This Week in the Watershed: The Ripple Effect

sunny day flooding

Cars cross floodwaters on a roadway during high tide near Norfolk's Lafayette River.

Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff

We face numerous issues cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. And these issues are interconnected. Overdevelopment directly impacts forest loss. The pollution of our air influences the chemical composition of our waters. And as we're seeing more and more in the low-lying areas near the Bay, climate change and sea level rise increases polluted runoff entering our waterways.

On sunny days in coastal Virginia and the Hampton Roads region, rising waters overtakes streets, yards, and parking lots. This tidal flooding is more than just a nuisance, as the composition of the receding waters is severely altered. Washing into the Bay is a toxic concoction of pollutants like pet waste, sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, oil, and automotive fluids.

Just as we cannot address this inundation of polluted runoff from tidal flooding without tackling mitigation efforts to climate change, we can't save the Bay and its rivers and streams by addressing any particular issue in a vacuum. But while issues confronting the Bay are connected, solutions to one issue often offer solutions to other problems.

Restoring oyster reefs alleviates habitat degradation, creating new homes for other critters. Upgrading sewage and septic systems helps shrink dead zones. Efforts to mitigate the harmful impacts from climate change, such as reducing the amount of impervious surfaces, lessens the amount of polluted runoff entering the Bay. Every step we take in the right direction to save the Bay has positive ripple effects. And with the support of our members and the implementation of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, we will continue taking steps to leave a legacy of clean water to future generations.

This Week in the Watershed: Sunny Day Flooding, Climate Orders, and Not Enough Salt

  • The forecast for Chesapeake Bay oysters this season is worrisome due to this summer's record rainfall making the water less salty. (Baltimore Sun—MD)
  • A group of Virginia students got outdoors on the James River as part of a CBF education program. (Progress Index—VA)
  • CBF's Brock Environmental Center might be growing, as the Virginia Beach school system is exploring the possibility of adding a classroom to the building to house an environmental studies program. (Virginian Pilot—VA)
  • The proliferation of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a dangerous toxin once widely used in industry and commerce, is getting the attention of water resource managers, who want to eliminate the contaminant which has harmful public health impacts. (Bay Journal)
  • Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order to help Virginia prepare for future consequences from climate change. (Daily Press—VA)
  • Tidal flooding, a persistent problem throughout coastal Virginia, is negatively impacting water quality. (Virginian Pilot—VA)

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

November 10

  • Baltimore, MD: Join CBF in caring for the next generation of Bay oysters by cleaning oyster cages in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Register here!

November 13

  • Virginia Beach, VA: As more local oyster farms are producing oysters, join us to indulge in some this beloved bivalve and learn more about this growing industry from a local oyster farmer. Learn more and register here!

November 15

  • Annapolis, MD: Join us for a very special evening as author Earl Swift joins us with two prominent lifetime Tangier residents and watermen, Cook Cannon and Ooker Eskridge, for a discussion moderated by CBF President Will Baker on Tangier's past, present, and tenuous future. Register here! Sold Out!

November 17

  • Hopewell, VA: Join us for a fall tree planting at the newly restored Woodlawn Park. Register here!
  • Baltimore, MD: Join CBF in caring for the next generation of Bay oysters by cleaning oyster cages in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Register here!

November 27

  • Everywhere: Mark your calendars for Giving Tuesday, a global movement dedicated to giving back. Stay tuned for details on how you can give to help save the Bay and its rivers and streams!
  • Alexandria, 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 Northern Virginia VoiCeS class is an intensive multi-week course meeting on weekday evenings: Nov 27, 28, and Dec 4, 6, 11, and 12. Learn more and register here!

December 6

  • Easton, MD: Join us for our Chesapeake Book Club, reading Tom Hortons' An Island Out of Time: A Memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake. Learn more and register here!
Drew Robinson 90x110

Drew Robinson

Former Digital Advocacy and Outreach Manager, CBF

Issues in this Post

Climate Change   Air Pollution   Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint   Dead Zones   Eastern Oysters   Habitat Loss   Runoff Pollution   Sea-Level Rise   Sewage & Septic Systems   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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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 advocating for a clean Bay, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

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