This Week in the Watershed: If You Build It They Will Come

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It goes without saying, but the Bay looked awfully different when Captain John Smith first navigated its waters in 1608. The journals of Smith reveal a Bay bursting with life. In particular, Smith wrote that oysters "lay as thick as stones."

These oysters formed reefs so healthy and large that they later posed navigational hazards to ships sailing up and down the Chesapeake. Not only do oysters serve as filtering powerhouses, with a single adult oyster filtering up to 50 gallons of water each day, but oyster reefs form perfect habitat for other creatures like blue crabs and fish that make their home in the Bay. An excerpt from Smith's journal reveals the extent of the fisheries in the Bay on his first journey—

"[We found an] aboundance [sic] of fish, lying so thicke [sic] with their heads above the water, as for want of nets…neither better fish, more plenty, nor more variety for smal [sic] fish, had any of us ever seene [sic] in any place so swimming in the water."

Fast forward 400 years, and the Bay's native oyster population is a fraction of historical levels. But around the Bay, restoration efforts to restore the native oyster population are making headway. One of these places is Virginia's Lafayette River. Thanks to federal investment, including a $200,000 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant awarded to CBF and the Elizabeth River Project to construct 5.5 new acres of oyster reefs, the Lafayette is on track to becoming the first river in Virginia to meet Bay-wide goals for oyster restoration.

And not only are these oysters cleaning the Lafayette's waters, but it is once again bursting with life. The revival of diverse and abundant life around these resurrected oyster reefs recalls a line from Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come."

We're working to continue building these vital oyster reefs. Oyster restoration is one of the best tools we have for cleaning up the Bay and revitalizing local fisheries. But we need your help. Donate right now to help us plant more oysters. Every dollar you give is enough to plant 100 more baby oysters!

This Week in the Watershed: Dirty Air, Agricultural Backlog, and Bivalve Buzz

  • Lovers of oysters, beware—climate change will likely endanger the consumption of the Bay's beloved bivalve. (The Virginian Pilot—VA)
  • Maryland is suing the EPA to address air pollution that blows from upwind states. (Baltimore Sun—MD)
  • CBF received more than $1 million to help Maryland farmers tackle a massive backlog of projects to improve water quality in Maryland's rivers and streams. (Frederick News Post—MD)
  • The good news for Virginia's Lafayette River continues, as grants were awarded to CBF and the Elizabeth River Project to plant 5.5 new acres of oyster reefs near the mouth of the river. (The Virginian Pilot—VA) BONUS: CBF Press Statement
  • It might surprise you, but cover crops have a direct impact on your next blue crab feast. (American Agriculturalist)
  • Atlantic menhaden, often called, "the most important fish in the sea," are at the center of a battle between short-term economic gain and long-term ecological health. (Free Lance Star—VA)
  • Join us at CBF's upcoming event on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the Rod and Reef Slam, and discover how it's not your average fishing tournament. (Capital Gazette—MD)

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

October 1

  • Upper Marlboro, MD: Join us for a fun-filled afternoon with friends, live music, craft-brewed beers, and mouth-watering food created by area chefs using local ingredients at CBF's Burgers and Brews for the Bay. A family friendly event, it features live bluegrass music, hay rides, fish printing, and educational stations. Buy your tickets now!

October 6

  • Annapolis, MD: Help grow the Bay's beloved bivalve–the mighty oyster! Join us for a new oyster gardener workshop to the supplies and training necessary to grow your own oysters. During the two-hour workshop, you will learn about oyster ecology, the importance of oysters to the Chesapeake Bay, and how to care for your oyster garden. You will also construct four oyster gardening cages that you will use to grow your oysters. Click here to register!

October 7

  • Sherwood, MD: Help us prove that oyster restoration is making a difference. Join us for our Rod and Reef Slam Fishing Tournament! Compete to catch (and release!) the largest number of fish species on three restored oyster reefs: the Tilghman Reef just outside Knapps Narrows, the Harris Creek reefs, and the Cook's Point reef ball field in the mouth of the Choptank. Don't fish? Register for the afterparty only and enjoy food, entertainment, a cash bar, and loads of information about what restored oyster reefs mean for fish in the Bay. Space is limited, register now!

