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					Pennsylvania’s Broken Permit System
         Health Risks from Bad Water
Finally, Encouraging Words from EPA
                                                                                                                                                        KEVIN WOLF
      President’s Message

EPA Responds to President
Obama’s Executive Order:
Good News, But Why Wait?                                                                                                     CBF President Will Baker

M        ay 12, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson    what we have been calling for, and litigat-         Important Bay Improvements At Risk
         released an Executive Order, signed      ing to achieve.                                     EPA action is especially critical now, as real
         that day by President Obama, declar-                                                         indications of a Bay fighting for improve-
ing the Chesapeake Bay a national treasure        But EPA must go further. It must dramat-            ment are apparent. We have long believed
and directing federal agencies to do everything   ically strengthen the air section by pro-           that when oysters and underwater grasses
within their power to put good science to work    posing new strategies to reduce airborne            start to do better, that will be an indication
to restore the Bay.                               pollution. And it must support a commit-            of a possible systemic Bay improvement.
                                                  ment to accomplish the set of proposals             There are now early signs that the distribu-
Many of you have told EPA in letters, cards,      through either a binding court-sanc-                tion of underwater grasses is increasing.
and at a town hall meeting, that it is time to    tioned settlement of CBF’s lawsuit or a             Furthermore, oysters appear to be develop-
act. Your voices have given us tremendous         new legislative mandate.                            ing a tolerance to the two parasites, MSX
momentum and we are hearing encourag-                                                                 and Dermo. Their numbers are increasing,
ing words from EPA.                               And EPA need not wait for a lengthy review          and the general population appears health-
                                                  process to begin reducing other sources of          ier. Restoration efforts may finally be start-
Specifically, on September 10th, EPA re-          pollution. It can still object to a Virginia per-   ing to take hold.
leased a draft report outlining what it will do   mit for the giant pharmaceutical company
(        Merck, which will add more pollution to an          What You Can Do
Unlike past documents that focused on             already impaired Virginia waterway,                 We urge you to visit http://executiveorder.
                                                                                             and make your views on
                                                                                                      the draft reports known.

             “       EPA need not wait for a lengthy
                    review process to begin reducing
                       other sources of pollution.
                                                                                                      And we urge you to support the legislative
                                                                                                      mandate we mentioned above. Congress
                                                                                                      will soon debate reauthorizing and

goals, EPA’s draft report focuses on action,
articulates the agency’s intent to require the
                                                  (page 15). In Maryland, EPA can take strong
                                                  measures to require the massive Sparrows
                                                                                                      strengthening the Clean Water Act, a criti-
                                                                                                      cal legislative effort to codify EPA’s authori-
                                                                                                      ties for reducing pollution from all sources.
                                                                                                      Maryland Senator Ben Cardin has circulat-
                                                                                                      ed a draft bill in the Senate, and, later
Bay states to do more, proposes to expand         Point steel mill to stop toxic contamination        this month, we expect to see a similar bill
its own regulatory programs, and promises         from migrating offsite and into waters where        in the House.
to hold itself and the states accountable         children swim (page 13). In Washington,
for progress.                                     EPA can issue a new more stringent permit           Thank you.
                                                  to reduce pollution from the massive Blue
We have never seen a stronger, more well-         Plains sewage treatment plant. And in
documented set of proposals come out of           Pennsylvania, EPA must object to destruc-
the federal government’s lead Bay agency.         tive fast-track permits which are being              .
                                                                                                      William C. Baker
Much of what is in the report is exactly          issued for new gas-drilling sites (page 6).         President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

 2     Fall 2009

                Fall 2009 Vol. 35 No. 3●

     6    Destination Chesapeake
          On the North Branch Susquehanna, a boom in natural gas
          drilling poses risks to water quality.

10        Water-Wise
          Green frogs in the Chesapeake region seem resistant to a
          fungal disease sweeping the globe.

20        Bad Water and Human Health
          A new CBF report explores threats from water pollution.

23        Strength in Numbers
          Scaled-up oyster reefs are becoming the model for
          restoration efforts.

25        High-Tech Tools for Students
          FieldScope, a new CBF education project, involves young
          scientists in water-quality research.

