ESLC’s Darius Johnson Would Like Your Attention on Bay Bridge Traffic Solutions

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While the Mid-Shore has been fixated on issues related to a third Chesapeake Bay bridge possibly landing in their backyard, The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Darius Johnson would politely suggest that the region turn its focus on the problems that exist now with bridge traffic and the real consequences for our communities along Route 50.

As the recently hired project director with ESLC, Johnson has been tasked with managing one of the organization’s oldest traditions; its annual planning conference, now in its 19th year. And the one day program, suitably named “ReRouting,” will place most of the attention on “here and now” traffic and transportation challenges.  How appropriate it that it will be held at the base of Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club.

The Spy caught up with Darius at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center last week to chat about the conference.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s ReRouting Conference on April 18 please go here.

 

 

 

 

ShoreRivers Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week – March 31 to April 7

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ShoreRivers has launched its fourth annual Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week (LFAW) from March 31 to April 7, 2019. For this initiative, ShoreRivers partners with other organizations throughout the

Chesapeake Bay watershed to provide awareness about lawn fertilizer usage. Last year, LFAW reached over 24,000 individuals via social media, and aims even higher for this year.

The goal of Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week is to inform the public about the effects of lawn fertilizer, while encouraging individuals and lawn care professionals to reduce fertilizer use and turn to organic products for healthier lawns and waterways. This social media campaign includes daily posts that highlight native plant landscaping that requires less fertilizer, as well as ways to make composted fertilizer. LFAW also focuses on the impacts of nitrogen and phosphorus—two key ingredients in fertilizer—on water quality for the Chesapeake Bay. Runoff of these nutrients from lawns into waterways is known to cause harmful algae blooms that block sunlight from reaching underwater grasses, rob the water of oxygen, and threaten underwater life.

Last year, this campaign introduced ShoreRivers’ new River-Friendly Yards program. ShoreRivers, with support from Chesapeake Bay Trust and Queen Anne’s County, is working to empower residents in the Chester and Sassafras watersheds to implement best practices and establish more river-friendly yards that mimic the natural environment to benefit water quality. ShoreRivers encourages residents to adopt river-friendly practices to achieve healthy waterways across Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The 2019 campaign will give an update on the program and highlight Maryland laws and regulations. It will include fun, simple, and attractive ways to transform yards. Maryland’s Nutrient Management Program has the goal of protecting water quality by ensuring that both farmers and urban land managers are safely applying fertilizer. Lawn fertilizer accounts for approximately 44 percent of the fertilizer sold in Maryland. There are over 1,300,000 acres of lawns in Maryland; almost 86 million pounds of nitrogen lawn fertilizer will be applied to these properties each year. It is critical that everyone know the importance of applying fertilizer in an effective and environmentally sound manner for the health of Maryland’s tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay.

Follow along with Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week 2019 by tuning into ShoreRivers’ social media pages.

More details are available at mda.maryland.gov/Pages/fertilizer.aspx. Additional guidance, along with seasonal and yearly fertilizer rates, is available at county extension offices or online at extension.umd.edu. For more information about Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week, visit shorerivers.org or contact Rachel Plescha at ShoreRivers at rplescha@shorerivers.org or 443.385.0511 ext 208.

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

shorerivers.org

Adkins Arboretum Announces Spring Open House, Native Plant Sale

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Adkins Arboretum, offering the Chesapeake gardener the largest selection of native plants for more than 20 years, announces its Spring Open House & Native Plant Sale weekend, April 26–28. The sale benefits the Arboretum’s education programs and affords the public an opportunity to learn about the Delmarva’s native plants and their connection to a healthy Chesapeake Bay.

Plants for sale include a large variety of native perennials, ferns, vines, grasses and flowering trees and shrubs for spring planting. Native flowers and trees provide food and habitat for wildlife and make colorful additions to home landscapes, whether in a perennial border, a woodland garden or a restoration project. Native honeysuckle entices hummingbirds, while tall spikes of purplish flowers grace blue wild indigo. Milkweed provides critical energy for Monarch butterflies on their winter migration to Mexico, and native azaleas present a veritable rainbow of colorful blooms.

Open House and plant sale hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fri., April 26 and Sat., April 27, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sun., April 28. Presale orders may be placed at adkinsarboretum.org through April 4. Simply place your order, and your plants will be ready for pick-up during the Open House weekend. Following the Open House, plants will be for sale at the Visitor’s Center throughout the growing season.

