I Can See Clearly Now...But What About Tomorrow?

Mra_wadeinThis weekend I went to the Magothy River Association's (MRA) annual "Magothy River Celebration" and wade-in. It was my first wade-in, and not owning a pair of white sneakers I kept a keen eye on my toes. I was pleasantly surprised when we progressed beyond the MRA-planted SAV bed before our feet disappeared from view. The official measurement: water clarity to a depth of 39 inches--up three inches from last year.

The SAV bed didn't have any effect on the water clarity, as the wild celery season is past. The most significant impact has likely been this summer's drought, lessening the amount of runoff and sediment into the river.

Two years ago, however, the difference in water clarity by the grass beds "was amazing!" Claudia Donegan, team coordinator for DNR's Lower Western Shore Tributaries Team, told me. She came out to take the official measurements. At that time, MRA had planted redhead grasses near Little Dobbins Island.

"The plants slow down the velocity of the water and the sediment drops out, making it clearer," she explained.

The MRA is also active in another water quality effort--restocking the Magothy with oysters. This month's Bay Journal carries a story about CBF's aquaculture efforts on the York River. While the article focuses on the potential for aquaculture to help Virginia's trouble oyster industry, back here we were talking about cleaning up the river. According to Dick Carey, who coordinates the organization's oyster restoration efforts, we need at least 125 acres of oyster beds to clean the Magothy; there are currently about 10. Planting a maximum two million spat per acre, that means we need 125 million healthy, reproducing oysters! Not only that, with a 50% mortality rate, we need to plant twice that amount to have a chance at success.

The widespread improvement of water clarity following a short-lived influx of dark false mussels in 2004 shows the significant impact these mollusks can have on our waters. But it's clear (no pun intended) that it will take strong leadership and commitment if it's ever to become a reality.

(Kim Ethridge is a CBF staff member and a member of the Magothy River Association) 

Kim Ethridge

   Please leave this field empty
Stay up to date about the Bay!




DISCLAIMER

PLEASE READ OUR TERMS OF USE

The views and opinions expressed in the media, articles or comments on this site are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by CBF and the inclusion of such information does not imply endorsement by CBF. CBF is not responsible for the contents of any linked Web, or any link contained in a linked Web site, or any changes or updates to such Web sites. The inclusion of any link or comment is provided only for information purposes. CBF reserves the right to edit or remove any comments and material posted to this website and to ban users from the site without notice. Partisan, pornographic or other inappropriate content, product or service promotion, foul language or bad behavior is expressly forbidden and will be removed.


Decades of Success: The 1970s

Even as a young organization, our work was effective and got noticed. Find out what we did.

Explore Our Timeline

Volunteer

Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or helping in our offices, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

Volunteer