CBF experiment: a large man-made oyster reef that revives the dead zone

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The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today began a first-of-its kind experiment in Maryland: build and monitor a giant man-made oyster reef to test whether such reefs can break up dead zones of low oxygen. The project is part of the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance initiative to add 10 billion new oysters to the Chesapeake by 2025.

“We know historic oyster reefs grew up into the water column. They likely looked more like mini Manhattan skylines than the flat oyster beds we think of today. This project will test whether man-made oyster reefs with vertical structure agitate currents and break up dead zones” said CBF Maryland Fisheries Scientist Dr. Allison Colden.

CBF today deployed the first of 240 concrete reef balls at a site above the Rt. 50 Severn River Bridge. The balls are only two-feet tall, but they might offer enough resistance to existing river currents to create turbulence, and increase dissolved oxygen. Traditional oyster reefs would have grown much higher, but those were knocked down over many decades of oyster harvesting.

CBF will monitor the reef through the summer, in partnership with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and the Naval Academy.

Research already has demonstrated that oyster reefs with vertical structure create rich habitat for fish and other marine life, and also filter water. This reef project will test whether such reefs offer the additional benefit of breaking up low-oxygen zones where fish and other creatures can’t live.

The site of the project is called Winchester Lump. It is a rise in the river bottom where an historic oyster reef once existed. In the summer oxygen levels plunge at the Lump as they do in many areas around the Bay as algae blooms fed by nutrient pollution die off and rob the water of oxygen. Dr. Andrew Muller of the Oceanography Department of the U.S. Naval Academy, and CBF Senior Naturalist John Page Williams have documented hypoxia at the site. With concrete balls added to the top of the Lump, the reef may achieve enough height to agitate currents, and increase oxygen levels.

The reef balls also were set with an estimated 400,000 baby oysters at CBF’s Oyster Restoration Center in Shady Side. CBF has been using the concrete balls for years as an artificial home for oysters. Larvae attach themselves to the concrete much like they would to traditional reefs made of old shell. While mortality is an expected feature of all oyster reefs, other man-made reefs in the Severn River have survived and thrived.

The main difference in this reef project, however, is that sophisticated underwater equipment provided by UMCES will monitor the impact of the 240 balls on currents. CBF also will monitor for dissolved oxygen and other conditions at the reef during the summer when hypoxia, or low oxygen, is typically at its worst. Those results will be compared to monitoring data taken prior to reef construction.

The Chesapeake Oyster Alliance is a broad partnership designed to spark governmental action, public attention, and funding to accelerate ongoing oyster restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay. The ambitious goal of this collaborative effort is to add 10 billion new oysters by 2025 in Virginia and Maryland waters.

The Winchester Lump project not only will add potentially 400,000 oysters to the Alliance goal, but could create significant motivation to accelerate oyster restoration in the Chesapeake given the multiple benefits of oyster reefs.

Former Riverkeeper Tom Leigh to Help Eastern Shore Localities

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Tom Leigh, a former local Riverkeeper and Chesapeake Bay Trust program director, has been hired as a clean water expert to counsel multiple Eastern Shore localities. Leigh will provide technical support to four municipalities and two counties as they reduce water pollution. Much like small churches on the Shore used to share a circuit rider preacher, the localities will share Leigh’s expertise on cleaning up local creeks.

Leigh’s position is being funded through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction grants program, as well as matching funds from the six localities and the Maryland Department of the Environment. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) spearheaded the creation of the position, and applied for the grant. Leigh technically will be an employee of CBF during the three-year grant period, but he will directly support the six localities in their efforts to reduce water pollution, and clean up local creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

“This is an exciting beginning of a new model for cooperation and cost savings in cleaning up Eastern Shore water,” said Alan Girard, director of the CBF Eastern Shore Office.

The new position to be occupied by Leigh is one part of a wider collaboration between the localities to reduce polluted runoff from streets, parking lots, and other hard surfaces. This is the only major source of water pollution that is rising in Maryland. Finding ways to reduce runoff once a landscape is developed is challenging. The six localities decided that sharing resources to address this problem is more efficient and effective. The collaborative was born from a series of discussions hosted by local officials and partners called the Healthy Waters Round Table.

