At the annual Chesapeake Bay Executive Council meeting in early September, the Bay state governors and other Bay leaders failed to address a glaring problem: Pennsylvania is far behind in meeting its water quality restoration goals, threatening to undermine the entire Bay cleanup effort.
Home to 18 million people and covering 64,000 square miles across six states, the Chesapeake Bay watershed is huge. With this size comes the inevitable need for governments, businesses, and institutions of all sorts to partner together in the name of clean water in our communities and the Chesapeake Bay. But the partnership working to restore the Bay is only as strong as its weakest link.
Also this month, the management of the menhaden fishery took a hit. Menhaden is a keystone species of the Bay and a critical link in the food chain, but the largest harvester of the fish revealed its intent to ignore the harvest limit for Bay menhaden set by the Atlantic Marines Fisheries Commission, the interstate body that manages coastal fisheries.
These two latest examples demonstrate the need for collaboration and teamwork when working towards a goal as complex and challenging as saving the Bay. The ripple effects of decisions made at the northernmost point of the watershed in New York can influence the Bay, as can decisions made at the westernmost point of the watershed in West Virginia. And that reach only increases when you consider the Bay's airshed, an area that spans as far as Indiana and North Carolina.
No one works in a vacuum. At CBF, we continue gathering all stakeholders in the vital work for clean water. From the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance to the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, we can take tangible actions towards saving the Bay. And with the implementation of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint—the ultimate partnership to save the Bay—we can leave a legacy of clean water to future generations.
This Month in the Watershed: PA Struggles, Developing Dead Zone, and Fish Fights
- Menhaden, often called the most important fish in the sea, are under assault again. Omega Protein, the foreign-owned company that harvests the majority of menhaden in the Bay, is ignoring the harvest limit set by the Atlantic Marines Fisheries Commission. (Baltimore Sun—MD) BONUS: CBF Statement
- Maryland's scaled back its initial oyster harvest limits, ultimately damaging efforts to effectively manage oysters to sustainable levels. (Capital Gazette—MD) BONUS: CBF Statement
- CBF Hampton Roads Director Christy Everett writes about the threats offshore drilling poses to the region's economy, environment, and way of life. (Virginian Pilot—VA) BONUS: Take action and add your name to the chorus of voices against expanding oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland!
- The Bay's dead zone is the largest in decades, thanks to record rain and heat across the watershed. (Washington Post)
- At the annual Chesapeake Bay Executive Council meeting, there was no discussion of Pennsylvania's struggles to meet water quality restoration goals, much to the chagrin of environmentalists. (Baltimore Sun—MD) BONUS: Take action and urge EPA to do its job and hold Pennsylvania accountable for its lack of clean water progress.
- Two former EPA Administrators write that Pennsylvania must reduce pollution to its waterways for the Bay to be saved. (Philadelphia Inquirer—PA)
- CBF President Will Baker writes on Virginia's strong plan for clean water and why funding the plan is critical to achieve clean water throughout the Commonwealth. (Daily Press—VA) BONUS: Take action to urge Governor Northam to invest in clean water and fully fund Virginia's Watershed Implementation Plan!
What's Happening around the Watershed in October?
- From Baltimore to Solomons and everywhere in between, there are plenty of opportunities for Marylanders to help grow the Bay's beloved bivalve—the mighty oyster! Join us for a new oyster gardener workshop to get 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 for growing your oysters.
- Fall is here, which means it's time to plant trees with CBF! Join us to plant trees in Kent County, MD or Hopewell, VA and help improve local water quality and wildlife habitat.
Education and Fun
- Cape Charles, VA: Join us October 4 for Eastern Shore Oysters on Tap, where you'll enjoy local farm-raised oysters and delicious craft beer while learning about our beloved Bay-saving bivalve, the oyster.
- Virginia Beach, VA: Join us October 8 as the Brock Environmental Learning Series takes a deep dive into the Chesapeake oyster's past, present, and future. An expert panel will discuss the fossil records of oyster beds, the role the oyster plays in the Bay's ecosystem, and how we can revive the Bay's diminished oyster population.
- Annapolis, MD: Join us for a Bay Discovery Skipjack Trip this fall aboard CBF's historic skipjack Stanley Norman to explore our national treasure and learn how to restore and protect it for future generations.
- CBF's premier adult education course is back. With VoiCeS (Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards) courses throughout the watershed, there's plenty of opportunity to get involved. This course provides in-depth classroom and field sessions on local environmental issues, transforming new volunteers into effective advocates for clean water in local communities and the Chesapeake Bay. Eastern Shore of Maryland | Baltimore | Shenandoah Valley | Hampton Roads
Anne Arundel Rally for Forest Conservation
- Annapolis, MD: Since 2010, Anne Arundel County has lost 2,775 acres of forests—more than any other Maryland county by a wide margin. But Bill #68-19 before the County Council can turn the tide for the county's forests. Join us before the public hearing on this bill, as we rally together to save Anne Arundel County forests and ask the County Council to support the bill.
Issues in this Post
Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint Advocacy Chesapeake Oyster Alliance Dead Zones Eastern Oysters Fisheries Forest Loss Offshore Drilling Smart Growth CBF in Maryland CBF in Virginia Eastern Shore Office Federal Affairs Office Hampton Roads Office Maryland Office, Annapolis Pennsylvania Office Virginia Office, Richmond