved in every local issue directly, so the approach we have taken is to provide training on a variety of issues to assist citizens in getting their voices heard. The training programs are a part of our Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards (VoiCeS) program. For more information, or to get involved in your area, send an e-mail to chesapeake@cbf.org.

Getting Involved

Q. How can I get involved in CBF?

A. There are several ways you can get involved:

Q. I've heard a lot about CBF's oyster gardening programs. How can I get involved?

A. CBF's oyster restoration program has a variety of efforts baywide to help restore and replenish dangerously low oyster populations. Citizens who live on the water can become oyster gardeners, actually growing oysters off of their docks with "spat" and training provided by CBF. Or you can volunteer to make shellbags or help us transplant adult oysters onto reefs and bars throughout the Bay. Find out more about our oyster restoration programs in Maryland and Virginia.

Donations

Q. May I donate my vehicle (car, truck, RV) to CBF?

A. Yes. Please contact Vehicle Donation to Any Charity (V-DAC) at 877-999-8322 or visit their website at v-dac.com to arrange your donation.

Q. May I donate my boat to CBF?

A. Possibly. Please contact the Membership Department at member@cbf.org or 410-268-8816 and we will consider each donation on a case-by-case basis.

Q. In lieu of wedding gifts, may I designate CBF to receive charitable donations from my friends and family? Will you notify me of the donations received so I can thank the donors?

A. Yes. Please contact the Membership Department at member@cbf.org or 410-268-8816 to make the arrangements.

You can also use our personal online fundraising program to create a personal web page where people can make their donations directly. Learn more at cbf.org/bayraiser.

Q. In lieu of wedding favors I'd like to make a charitable donation to CBF. Will CBF provide a poster or note cards announcing my donation to my guests?

A. Yes. Please contact the Membership Department at member@cbf.org or 410-268-8816 to make the arrangements.

Q. In lieu of flowers, my family would like to designate CBF to receive donations in memory of a loved one. Will you notify me of the donations received so I can thank the contributors?

A. Yes. We gratefully accept memorial donations and are happy to notify the appropriate family member(s) of the names and addresses of all memorial contributors on a monthly basis. Please contact the Membership Department at member@cbf.org or 410-268-8816 to make the arrangements.

You can also use our personal online fundraising program to create a personal web page where people can make their donations directly. Learn more at cbf.org/bayraiser.

Membership

Q. How do I know when my membership expires?

A. Your CBF membership is valid for one year from the date of your initial membership contribution. We'll send you a renewal request two months prior to expiration to make renewing your support as easy as possible. Your annual renewal will advance your membership one year from the expiration date. If you have questions about the status of your membership, please contact the Membership Department at member@cbf.org or 410-268-8816.

Canvassing/Phone Calls/Mail/E-mail

Q. Someone came to my house last night to ask me to support CBF. Is this legitimate?

A. CBF no longer has a canvassing (door-to-door solicitation) program. If you have any questions or concerns about canvassers, please contact the Membership Department at member@cbf.org.

Q. I received a phone call last night from someone claiming to represent CBF. Does CBF contact its members by phone?

A. CBF conducts membership renewal programs by phone two times per year. These calls let our members know that their memberships have expired or are about to expire and give them a quick, convenient method of renewing their support.

Occasionally, we will also call members with special appeals for important programs such as oyster reef restoration or habitat protection programs. We also call our members when their help is urgently needed to pass laws and regulations that protect the Bay. For these advocacy calls, we may ask that members call or write their state or federal representatives.

In most cases, our members are eager to learn about the challenges facing the Bay and what they can do to help. However, if you prefer not to receive telephone calls from CBF, just notify the Membership Department at member@cbf.org and we'll code your record "no call." And, of course, if you have any questions or concerns about a CBF caller, please let us know.

Q. I'm a member of CBF and I've noticed that I'm receiving more mail from other nonprofit organizations. How can I stop the mail?

A. CBF does, on occasion, trade our mail list with other carefully screened nonprofit organizations. If you would prefer that CBF not share your name, simply send your name, address, and member ID number to member@cbf.org and our Member Relations staff will amend your member record.

If you continue to receive unwanted mail, you may also write to the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service and let them know that you want your name removed from all mail lists. The DMA must receive the request from you in writing, and please keep in mind that the service is performed quarterly, so it may take up to three or four months for your request to be activated. You may register online at dmachoice.org or download the registration form from the website and mail it to the address provided.

Q. How do I unsubscribe from CBF e-mail?

A. All e-mails from CBF include a link at the bottom to "Change Your E-mail Preferences." This link will take you to a page where you can choose to unsubscribe from all CBF e-mail or login to your personal My CBF page and select which types of e-mail you wish to subscribe to/unsubscribe from. You can also send an e-mail to webadmin@cbf.org with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line. Please include your name and regular mailing address so that we can be sure to update the correct member record. NOTE: When you create your My CBF online account it will take approximately one business day for your new account to synchronize with our member database. Access to e-mail preferences and other preference and profile tools will be available after the accounts have been synchronized.

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