Earth Day Cleanup April 11th
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Join the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Ocean City Surf Club to clean up Ocean City at 10 a.m. on Saturday April 11th . We will be meeting volunteers at the 3rd street gazebo next to Town Hall (101 3rd Street, Ocean City MD) to assign clean up areas and hand out gloves, trash bags, and t-shirts.
|Thanks to our volunteers!|
With help from our community volunteers and Maryland Conservation Corps crews we removed bagworms from 6,500 Atlantic White Cedar trees this winter. This would not have been possible without our volunteers!
Gunpowder MCC crew working in the rain!
An Army Corps of Engineering project is building new islands in Maryland's coastal bays for the first time since the storm of 1933 created the Ocean City Inlet. Islands such as these are important nesting habitat for waterbirds such as common and royal terns and black skimmers.
To read more about the new islands from Rachael Pacella of DelmarvaNow click here.
Pictured above the newest island, Collier. Photo taken from shore at Captain's Hill thoroughfare.
|MCBP Chimes In On Offshore Drilling|
In January the Department of the Interior proposed opening up the Mid-Atlantic and South east to oil drilling. Three central elements of the Coastal Bays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan include addressing the impacts of climate change, encouraging tourism, and protecting biodiversity. Oil drilling could have a dramatic effect on each of these.
The Delaware, Maryland and Virginia coastal area is a delicate system, critical to tourism, regional biodiversity, and the fish and shellfish industries. Tourism alone in Worcester Count is a $2 billion/yr boon for Maryland's economy. This far exceeds any estimated revenue potentially coming to the State of Maryland from the proposed offshore leases in the Atlantic. As seen in the gulf, the risk to this revenue posed by offshore drilling is great.
A third of Maryland's Chincoteague Bay lies in Virginia (a primary oil company target) where an inlet opens the entire bay to ocean waters. Oil spills, trash from offshore drill platforms, and releases of fracking waste will not respect state boundary lines. All summer long wind drives ocean currents run south to north.
Moreover, Assateague Island and the barrier islands of Virginia's Eastern Shore represent the largest swath of undeveloped coastal wilderness on the East Coast.
The Atlantic Geological and Geophysical (G&G) Activities Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement estimates 138,000 whales and dolphins could be impacted by seismic testing in the Atlantic and some killed. There are more than a dozen species of dolphins, whales, and seals off the Ocean City coast. Commercial and recreational fishing in Mid-Atlantic is also a $3.5 billion dollar industry. If seismic testing in our local waters has similar effects to fisheries as those witnessed around the globe, it would be a serious blow to this revenue.
According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the entire Atlantic would only provide 16 months of oil and 36 months of gas. Oil and gas development in new areas would require seismic surveys, drilling operations, oil transport tankers, and the installation of platforms, pipelines, and other infrastructure. With so many alternatives it's hard to understand why the feds are still pursuing carbon-heavy industries.
Development of offshore wind on the East Coast could generate up to 140 gigawatts of power over the next 20 years, which is enough to power over 115 million households.Offshore wind would create about 91,000 more jobs than offshore drilling.
For the reasons stated above, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program has requested the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic planning areas be removed from BOEM's 2011-2022 Draft Proposed Plan.
I was recently asked to sit on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Maryland Coastal Bay program. I really had to think about it for a while. Now that I'm "a bit" older and have begun to wean myself of the various organizational duties I've taken on over the years I just wasn't sure I needed to take on anything new. I've always tried to carry the very positive message in regards to the interdependence between our forests, a healthy forest economy, and healthy watersheds. After all of these years, the message is the same, yet the audience changes so the need to spread this message never goes away. In fact, it's more important than ever as the general public become more and more removed from what makes our rural landscape so special. So here I find myself in the early morning after my first Coastal Bay CAC Citizens Advisory Committee meeting giving it one more try!
As I have been beating around forests here on the Eastern Shore for quite some time now, it always amazes me when I get off the beaten path in the back portion of a working farm, the "lower forty", the wonderful (and sometimes neglected, not so wonderful) forests I find. As the name "lower forty" implies, much of this forestland is on land that may have not been suitable for agriculture or development. Often, it is somewhat lower and wetter than the developed land that surrounds it, yet it still supports such a valuable part of our landscape: Our working forests.
While considered lower value land by many, measured by all of the benefits our forests provide they truly are the most valuable part of our landscape by so many measures that go far beyond dollars and cents. They work 24/7 providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, and just a great place to get out and "away from it all". Of course, a well-managed forest, while providing all of these benefits, also can provide an income from harvested products that help pay for the cost of ownership... and then some.
A well-managed forest that can maximize all of these attributes takes some planning: From planning harvests to planning to do little of anything to protect or enhance wildlife habitat or water quality. A good Sustainable Forestry Management Plan is something all forest landowners should pursue, one that is tailored to their own specific goals and objectives. If you have some neglected forestland on your property, call your local DNR County Forester, or go online and seek out a local forestry consultant that can help you with your forestry needs. After all, like the faded bumper sticker on my old Jeep Pick-up exclaims, "A Healthy Forest is no Accident!", and the less faded sticker I have on my newer Ford Escape simply says, "Trees are the Answer", and that they truly are for the myriad of environmental issues facing our Coastal Bay ecology, and resource based economy.
Larry Walton is a consultant with Vision Forestry, l.l.c. He is also a member of MCBP's Citizen Advisory Committee.
|Paddleboard Raffle to Benefit MCBP|