October 9

  • Frederick, MD: Join us for our most in-depth adult education program available to our members and the public. VoiCeS, which stands for Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards, is a program to reach out to local volunteers and their communities to create a deeper understanding of the Bay and the efforts to restore it. The Frederick VoiCeS class is a six-week course meeting on Mondays, starting October 9. Click here to register!

October 10

  • Alexandria, VA: Join us for a Clean Water Breakfast to learn how Virginia is faring toward reaching its water quality goals and what you can do. Alexandria Renew's CEO, Karen Pallansch, will speak on the water quality challenges next administration will need to tackle and our asks of the next Governor. Click here to register!
  • Hopewell, VA: Join us for our most in-depth adult education program available to our members and the public. VoiCeS, which stands for Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards, is a program to reach out to local volunteers and their communities to create a deeper understanding of the Bay and the efforts to restore it. The Hopewell VoiCeS class is a five-week course meeting on Tuesdays, starting October 10. Click here to register!

October 12

  • Virginia Beach, VA: Join us for a Clean Water Breakfast and hear from Chris Moore, CBF's Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist and Kyle Hart, Virginia Conservation Network's Wildlife & Sportsman Organizer on how the health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved as well as the challenges facing Virginia's next governor to improve water quality, enhance fisheries, and expand wildlife habitat. Click here to register!

October 14

  • Baltimore, MD: The Great Baltimore Oyster Festival returns to Baltimore's Inner Harbor! Benefiting CBF and the Waterfront Partnership's Healthy Harbor Initiative, the festival includes live music, oysters (raw, fried, and grilled), seafood dishes from local restaurants, beer, wine, and specialty cocktails, and family-friendly activities. The event is free to attend but you need to purchase a ticket to eat oysters. Buy tickets here!

October 15

  • Solomons, MD: Returning oyster gardeners can pick up their spat for the fall/winter season. Click here to register!

October 21

  • Washington County, MD: Come help CBF plant more than 1,000 trees and shrubs. This planting is the final stage of restoring a floodplain in the Antietam Creek watershed. Click here to register!
  • Annapolis, MD: Help grow the Bay's beloved bivalve–the mighty oyster! Join us for a new oyster gardener workshop to the supplies and training necessary to grow your own oysters. During the two-hour workshop, you will learn about oyster ecology, the importance of oysters to the Chesapeake Bay, and how to care for your oyster garden. You will also construct four oyster gardening cages that you will use to grow your oysters. Click here to register!
  • Annapolis, MD: Returning oyster gardeners can pick up their spat for the fall/winter season. Click here to register!

October 22

  • Shady Side, MD: Help grow the Bay's beloved bivalve–the mighty oyster! Join us for a new oyster gardener workshop to the supplies and training necessary to grow your own oysters. During the two-hour workshop, you will learn about oyster ecology, the importance of oysters to the Chesapeake Bay, and how to care for your oyster garden. You will also construct four oyster gardening cages that you will use to grow your oysters. Click here to register!
  • Shady Side, MD: Returning oyster gardeners can pick up their spat for the fall/winter season. Click here to register!

October 28

  • Frederick County, MD: Come help CBF plant more than 1,000 trees and shrubs along Israel Creek on a beef cattle farm in Frederick County. Approximately 5,000 feet of stream banks will be planted resulting is five acres of new riparian buffer. Israel Creek is in the Monocacy River watershed, which flows to the Potomac River then to the Chesapeake Bay. Click here to register!

November 4

  • Frederick County, MD: Come help CBF plant more than 800 trees on a beautiful, diversified farm that grows organic vegetables, 100-percent grass fed beef, pastured pork, and pastured poultry. After the planting, stick around to get a farm tour to see sustainable agriculture in practice and learn more about it firsthand. Click here to register!
Drew Robinson 90x110

Drew Robinson

Digital Advocacy and Outreach Manager, CBF

drobinson@cbf.org

Issues in this Post

Habitat Degradation   Advocate   Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint   Community   Conservation   Eastern Oysters   Events   Fisheries   Fishing   Food and Drink   Fun   Habitat Degradation   Sustainability   Water Quality   What We Have to Lose   CBF in Maryland   CBF in Virginia   Eastern Shore Office   Federal Affairs Office   Hampton Roads Office   Maryland Office, Annapolis   Pennsylvania Office   Virginia Office, Richmond  




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