The six localities are Talbot and Queen Anne’s counties, and the municipalities of Easton, Salisbury, Oxford and Cambridge.

Leigh was a natural choice to serve as a shared expert by the localities. He formerly held positions as a water quality advocate with the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy and the Chester River Association. He also worked as the director of programs and partnerships for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, managing a significant portion of the organization’s grant portfolio. Leigh served as an independent contractor for the University of Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology in Queenstown where he developed a compendium of pollution-reduction practices for local governments, organizations and private landowners. Earlier in his career, Leigh also was a project manager for Environmental Concern, Inc. in St. Michaels. He has lived most of his life on the Eastern Shore.

“With Tom’s leadership, CBF will work seamlessly with our partner counties and towns on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to plan, prioritize, and streamline projects that control polluted runoff,” Girard said. “Tom also will leverage new resources. Our goal is to clean our water faster, and to test a model for locally-shared technical service that can be replicated throughout Maryland and beyond.”

This work is made possible by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction grants program, which supports efforts within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to accelerate nutrient and sediment reductions with innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective approaches.

CBF Annual Photo Contest Gets Under Way

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The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) 13th annual watershed photo contest is now underway. Photo submissions are being accepted between now and April 6. Photographers of all skill levels are encouraged to participate to win cash prizes of from $100 to $500, and to have their photos featured in CBF’s award-winning publications.

We are seeking photographs that illustrate the positive aspects of the Bay and its rivers and streams. We want to see your vision of the Bay region—from Pennsylvania to Virginia, from the Shenandoah Mountains to the Eastern Shore. Images depicting people, wildlife, recreation, and farms within the watershed will all be considered. All photos must include water from the Chesapeake Bay or a river, stream, creek, or other body of water in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“I am always amazed by the talent the contestants show in their photos,” said Jennifer Wallace, CBF managing editor and contest organizer. “It’s wonderful to see how connected and aware people are of our great rivers, streams, and the Bay.”

All winners will receive a one-year membership to CBF and winning photos may be displayed on CBF’s website, in a CBF e-newsletter, in CBF’s 2019 calendar, and in CBF’s award-winning magazine, Save the Bay.

Judging will be conducted by a panel of CBF employees on the basis of subject matter, composition, focus, lighting, uniqueness, and impact. The public will also be able to vote online for their favorite photo in the Viewers’ Choice Gallery, starting April 16.

Last year the judges considered more than 1,000 entries. Participation in the Viewers’ Choice Award was outstanding, too, with more than 2,400 votes cast.

Contest rules and details are available online at cbf.org/photocontest.

CBF Notes: How About Home-Grown Oysters and Wine?

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Crabs and Old Bay. Rockfish and lemon butter. Crab cakes and tartar sauce. The bounty of the Chesapeake Bay presents plenty of delectable combinations.

What about a new tradition: home-grown oysters and wine?

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) invites you to “Oysters & Wine on the Eastern Shore” on Sunday, Jan. 21 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to learn how this unconventional pair is perfect together, and also to learn about oyster farming on the Shore, and other oyster-related issues.

The event will be held at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, 114 South Washington Street, Easton.

Oyster aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry on the Shore, thanks in part to a 2010 change in state policy that created new opportunities for oyster farming. The state has approved about 400 shellfish aquaculture leases for 173 different leaseholders covering about 6,100 acres. It’s a $5 million industry, and growing, with production increased 1,000 percent since 2012.

Listen to local oyster growers tell their stories, and enjoy a selection of farmed oysters paired with a variety of wines, champagne, and craft beer. Heavy hors d’oeuvres, Smith Island cake, music by local favorite Kentavious Jones, and a CBF membership are all included in the ticket price–$35 with advance purchase at cbf.org/oystersandwine.

Oysters will be featured from Orchard Point Oyster Company, Hoopers Island Oyster Company, and Madhouse Oysters. Representatives from those oyster farms will be present to speak and answer questions. Oyster policy experts and scientists will also be on hand to provide information.

