West and Rhode Riverkeeper

We work with our community to enforce environmental law, to
promote restoration, and to advocate for better environmental policy.
Contact us: 410-867-7171  ♦  4800 Atwell Rd, #6, Shady Side, MD 20764

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Southern Middle Students Plant 280 Trees in Galesville Park

Seventh-grade students planted tress on a half-acre of land in in Galesville Park on Friday.

By Kaitlyn Carr, The Patch

Southern Middle School students were busy on Friday planting more than 200


About 50 seventh-grade students from Southern Middle School planted approximately 280 trees on a half-acre in Galesville Park. According to Joe Ports, a restoration coordinator, the goal of the project was to transform some un-utilized turf grass into a forested buffer to protect the nearby Lerch Creek that is a tributary of the West River.

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Recreational and Charter Blue Crab Regulatory Proposal

Maryland’s current recreational blue crab license structure has shortcomings which are recognized by crabbers, enforcement officers, and fishery managers alike. Recreational crabbers find it complicated and confusing.  Natural Resources Police have a hard time explaining its multiple catch limits and different gears to help crabbers understand and follow the rules.  And fishery managers do not have the information on recreational harvest needed to make management decisions.  The impact of the recreational blue crab license shortcomings also extends to Maryland’s budding eco-tourism industry and terrapin conservation efforts.

All these problems make it clear that something must be done.  Fisheries Service has identified a way to fix the problems by restructuring the recreational and charter crabbing license structure.  We have developed a draft regulatory proposal which simplifies the recreational crabbing license structure and modifies it to provide better estimates of recreational catch and effort. It would also implement a waterfront property crab pot license and mechanism to notify waterfront property owner’s with crab pots of measures to conserve terrapins. The proposal provides a crabbing charter decal to facilitate development of charter crabbing and eco-tourism businesses, and increases non-resident recreational crabbing license fees to address stakeholder concerns about congestion at boat ramps and on the water.
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Illegal dumping, litter adds up to big problems for water quality

By Wanda Gooden, DVIDS
April 23, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - A cigarette butt carelessly tossed out a car window. A fast food bag tossed along the side of the road. An open motor oil container left in a parking lot. You’ve seen it and wondered why someone would do these things. You might also agree that these things are unsightly, but not everyone realizes that litter and illegal dumping add up to a big water quality problem for the Chesapeake Bay region. Trash travels. 

So, what happens to that cigarette butt that is tossed on the ground? Here, in the urban Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the butts are frequently picked up by rain water and washed into the nearest storm drain. From there, they are given an express ride through the moving water network and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay where they can remain for a long time. We know that this body of water is already stressed. 

Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic material which is slow to break down. While the butts are hanging around in the water waiting to degrade, substances can leach out of the butts and present a toxic threat to aquatic animals. 

Another big component of the litter waste stream is plastic. Plastic is present in many of the things we use every day: plastic shopping bags, straws, food utensils, as a wrapping for food and consumer goods – the list goes on and on. 

Unfortunately, many of these plastics wind up as litter that finds its way into the environment when it is not recycled or properly managed in a waste landfill or incinerator. Plastics can take years to break down and can persist in water bodies where they can entangle and choke the life out of aquatic animals. 

While littering usually refers to the careless disposal of waste materials, illegal dumping usually refers to the intentional disposal of large amounts of trash, used oil and vehicle fluids, construction and demolition materials (drywall, roofing shingles, concrete) and large items such as tires, appliances, and furniture, into unpermitted areas. Waterways, stream banks and abandoned/unsecure areas are likely targets where people dump their “stuff.”

Pouring certain liquid wastes, or discarding trash down storm drains can also be considered illegal dumping. Illegally dumped wastes frequently contain hazardous and toxic materials that can harm the environment, people and animals. Litter and illegal dumping are both prohibited in virtually every jurisdiction in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Data collected from the International Coastal Cleanup in 2011 indicated that cigarettes were the number one item collected from beaches and inland waters around the world. Plastics were among the other items in the top 10. Over 81,000 items tallied in the “dumping activities” category were collected from the U.S. alone during this same cleanup event. These included refrigerators, washers, 55-gallon drums, batteries, tires, and construction materials. 

Now, what can you do to prevent litter? Changing a common behavior, like littering, starts with you. You must accept responsibility for your actions and influence the actions of others around you and in the community at large. We all contribute to the problem, so we must all be part of the solution. According to the Keep America Beautiful Campaign, you can start with these actions: 

• Choose not to litter. Make the commitment now to join with thousands of other Americans to not be a litter-bug. 
• Join with others on Facebook. Get your friends and family to join. 
• Remind others not to litter and why. 
• Get a litter bag, and if you smoke, a portable ash receptacle to share – keep these in your car. 
• Volunteer in your community to help prevent and cleanup litter — from cigarette butts to illegal dumps. Join the International Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 21, 2013. 