The Arboretum gift shop will be open during the Open House weekend and will offer books and nature-inspired gifts for gardeners. Members, including those who join during the Open House, receive a 10% discount on plant, gift shop and book purchases. Members at the Contributor ($100) level and above receive a 20% discount on plants.

For more information, call 410-634-2847, extension 0 or visit adkinsarboretum.org.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Remembering Harry Hughes by Rob Etgen

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Harry Roe Hughes, two term Maryland Governor from the Eastern Shore, foremost champion of saving the Chesapeake Bay, and long-time Chairman of Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), passed away comfortably at home last week after a long and very full life. Harry was a true statesman who had an incredible impact on Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore, and all of us here at ESLC.

Just after Harry left the State House and his leadership role in stimulating the multi-state Bay cleanup, he was recruited to ESLC by his high school physics teacher – Howard Wood – one of ESLC’s Founders. Once on our Board Harry jumped right in and quickly started presiding at meetings, raising funds and shepherding me around the halls of government in Annapolis. Harry stayed active with ESLC in various roles even through his later years. During 2005, Harry and John Frece used the ESLC offices for the drafting of his autobiography, My Unexpected Journey.

Harry often loosened up ESLC crowds with stories of baseball and growing up in Denton when you could ramble unhindered across field and forest throughout Caroline County. He also took pride in his mischievous streak often telling about pushing his parent’s car out of the driveway and down the road before starting it to conceal nighttime joy rides. Many of his stories were prefaced by Harry saying he was killing time to avoid leading everyone in the ESLC fight song – “Don’t Bring In Sprawl” – which he hated singing.

My favorite Harry memory was in 1995 when he recruited the USDA Secretary to speak at ESLC’s annual gala in celebration of our proposed Security Corridor of protected farmland on the Eastern Shore. The morning of the sold out event at the Tidewater Inn the USDA Secretary was called out of the Country, and when I called Harry with the terrifying news, he simply said, “Let me see what I can do.” By that evening Harry had choreographed a speech by Maryland Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretaries and with Governor Glendenning on speakerphone that announced a major new State effort to protect our Corridor – and our crowd cheered! Now known as Maryland’s “Rural Legacy Program,” this initiative that Harry started that evening has now protected 920,694 acres of beautiful farmland and habitat. A nice day’s work!

Harry would often tell a joke about how someone in an elevator once asked him, “Didn’t you used to be Harry Hughes?” And his punch line was “Still am!” Truthfully, that joke is not that good, but when Harry told it, people roared with laughter. That was just Harry’s way – low key, comfortable, and lighthearted. We could use more of that today in our leaders.

Rob Etgen is the president of the East Shore Land Conservancy

Acclaimed Environmental Journalist Tom Pelton at Washington College March 27

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Tom Pelton, an award-winning environmental journalist and author of The Chesapeake in Focus: Transforming the Natural World, will give a talk at Washington College on March 27 called “Myths and Truths of the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, starts at 5:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall of the Toll Science Center and is sponsored by the McClain Program for Environmental Studies. A book signing will follow.

Pelton has hosted the public radio program “The Environment in Focus” since 2007. He also works as Director of Communications for the Environmental Integrity Project, a non-profit organization that publishes investigative reports about environmental issues and works to hold polluters and governments accountable to protect public health.

From 1997 until 2008, Tom was a journalist for The Baltimore Sun, where he was twice named one of the best environmental reporters in America by the Society of Environmental Journalists. He has also published in The Washington PostThe Boston GlobeHarvard MagazineYankee magazine, and several other publications. Pelton earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and his graduate degree from the University of Chicago.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 39 states and territories and 25 nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Kent County High’s Ronald Parker Becomes New Student Ambassador

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Ronald Parker III, a ninth grader at Kent County High School, was chosen by the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) to represent his district of Kent County in the non-profit organization’s new Student Ambassador Program. The Chestertown resident is one of several students selected who demonstrates a desire to improve his school and community by making his voice heard in discussions related to education policy.

“I applied to become a Student Ambassador because I want to help my fellow classmates and help my school become a better place, and this is my opportunity to do so,” says Parker. “Successful leaders have to be bold, open-minded and good with people. I love being a student leader.”

Parker currently holds a 3.89 GPA, is acting treasurer in the Student Government Association, a center and power forward for the high school basketball team and a drummer in the school band. Outside of school, he works part-time at Beverly’s restaurant and participates in the Horizon’s summer program. He also participates in the Next Generation Scholars program, which provides personal attention, guidance and education about opportunities that can help shape the future for students who come from families with a demonstrated financial need. After high school, Parker wants to attend college and pursue a degree in psychology.