Johnny Shockley, a founding partner in Hoopers Island Oyster Company, recently hosted staff and board members from CBF at his new hatchery, the state’s first large private oyster hatchery built in decades. The 12,000-square-foot building is a sign of the potential growth in the industry on the Shore. The company plans to produce 700 million oyster larvae a year, some of which will be used to grow its own oysters, and some of which will be sold to other growers. Hoopers just announced the beginning of such sales this month.

A third-generation waterman from Hoopers Island, Shockley crabbed and harvested wild oysters for 30 years. His goal is not only to grow the aquaculture industry in Maryland, but also to revive the local Eastern Shore economy, and help create a sustainable oyster population.

If you are like us, you will find Johnny’s remarks, as well as those of other oyster farmers, fascinating. They also will show you the best way to eat an oyster. There’s more to it than you might think!

Tom Zolper is the assistant media director at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“Most Important Fish in the Bay” Film at Library Oct. 23

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Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Monday, October 23, 6 p.m. at the Kent County Public Library (Yellow Building) in downtown Chestertown for an evening of all things menhaden. CBF is screening the short film Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay, followed by a discussion of the current state of the fishery in the Chesapeake. CBF’s Maryland Senior Scientist Doug Myers will describe the critical role that menhaden play in the Bay’s food web and answer questions from the audience.

Menhaden face potential new threats along the Atlantic coast. Right now, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is responding by considering revisions to its fishery management plan. One proposed amendment to the plan could help keep more fish in the water by including important guidelines—called “ecological reference points.” These will help fishery managers ensure that enough of these essential fish remain in the water, serving their role as a vital food source for rockfish, osprey, and countless other Bay critters.

Any threat to this critical fish is also a threat to the numerous animals that rely on it. Learn more about the current state of this fishery and what you can do to help on October 23rd. This event is free and open to the public. Contact Hilary Gibson at hgibson@cbf.org or call 410/543-1999 with questions.

If you can’t make the event, you can still make your voice heard. Written comments on ASMFC’s Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden will be accepted through Tuesday, October 24, 2017. Comments can be sent to comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Draft Amd. 3). More information on menhaden and what you can do is at cbf.org/menhaden.

 

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Join Other Groups in Suit Against EPA

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The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and six regional and national groups concerned with human health and a clean environment today filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The organizations want federal action to stop 19 out-of-state power plants from harming Marylanders and the Chesapeake Bay.

“Last week the State of Maryland sued the EPA to force the agency to stop air pollution from hurting Marylanders. The lawsuit today supports the state’s decisive step. It also highlights how the same pollutants harming our children are degrading water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and streams. Fish are having as much trouble breathing as people because of these 19 power plants,” said Jon Mueller, Vice President of Litigation at CBF.

The 19 plants are in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky. All are coal-fired plants. A total of 36 generating units at the plant are targeted by the lawsuit. Their air pollution emissions drift to Maryland and other downwind states. Maryland and other parts of the Chesapeake Bay region are vulnerable to emissions from a vast 570,000 square-mile Chesapeake “airshed” that stretches from North Carolina to Canada and as far west as the Ohio Valley.

One part of the emissions, nitrogen oxides (NOx), often turns to ozone in the hot summer months. Ozone, sometimes called smog, makes it difficult for many people to breathe. On 14 days this past summer ozone levels were so high a Code Orange Air Quality Alert was issued for the Baltimore area, meaning the air was unhealthy for seniors, children and others with sensitivities.

NOx, being a form of nitrogen, also harms the Chesapeake and the streams and rivers that feed it. Excess nitrogen fuels algal blooms that result in underwater dead zones where aquatic life can’t breathe.

EPA promised in the regional Bay clean-up plan called the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint that it would lower the amount of nitrogen emitted into the atmosphere yet is has refused to respond to Maryland’s petition. If it did respond nitrogen levels would come down.

