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News and Resources

Holiday Appeal - November 20, 2016

Tis the season of giving, and once again the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) hopes you will join us and support another year of program and project accomplishments to help protect our five coastal bays behind Ocean City and Assateague Island.

Part of the National Estuary Program, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program is a non-profit partnership among the towns of Ocean City and Berlin, the National Park Service, Worcester County, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Environment, & Planning.

One of only 28 such programs nationwide, the goal of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program is to protect and enhance the entire bays watershed, which includes Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin, and Assateague Island National Seashore. The 175-square mile watershed is home to the treasured resources of St. Martin River, Newport Bay, Assawoman Bay, Isle of Wight Bay, Sinepuxent Bay, and Chincoteague Bay.

MCBP is a consensus nonprofit that works with local, state and federal partners to protect and monitor the health of the bays and work within our local communities educating visitors and residents. Because we are a nonprofit, we are always looking for support, regardless of whether it relates to funding, volunteering or attending a special event.

Thanks to the many partners we have and the generous public and private support we received this year, we were able to accomplish many projects including:

The release of the 2016 State of the Bays Report and the 2015 Coastal Bays Report Card, two easily readable scientific reports. Through a cooperative agreement, MCBP worked with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, and Virginia Institute of Marine Science to the develop the publications.

The 2016 State of the Bays Report provides an overview of the current science and management issues in the Maryland Coastal Bays and their watersheds. Recognizing the importance of a bay perspective and a land perspective, this booklet provides current data and insights into how bay health is influenced by ocean and land and how watershed health influences bay health.  It includes two ‘booklets’ in one publication—one intended for those interested in the bay perspective, and the other for those interested in the land perspective. The two documents culminate in a summary centerfold which focuses on both watershed and bay issues.

Previous assessments include the 2004 State of the Maryland Coastal Bays and the 2009 book, Shifting Sands: Environmental and Cultural Change in Maryland’s Coastal Bays. Both of these previous publications and this booklet, Maryland Coastal Bays 2016: Land and Bay perspectives are available on IAN Press (ian.umces.edu/press) and can be found on MCBP’s website.

The 2015 Coastal Bays Report Card is an annual report that represents the collective effort of many individuals and organizations working within the Coastal Bays scientific and management community. The aim of this report card is to provide a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of 2015 Coastal Bays’ health. Although this publication summarizes a great deal of technical data, the report card style makes for easy reading Should you like your own physical copy of either, please feel free to stop by our office to pick one up.

Other continuing projects this year include monitoring and completing the Bishopville Dam project. Additional construction is awaiting permit approval but we already saw significant use by fishes this year in their spawning migration upstream.  .

Worcester County, MCBP and citizen groups are actively working on a plan for Grey’s Creek and Ilia Fehrer Nature Parks.  Plans for both sites are in progress and there may be additional opportunities this year for volunteers to help with enhancing trails, invasive plant control and planting trees to help with the improvements.

And thanks to our volunteers and partners, our annual clean ups attendance has increased every year. MCBP partnered with the Ocean City Surf Club on the Adopt Your Beach and Adopt Your Street programs. While the Beach adoptions are almost complete, we are looking for more support for the streets program in 2017.

Beyond the clean ups, thanks to our citizen scientists, our annual terrapin and horseshoe crab count surveys, oyster cage program and seal steward program continue to grow in participation as well as raise awareness of these beloved species. Also important, the, MCBP’s water quality monitoring volunteers continue to dedicate their time and efforts to sample our waters, providing important data for restoration efforts.

It would be impossible without the financial support of our members, volunteers and partners for us to be able to achieve what we do year in and year out. We thank you for your support and hope that you will consider donating to the MCBP.  You can donate through, “Giving Tuesday” which is a little more than a week away. MCBP will be hosting a happy hour along with Lower Shore Land Trust at the Burley Oak Brewery, Tuesday, November 29 from 4-7.  Come out and you will be able to learn more about our program and you can donate to a great cause.  We hope to see you there!

Sandi Smith is the Development and Marketing Coordinator for Maryland Coastal Bays Program. 



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