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(Annapolis, MD) July 25, 2017 – The Chesapeake Bay Trust, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA), Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (Montgomery DEP), and with input from the Maryland Department of the Environment, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agency and technical partners on the Restoration Research Advisory Committee, announce six recipients of the collaborative Restoration Research Award Program.

Efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries call for a significant increase in the number of watershed restoration projects intended to improve both water quality and habitat. Questions about the performance and function of some of these practices persist in the regulatory community as well as the restoration practitioner community. Answering these questions will ultimately lead to increased confidence in outcomes of restoration projects, identification of cheaper ways and better places to build projects, and information useful to regulatory agencies in project permitting.

“The health of Chesapeake Bay depends on the quality of the water flowing from the streams and tributaries in our backyards and communities,” said Mark Belton, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. “This program will provide more in-depth scientific data and measurable results to help local stream restoration activities and efforts that seek to mitigate the amount of sediment and nutrients entering our waterways.”

 

South River Federation Leader Leaves for Larger Waters

Kate Fritz, Executive Director of the South River Federation,

Slated to Take Reins of Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Annapolis, MD, July 13, 2017– The Board of Director’s for the South River Federation announces the resignation of their current Executive Director, Kate Fritz, effective August 1, 2017. For the last three years, Kate has played a critical role in building the Federation into a regionally known powerhouse organization focused on ecological restoration, science, and advocacy. Her leadership was noticed by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, where she will become the next Executive Director. Kevin Green, former Board Chair, will take on the role as Interim Director until a new candidate is selected.

“We could not be more thankful for the continued growth and increased impact that Kate has helped create in the South River. Kate provided great leadership over the last three years, and we particularly appreciate her work in continuing to build partnerships, maintain a pipeline of high-impact restoration projects, increase scientific expertise, and raise awareness for the issues ailing the South River” said Tom Reinert, Chair of the Board of Directors. “We wish her the best of luck in her new position, and look forward to seeing her lead the way for even bigger successes for the Chesapeake Bay. The Federation is glad to have another ally supporting the work we do at a Chesapeake Bay wide scale.”

The South River Federation and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are partnering to study a tributary of the South River that has been known Church Creek 2previously as one of the most polluted creeks in the River’s watershed, Church Creek. Over the past six years, Church Creek has been the focus of numerous small and large-scale restoration projects. These projects, called Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs), are designed specifically to reduce the impact of runoff from highly developed areas like that of the Church Creek watershed. By dividing Church Creek’s main watershed into various sub-watersheds, and monitoring each individually for nutrients, sediment, and other basic hydrochemistry, we aim to determine the effectiveness of various types of BMPs. Our research will also take into account combinations of BMP influences existing in Church Creek to assess the effect of “layered” projects, a technique that is cutting edge in the realm of stream restoration.

 

Further Exploration of Crab Creek Watershed:

The South River Federation is excited to have started phase I of our newly launched Crab Creek Initiative and hope to complete a full assessment of the creek's drainage area for sources of pollution in the near future. This past week, staff conducted a second major exploration of the creek’s watershed (see below for a summary of the first exploration). The streams leading to Crab Creek have a been plagued by illegal dumping, oil spills, trash flows, dirt plumes and high bacteria readings. To help kick off our Crab Creek Initiative, we have begun exploring the Crab Creek watershed on foot in order to get a better understanding of the general health of the area, and identify potential areas of restoration.

The Federation's Annual Kayak Sojourn and Potluck Picnic was June 24th. Despite the forecast calling for storms, it was a beautiful day for a paddle and a picnic. Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Nancy Merrill lead a flotilla of around 25 people out towards Selby Bay, along the shore, and into a cove, teaching the group about local wildlife such as the marsh periwinkle snail. This small snail has a thick, spiraling shell and lives in tidal marshes and wetlands throughout the Chesapeake, living on grasses such as neddlerush and smooth cordgrass. But what makes the snail unique is its vertical migration. At high tide the snail is typically found high up on the grass above the waterline. As the tide falls, the snails move down the grass and onto the muddy substrate below. Apparently if you take the snail across the country, it will continue to move with the tides of the Chesapeake!