In fact, if the 19 plants used their pollution controls effectively through the summer they would send about 39,000 fewer tons of NOx to Maryland each summer, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). That reduction would make the air and water significantly healthier in Maryland. Simply turning those technologies on fully, in fact, would bring all of Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area closer to compliance with clean air standards for ozone, according to MDE.
EPA is obligated by law to hold a public hearing and to timely respond to Maryland’s petition. EPA has failed in both respects and has shown no signs of acting. The six environmental and public health groups have no choice but to ask a federal judge to hold EPA accountable.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. It requests EPA act on this interstate air pollution problem. The “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act requires states to ensure that air pollution generated in their home states not harm downwind states.

Participating in the lawsuit are: CBF (lead counsel), Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Environmental Integrity Project, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Adirondack Council.
The State of Maryland filed a similar lawsuit against EPA last week.

Diversity matters in this different kind of fishing tournament

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A different kind of fishing tournament here on Oct. 7 will give anglers advanced notice of the best fishing spots in the area, and will award prizes for the diversity of fish netted, not just size. It’s the Rod & Reef Slam, a celebration of the Chesapeake Bay fisherman’s best friend: an oyster reef.

Sponsored by Coastal Conservation Association, Maryland; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF); the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative; and NOAA, the Slam is taking registrations here and at hgibson@cbf.org and 302-388-7659.

The late Clint Waters of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association (MSSA) used to tell his fellow anglers that “the best fishing hole” in the Choptank River was a place called Cook’s Point. Waters wasn’t telling fish stories when he reported that he routinely caught up to seven different species there: striped bass, hardhead, white perch, spot, and more. Some fishermen have even snagged legal black sea bass, fish rarely seen around the Chesapeake over the past 100 years.

Cook’s Point is an oyster reef near the mouth of the Choptank – a man-made reef at that. It is one of three such reefs that anglers will fish on at the Rod & Reef Slam. The others are Harris Creek and the Tilghman Island Artificial Reef just outside Knapps Narrows.

“Fish love oyster reefs like humans like a buffet line. As a result, recreational fishermen also love oyster reefs,” said John Page Williams, a CBF naturalist and widely known angler.

Oysters are called a keystone species in the Chesapeake. Oyster reefs are more than just mounds of shell; they form a foundation of the entire Bay ecosystem. They filter the water. And the intricate latticework of shells provides vital habitat for many small plants and animals that make their homes on reefs. Barnacles, mussels, and bryozoans attach to the oyster shells. Other animals like redbeard sponges, flower-like anemones, and feathery hydroids branch out into the water. Mobile invertebrates such as mud crabs, oyster drills and grass shrimp inhabit the nooks and crannies. Small fish like blennies, gobies and skillet-fish feed on the reefs, and attract larger animals such as striped bass and blue crabs.

But the benefits of these reefs are sometimes lost in debates about the cost of restoring oysters in Maryland. Some critics have questioned the tens of millions of dollars (mostly in federal money) that has been spent to restore over nearly 600 acres of oyster reefs in Harris Creek, the Little Choptank River and the Tred Avon River.

These man-made reefs are showing real promise in their primary job: growing oysters. The latest report about on the Harris Creek project, for instance, found 97 percent of the area meeting minimal density standards for a restored reef, and 80 percent meeting optimal standards.

But just as the Harris Creek reef seems to be doing so well, some critics are questioning the state’s plan to finish large projects on the Little Choptank, and Tred Avon, as well as man-made reefs planned for the future.

The Rod & Reef Slam is meant to remind us of the benefits from such projects. Recreational fishermen typically understand those benefits. For instance, the Dorchester Chapter of the MSSA (of which Clint Waters was president) partnered with CBF and the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative to submerge more than 650 “reef balls” with baby oysters below the Bill Burton fishing pier in Cambridge – to attract fish.

Where you find oysters, you’ll find fish, and fishermen.

The tournament cost is $50, which covers entry fee, after party food, giveaways, live entertainment and access to a cash bar. Youth ages 16 and under may participate for free with a participating adult. Tickets for $10 are available for after party food and entertainment only. Lines in will be 6:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 and lines out 2:30 p.m. Powerboat, kayak, and youth divisions. More information here or at 302-388-7659 or hgibson@cbf.org.