“We are so pleased to have Ronald as a member of our 2018–2019 inaugural class,” says Nona Carroll, chief strategy officer for MBRT. “A natural leader and effective communicator, Ronald also exhibits empathy, which is a core competency in building leadership skills. He is in a prime position to use his voice to represent his district.”

MBRT’s Student Ambassador program provides students with the opportunity to learn and develop leadership skills that will help them succeed throughout their academic journey and in the professional world. Ambassadors gain confidence in their skills to lead and communicate effectively as well as how to interact with professionals and manage their time.

As Parker and the rest of the Student Ambassadors step into leadership roles, they will provide feedback on MBRT programming and resources as well as communicate their views on issues such as state education policy. Student insight will help inform MBRT’s development of and involvement in innovative ways to ensure every student has a future and every business is a success.

 

ShoreRivers Announces New Sassafras Riverkeeper, New Galena Office

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Retiring Sassafras Riverkeeper Emmett Duke (left) and new Sassafras Riverkeeper Zack Kelleher.

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce that Zack Kelleher will serve as the new Sassafras Riverkeeper, acting as primary spokesperson for the Sassafras River, and advocating for its protection and restoration. Kelleher will use advocacy, outreach, restoration, and education to be a voice for the river, its natural resources, and its inhabitants. He will be a vigilant, on-the-water presence working with local communities to achieve a healthier Sassafras by using science-based solutions to tackle issues including the Conowingo Dam, invasive water chestnuts, and harmful algal blooms.  Additionally, Kelleher will expand outreach and restoration programs to four creeks in northern Kent County that flow directly to the Bay: Fairlee Creek, Worton Creek, Churn Creek, and Still Pond Creek.

“It’s an honor to become the Sassafras Riverkeeper and be a part of an inspiring and effective organization like ShoreRivers that fights tirelessly for Eastern Shore waterways,” said Kelleher. “I’m incredibly humbled to be voice of the Sassafras, its natural bounty, and its community. I’ll see you on the water!”

A native Marylander, Kelleher’s conservation ethic and love of the Chesapeake Bay comes from the time he spent growing up outside of Tilghman Island. There, he learned to appreciate the rich cultural heritage and immense beauty of the Eastern Shore while hunting, fishing, and crabbing on Harris Creek and the Choptank and Miles Rivers. Kelleher graduated from the University of Maryland with degrees in Psychology and Sustainability. Prior to becoming a Riverkeeper, he was ShoreRivers’ restoration and outreach manager. Kelleher is excited to continue furthering ShoreRivers’ mission of protecting and restoring Eastern Shore waterways while serving as the voice of the Sassafras.

ShoreRivers opened a new office in downtown Galena on March 1. Located in the heart of town, ShoreRivers will be an active, contributing member of the community and a clearinghouse of resources for community members. This office location will allow ShoreRivers to continue expanding its reach into northern Kent County and southern Cecil County to effectively work with communities throughout the Sassafras and northern Chesapeake watersheds and tackle water quality issues with a local, hands-on approach.   The new office address is 111A North Main Street, Galena.

Learn more at shorerivers.org. For more information or to get involved with ShoreRivers, contact Zack Kelleher at zkelleher@shorerivers.org or 410-810-7556 x281.

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education.

shorerivers.org

ShoreRivers Partners with Town of Templeville on Pond Restoration

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ShoreRivers has been awarded a $19,000 grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust to support the Town of Templeville’s restoration efforts at their town park by installing a denitrification wall around the north shoreline of the park’s pond.

In the past, the park and its pond were a gathering place and local fishing spot for town residents; but it has deteriorated over time. Unfortunately, the park area is now overgrown with invasive and nuisance weeds, and the increased load of nutrients has turned the pond eutrophic, or overly rich in nutrients. While discussing the current conditions, Mayor Helen Knotts said, “I remember when the neighborhood kids would fish and play in the park. The commissioners and I are very excited to work to restore the space as a great place for kids and families again.”

The town has a long-standing interest in returning the park to a suitable gathering place where local residents may once again spend time and recreate. In order to accomplish this, sources of nutrients must be reduced, and groundwater and surface water need to be better managed.