JBM-HH’s Directorate of Environmental Management needs your help in preventing the installation from being a source of pollutants to the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. This involves not littering or dumping waste. Help JBM-HH become the benchmark for lessening the impacts of its activities on the sensitive waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Fort Myer and portions of Fort McNair have storm drain systems that are intended to collect only storm water. Anything that gets into the storm drains at both installations will flow directly or indirectly to the Potomac River. The storm drains are not connected to a wastewater treatment plant. 

While prevention is the key, relying on public reporting can be effective as an anti-illegal dumping measure. DEM asks that you report illegal dumping, pollution, or anything you see on the installation that could impact water quality or the environment. DEM will investigate all reports and take actions needed to keep the environment clean and to protect water quality. You can report your observations in one of several ways: calling DEM directly at 703-696-8055/8513; stopping by DEM, Bldg. 321 on Stewart Road on the Fort Myer portion of JBM-HH; or by downloading and completing an environmental incident eport form, available at the JBM-HH homepage, www.army.mil/jbmhh/web/jbmhh/directorates/environmentalmanagement.html. 

Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/105609/illegal-dumping-litter-adds-up-big-problems-water-quality#.UXaEaRxIRCe#ixzz2RI7B0fHc
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Chesapeake Bay survey shows drop in blue crab population, but spawning-age females increased

By Associated Press

Published: April 19

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The number of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay has dropped steeply, according to an annual survey released Friday, and Maryland officials said they will work with the crabbing industry to reduce bushel limits by about 10 percent for female crabs this year.

On a positive note, the number of spawning-age females increased by 52 percent after troubling numbers last year. The 2013 winter dredge survey, which samples about 1,500 sites across the bay, found the total number of blue crabs fell from 765 million to 300 million. The number of juvenile crabs fell from 581 million to 111 million.

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CEPA Forum on the Future of Fisheries, SERC, April 20

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Camp Letts project stems stormwater runoff

By E.B. FURGURSON III, The Capital
April 15, 2013

Experts say it is the type of project that can help fix what ails the Chesapeake Bay.

Experts and state officials joined YMCA Camp Letts and local conservationists on Saturday to unveil a sediment and nutrient control system built to stop runoff from the camp’s equestrian center from reaching the Rhode River.

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Environmentalists have mixed success in General Assembly

By PAMELA WOOD, The Capital
April 9, 2013

Environmental activists defeated a last-minute push by some state lawmakers to delay stormwater fees that will pay for Chesapeake Bay pollution projects.

On the last day of the General Assembly session, some legislators attempted to put off the new fees until 2015. The measure passed the state Senate but was not considered in the House of Delegates.

So, the stormwater fees — dubbed a “rain tax” by some — will be collected this summer, as scheduled.

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Crabs, supersized by carbon pollution, may upset Chesapeake’s balance

By Darryl Fears, The Washington Post
April 7, 2013

It is the dawn of the super crab.

Crabs are bulking up on carbon pollution that pours out of power plants, factories and vehicles and settles in the oceans, turning the tough crustaceans into even more fearsome predators.

That presents a major problem for the Chesapeake Bay, where crabs eat oysters. In a life-isn’t-fair twist, the same carbon that crabs absorb to grow bigger stymies the development of oysters.

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Smithsonian Scientists Launch 100-Year Project to Examine the Future of Forests

Smithsonian Newsroom

Newswise — A century from now researchers will gather data from a forest in Maryland to see how, during the previous 100 years, varying levels of species diversity affected its development and how the forest reacted to climate change. The information researchers garner could be critical for conservation, and they will have Smithsonian scientists who planted the entire forest back in 2013 to thank.

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Ability of oysters to denitrify Bay surprises scientists

One acre of the restored Shoal Creek reef could remove 543 pounds of nitrogen in a year.

By: Karl Blankenship, Bay Journal
March 1, 2013

On a warm summer morning, Lisa Kellogg and her colleagues were racing with the tide.

While the ocean water was low on the seaside of Virginia's Eastern Shore, her crew was scooping up the exposed oysters and sediment and placing them onto circular trays.

They took care to ensure that any worms and other organisms burrowing in the sediment were part of the move, as well as any tiny mussels and clams latched onto the oyster shells.


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