CBF: Pennsylvania Still a Problem with Nitrogen in the Bay

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The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) assessment of progress made implementing milestone commitments in 2016 found Maryland and Virginia largely on track to meet commitments for reducing pollution and Pennsylvania falling significantly short in reducing nitrogen pollution.

“While there is significant room for improvement in all the states, it is important to note that reduced pollution is benefitting the Bay. Over time, the dead zone is getting smaller, Bay grasses are at record levels, and oysters are rebounding,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “The success all three states have had in reducing pollution from sewage treatment plants is important, but it also masks shortfalls in each of the states’ efforts to reduce pollution from agriculture and urban/suburban runoff. Continued federal and state investments will be key to success on the state level, and we know the payoff will be significant.”

Under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the states have committed to implementing 60 percent of the practices necessary to restore the Bay by 2017, and 100 percent by 2025. Over the next year, the states and EPA will assess progress and develop new plans to achieve the 2025 goal.

The two-year milestones provide transparency and accountability for restoration efforts. This assessment is for the first year of the 2016-17 milestone period.

CBF’s assessment looked at the practices the states put in place in 2016, as well as selected programs each state has designed to achieve the long-term goals. (Attached to this email is a narrative summary of the Maryland assessment, and a chart summarizing findings for all six states in the Bay watershed and the District of Columbia.)

Pennsylvania practices

Pennsylvania is significantly off track in reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from agriculture as well as urban/suburban runoff. Progress in reducing pollution from sewage treatment plants is on track. Overall progress to reduce nitrogen pollution is significantly off track, but efforts to reduce phosphorus and sediment pollution are only slightly off track.

Pennsylvania programs

Pennsylvania’s re-boot committed the Commonwealth to develop and implement an agricultural compliance and enforcement strategy. As part of that strategy inspections were to be conducted on 10 percent of its farms annually. With funding from the Chesapeake Bay Program and other sources, over 1,100 farms were visited between October 2016 and March 2017, an inspection rate below what is needed to visit 10% of farms. However, the pace of inspections has increased now that the process is more established. Roughly 70% of the farms had the required plans. These inspections, however, only assess whether the required plans exist, not whether they are implemented – a major shortfall of state efforts to date.

Pennsylvania also committed to counting and reporting on agricultural practices that are not government funded. A recent Penn State study reported many practices that the Commonwealth had not counted.

Pennsylvania’s efforts to reduce pollution from urban/suburban runoff are showing mixed success. The Commonwealth is significantly off track in reducing pollution from nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. To help jumpstart reductions, the Commonwealth has implemented specific, numeric goals in permits for small municipalities.

“Pennsylvania’s pollution reduction strategy has shown some progress and the Commonwealth is in the process of developing a new watershed implementation plan to carry it toward the 2025 goals,” said CBF Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. “But the Commonwealth is considering yet another budget that falls well short of providing the investments necessary for success. Pennsylvania will only be successful with sustained investments in the right places and on the right practices.

Maryland practices

Maryland is slightly off track reducing nitrogen pollution from agriculture, while on track to remove phosphorus and sediment pollution. Urban/suburban efforts have fallen far short for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. Maryland’s efforts to upgrade sewage treatment plants are on track. Thus, overall efforts to reduce nitrogen pollution are slightly off track, while pollution reduction efforts for phosphorus and sediment are on track.

Maryland programs

While seeing success in wastewater treatment plants, Maryland is significantly behind in reducing pollution from septic systems. Technologies exist to significantly reduce nitrogen pollution from septic systems, however the state has stopped requiring those technologies to be used for new systems more than 1,000 feet from tidal waters.

There are requirements in Maryland for large municipalities to develop plans and implement technologies to reduce urban/suburban runoff by replacing 20 percent of impervious surfaces with practices that absorb and filter rainwater. While the Maryland Department of the Environment has reviewed those plans, it has not taken action to correct deficiencies. In addition, draft permits for smaller municipalities fail to require any restoration actions in the next five years.

Maryland is implementing its agricultural phosphorus management tool, which will limit the application of phosphorus on land that already has excess phosphorus. Current programs to match excess manure with farms where it can be used safely may need to be expanded.