                                   6                                 20                                  25                                               30
    5 MAILBOX                                     24 PROFILE                                         28 DRIFTWOOD
      An announcement of legal action against           A leader in the creation of an enforceable          Bay bits and pieces.
      the Sparrows Point steel plant prompts            pollution limit system for the Bay found
      responses from CBF members.                       her inspiration on a Virginia river.         30 LAST LOOK
                                                                                                            On a tiny outpost in the Chesapeake,
13 CAMPAIGNS                                      26 OUR GIVING COMMUNITY                                   the women of the Smith Island
      Updates on CBF’s Biggest Fight For Clean          A living shoreline memorializes Kennedy             Crabmeat Co-Op celebrate their deep
      Water This Nation Has Ever Seen.                  Fitzgerald, a new skiff aids Hampton                faith and the renewed bounty of the Bay.
                                                        Roads programs, and a key benefactor
16 BAY BRIEFS                                           seeds CBF’s litigation successes.
                                                                                                     PHOTO CREDITS THIS PAGE: UPPER RIGHT, ISTOCKPHOTO; LEFT TO
      CBF activities in the Bay states and the                                                       RIGHT, ENDLESS MOUNTAIN VISITORS BUREAU, PETER TANGO, JEFF
      District of Columbia.                                                                          ALLENBY, TOM PELTON/CBF STAFF


                   &                      AT THE OFFICE
                                                                                                                  Save the Bay is published quarterly and provided free of
                                                                                                                  charge to CBF members by the Chesapeake Bay
                                                                                                                  Foundation, 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403.

                                                                                                                                  Fall 2009 Volume 35 • Number 3
                                                                                                                                    Carol Denny, Editor

                                                                                                                      Loren Barnett Appel, Director of Creative Services
                                                                                                                            © Chesapeake Bay Foundation 2009
                                                                                                                                 888/SAVEBAY •

                                                                                                                 Editor’s Note
                                          THE BAY                                                                It’s one thing to say that our waterways are polluted and
                                                                                                                 that fish and crabs are suffering. Now, news that the Bay’s
                                                                                                                 degraded condition can cause dangerous illnesses in
                                                                                                                 humans is summarized in CBF’s latest report, Bad Water
                   This fall, thousands of workers will designate                                                2009: The Impact on Human Health in the Chesapeake Bay
                                                                                                                 Region (page 20).
                   contributions to CBF through employee
                   payroll deductions. It’s easy, efficient,                                                     It’s time to demand that the federal government and EPA
                                                                                                                 commit the necessary resources, here and now, to heal the
                   and a great way to support CBF’s                                                              Bay and its rivers and streams. We must care for our water
                                                                                                                 as if our lives depended on it—because they do.
                   programs throughout the year.

                   If CBF is not listed in                                                                                                                                     Carol Denny

                   your workplace campaign
                   brochure, find out if
                                                                                                                      Environmental Awareness Statement
                                                                                                                     The Chesapeake Bay Foundation saved the following
                   your campaign accepts                                                                                resources in the production of this publication:
                   “write-ins.” When your                                                                          11 tons                                                           Trees
                   employer matches its                                                                            233,086 gallons                                         Wastewater
                   employees’ donations,                                                                           506 million BTUs                                       Total Energy
                   your contribution can                                                                           29,329 pounds                                      Solid Waste
                   have twice the impact.                                                                          75,763 pounds                                Greenhouse Gases
                                                                                                                               Environmental impact estimates were made using the
                                                                                                                               Environmental Defense Paper Calculator.

                   For more information about workplace giving, including having
                   a representative from CBF participate in your charity fair or
                   kick-off event, contact us at or 443/482-2108.
                                                                                                                     The inks used for this publication are based on linseed oil, a renewable
                                                                                                                            vegetable oil derived from flax and known for low toxicity.

                  2009 OFFICERS                EX OFFICIO TRUSTEES          2009 TRUSTEES            Wayne A. Mills                            HONORARY TRUSTEES
                  D. Keith Campbell            Governor Martin O’Malley               .
                                                                            Donald F Boesch, Ph.D.   Charles W. Moorman, IV                    Louisa C. Duemling
                    Chairman                   Governor Edward G. Rendell   John T. Casteen, III     W. Tayloe Murphy, Jr.                     C. A. Porter Hopkins
                  James E. Rogers              Governor Timothy M. Kaine    Richard L. Franyo        Marie W. Ridder                           Burks B. Lapham
                    Vice Chairman              Mayor Adrian M. Fenty        G. Waddy Garrett         Alexis G. Sant                               .
                                                                                                                                               H.F Lenfest
                  Susan S. Phillips            Joanne S. Berkley            Alan R. Griffith         Truman T. Semans                          T. Gaylon Layfield, III
                    Secretary                    Bay Care Chapter           Carolyn Groobey          Simon Sidamon-Eristoff                    M. Lee Marston
                  Alan L. Wurtzel              Hal C. B. Clagett            Michael J. Hanley        Jennifer Stanley                          Charles McC. Mathias
                    Treasurer                    Clagett Trustee            Virginia R. Holton       Thomas H. Stoner                          H. Turney McKnight
                  William C. Baker                                          Robert A. Kinsley        Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton             Godfrey A. Rockefeller
                    President                                               Matthew J. Klein         Michael Watson                            Russell C. Scott
                                                                            Byron F Marchant         Anthony A. Williams                       Edmund A. Stanley, Jr.
                                                                                                                                               Aileen Bowdoin Train