In 2017, the town was awarded a Chesapeake Bay Trust grant for community outreach and to design a plan to address the residential management of polluted runoff that affects the park. Town officials are currently working to secure funds to implement the practices identified in the plan. Meanwhile, ShoreRivers worked with Chesapeake Biological Lab (CBL) to test water and better understand the sources of nutrients that are impacting it. In 2018, researchers from CBL took water samples from several locations around the pond and tested them for sucralose. Also known as artificial sweetener and used in many diet foods consumed by humans, sucralose does not break down in the body or in septic systems. Therefore, the presence of sucralose in surface waters can be an indicator of domestic wastewater entering the pond.

An example of an installation of a denitrification wall similar to the one that will be installed around the north shoreline of the pond at Templeville park.

“Domestic wastewater is a threat to human and environmental health and can cause serious waterborne illnesses when people like fisherman, boaters, and swimmers come in contact with it,” says Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta. “We were excited to apply cutting-edge research on sucralose testing as a way to scientifically identify what is impacting the town pond and how it should be addressed.”

One solution that will be implemented is the installation of a denitrification filter wall, which will intercept groundwater and filter nutrients passing through. A four-foot deep and three-foot wide trench will be filled with local sawdust that acts as a carbon source to grow the bacteria needed to break down nitrogen in the water. Once installed, the wall is covered over with soil and planted with grass, resulting in an attractive camouflage of the wall. Only a handful of these practices have been installed in Maryland, with another having been installed by ShoreRivers on a dairy farm in Caroline County.

To kick-off these efforts, the town will host a volunteer cleanup of debris and overgrown vegetation in the park area. This cleanup will be part of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Project Clean Stream, and is scheduled for April 14 at 1pm. Contact the Town of Templeville Town Manager Cindy Burns at cburns@mrdc.netfor more information and to sign up.Other project partners include Caroline County, University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension, and local residents in Templeville.

To kick-off these efforts, the Town will host a volunteer cleanup of debris and overgrown vegetation in

For more information, contact Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta at mpluta@shorerivers.orgor 443.385.0511 ext 203.

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

shorerivers.org

Climate of North American Cities Will Shift Hundreds of Miles in One Generation

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In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away—or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today. Maryland cities like Baltimore, Salisbury, Frederick and Waldorf are projected to feel more like Mississippi—hotter (by about 9 degrees ) and more humid—by the 21st century.

A new study and interactive web application from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science aim to help the public understand how climate change may impact the lives of a large portion of the population of the United States, including Marylanders.

“Under current high emissions the average urban dweller is going to have to drive more than 500 miles to the south to find a climate like that expected in their home city by 2080,” said study author Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “Not only is climate changing, but climates that don’t presently exist in North America will be prevalent in a lot of urban areas.”

Search the interactive climate map for your city at www.umces.edu/futureurbanclimates 

The study found that by the 2080s, the climate of North American urban areas will feel substantially different, and in many cases completely unlike contemporary climates found anywhere in the western hemisphere north of the equator. If emissions continue unabated throughout the 21st century, the climate of North American urban areas will become, on average, most like the contemporary climate of locations about 500 miles away and mainly to the south.

The climate of cities in the northeast will tend to feel more like the humid subtropical climates typical of parts of the Midwest or southeastern U.S. today—warmer and wetter in all seasons. For instance, Washington, D.C. will feel more like northern Mississippi. The climates of western cities are expected to become more like those of the desert Southwest or southern California—warmer in all seasons, with changes in the amount and seasonal distribution of precipitation. San Francisco’s climate will resemble that of Los Angeles.

“Within the lifetime of children living today, the climate of many regions is projected to change from the familiar to conditions unlike those experienced in the same place by their parents, grandparents, or perhaps any generation in millennia,” he said.

Climate-analog mapping is a statistical technique that matches the expected future climate at one location—your city of residence, for instance—with the current climate of another familiar location to provide a place-based understanding of climate change. Scientists analyzed 540 urban areas, mapping the similarity between that city’s future climate expected by the 2080s and contemporary climate in the western hemisphere north of the equator using 12 measures of climate, including minimum and maximum temperature and precipitation during the four seasons.

The study also mapped climate differences under two emission trajectories: unmitigated emissions, the scenario most in line with what might be expected given current policies and the speed of global action, and mitigated emissions, which assumes policies are put in place to limit emissions, such as the Paris Agreement.

“We can use this technique to translate a future forecast into something we can better conceptualize and link to our own experiences,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s my hope that people have that ‘wow’ moment, and it sinks in for the first time the scale of the changes we’re expecting in a single generation.”

The paper, “Contemporary climatic analogs for 540 North American urban areas in the late 21st century,” by Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Robert Dunn of North Carolina State University, is published in Nature Communications on February 12.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound evidence and advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

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