“We can feel proud that Maryland got off to a strong start in this epic project to restore the Chesapeake and that state leaders remain committed to the Blueprint. From streams in Western Maryland to tidal creeks on the Eastern Shore, we see evidence of cleaner water. But the job is far from done,” said CBF Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost. “We must work together to find solutions for polluted runoff in our cities and suburbs, for failing septic systems in rural areas, and for problems from sprawl development. Given the uncertainties around federal leadership on this effort, we urge the General Assembly and the Hogan Administration to tackle the challenges head-on for our benefit and for the benefit of future generations of Marylanders.”

Virginia practices

Virginia is on track to meet its phosphorus goal for agriculture, and slightly off track for nitrogen and sediment. The Commonwealth is significantly off track in meeting nitrogen and sediment goals for urban/suburban runoff, while only slightly off track for phosphorus. Due to its success with upgrading sewage treatment plants, overall, Virginia is on track for reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, and slightly off track for sediment.

Virginia programs

Virginia’s efforts to reduce pollution from urban/suburban runoff are continuing to fall short of its goals. While new permits have been issued for both large municipalities and smaller jurisdictions, permit requirements are not sufficient to achieve the necessary pollution reduction by 2025.

Virginia’s agricultural programs have made steady progress, but there is room for improvement. A program funding 100 percent of the costs to fence cattle out of streams was so successful that there is a backlog of more than 400 farmers waiting for funding. And Virginia’s agricultural certainty program has resulted in the approval of 300 plans, covering more than 65,000 acres of cropland. However, implementation of these plans is lagging, Adoption of cover crops is below targets and implementation of forest buffers is also off track.

“It’s not often that we celebrate overachievements, but the incredible progress made in upgrading Virginia’s wastewater treatment plants allows the Commonwealth to remain largely on track for meeting goals to reduce pollution in our waterways,” said CBF Virginia Executive Director Rebecca LePrell. “However, the road doesn’t stop here. As we approach 2025, the success of wastewater treatment plants should serve as a model for addressing challenges in cutting polluted runoff from agriculture, cities, and suburbs. As state elections near, I hope Virginia’s next governor will work with legislators to ensure stable and adequate investment in farm conservation practices and support for local governments to reduce polluted runoff.”

CBF Notes: Catch the Last Two Clean Water Concerts by Erika Koontz

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As the first official day of summer arrives, so do the final two Clean Water Concert Series performances here.

Photo by Erika Koontz

Sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Avalon Foundation, Harrison Street between Dover and Goldsborough will be blocked off again on June 24 and July 8 from 6-8:30 p.m. for this free summertime tradition on the Shore. You won’t want to miss this year’s line-up:

Saturday, June 24: U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters

The Navy’s official chorus performs pieces ranging from Broadway tunes to sea chanteys and everything in between.

Saturday, July 8: The XPD’s

A D.C. area favorite, the XPD’s groove to Motown, R&B, and funk tunes that get people dancing.

Now in its fifth year, the Clean Water Concert Series has gotten off to a fantastic start. People from around the Shore came out on June 3 to enjoy the first show! The Spanish and Portuguese songs of Cantaré, a Latin American group from Washington, D.C., drew in people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. An estimated 1,500 attendees danced, enjoyed the music from a comfortable lawn chair, or caught the up-beat melodies while visiting the exhibitor tables.

More than a dozen community organizations staffed the family-friendly exhibits to educate people about the environment, and to celebrate the progress being made toward clean and healthy waterways on the Shore. Each organization offered an interactive and family-friendly activity that had something for everyone. Side-walk chalk drawings of Chesapeake Bay critters and drips of delicious Nice Farms Creamery ice cream covered the street by the end of the night.

All concerts are free and open to the public. The wide variety of environmental and community exhibits staffed by experts will be on display for children and adults to enjoy. CBF and the Avalon Foundation are pleased to host this opportunity to learn more about the Bay and how you can be a part of the movement to restore it.

The concert series promotes community awareness about the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, a multi-state, science-based plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.

Visit cbf.org to learn more.