This summer the Sultana Education Foundation went paddling up Radcliffe Creek with a group of teachers from Kent School, Radcliffe Creek School, and Kent County Middle School as part of a collaborative effort to plan field trips for their 7th grade students during the upcoming school year. On its most recent report card, the Chester River Association (now part of ShoreRivers) gave Radcliffe Creek a grade of “D” for poor water clarity and high nutrient levels. However, on this particular day, the water was running clear and the streambed revealed thick, lush grass beds full of wild celery. Wild celery is a native grass that provides important habitat for a wide variety of marine organisms and serves as an important food source for waterfowl. The short video was filmed and narrated by SEF Vice President Chris Cerino, who expresses his astonishment at the conditions observed in the creek that day.
The proliferation of submerged aquatic vegetation (also known as SAVs) in Radcliffe Creek coincides with an upward trend for grasses Bay-wide. In 2017, the Chesapeake contained over 100,000 acres of SAVs for the first time since scientists started monitoring SAV levels in the late 1970s. The grasses serve as a keystone species for Bay health, as they can only survive in water clear enough to allow sunlight to reach the bottom. Thus, increasing levels of grasses generally coincide with healthier water conditions in the estuary.
The Sultana Education Foundation in Chestertown offers a diverse variety of history and science-based field programs serving students and teachers throughout Maryland and beyond. For more information please go here