              4       Fall 2009
                                                                                            Investigations at the Sparrows Point site have found

Action on Sparrows Point                                                                     carcinogens in the soil and toxic metals, petroleum
                                                                                                       by-products, and solvents in groundwater.

                                                                                                                                      NIKKI DAVIS

At a press conference in May, CBF announced its intent to sue the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), and the
current and former owners of the Sparrows Point steel plant for their failure to address
pollution at the site. Despite a 1997 court order directing that on- and off-site hazardous
waste be cleaned up, dangerous contaminants like benzene and chromium continue to
seep into surrounding waters. Following the announcement, CBF members weighed in.

I used to live (was born in the Dundalk area) close to Sparrows        It’s so refreshing that CBF has been suing lately...when gobs of
Point and have suffered numerous “mysterious illnesses” since the      money are involved, people do not do the right thing without
age of five…I am so relieved that action is being taken to alleviate   being compelled by law.
the exposure to local residents of industrial toxins...I can’t thank                              —ANNE AMBLER (Silver Spring, Maryland)
you enough! This is way overdue!
                     —MARY JANE OELKE (White Marsh, Maryland)          I cannot see how any argument, e.g., the “economic consequences
                                                                       of enforcement” rants and threats, can compare to the looming
Great news! Benzene is just the tip of the iceberg. What about…        absolute ruin of the value of the Bay, its natural production of
mercury, lead, arsenic, possibly cadmium, selenium, and silver?        seafood, and health consequences.
What about PCBs and various sludges from the old coke ovens?                                        —BOB GILBERT (Rockville, Maryland)
The landfill is loaded with a toxic brew that makes the Love
Canal look like child’s play.                                             Learn more about Sparrows Point on page 13 and at
                         —LARRY EISENHART (Hunt Valley, Maryland)

I fully support this action—thank you for helping to clean and         Get in touch with Save the Bay!
secure the Bay, a much needed and beneficial natural resource.            Talk to us online
                                —DIANE HARDER (Laurel, Maryland)          E-mail the editor at

Thank you for your stewardship. This should serve to put others           Write us a letter
                                                                          Save the Bay Editor, Chesapeake Bay Foundation,
on notice, especially in Virginia where I live…I am confident that
                                                                          6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403
the monies are going to good use, especially for the Bay.
                          —WILLIAM F. KELLY (Kilmarnock, Virginia)        Give us a call
                                                                          888/SAVE-BAY or 888/728-3229

Destination Chesapeake

North Branch
                                                                               AS GAS WELLS PROLIFERATE, WATER


      n northern Pennsylvania, at the edge        passionate outdoorsmen. The coldwater           of tainted water used to release the gas
      of the Chesapeake watershed, a race         brooks in the state’s northern tier are prime   from the ground.
      to extract natural gas from one of the      attractions for visitors, who spend nearly
      largest deposits in the country is          $2.5 billion in the region each year.           Questions on the effects of the drilling are
      causing heartburn among anglers,                                                            surfacing in Bradford, Tioga, and Susque-
sportsmen, and water-quality advocates.           As big drilling companies from across the       hanna counties in northeastern Pennsyl-
                                                  nation position themselves to tap into a        vania, which were among the state’s leaders
The effects of the drilling could blight what     major energy source, some residents are         in the number of drilling permits issued in
one conservationist calls “some of the last,      uneasy about the environmental impact of        2008. Waterways there are particularly vul-
best places we have in Pennsylvania”—pris-        the process. Their concerns focus on the        nerable to the changes, and drain directly
tine streams and deep forests that once sus-      erosion and sediment created as wells are       into the North Branch of the Susquehanna
tained American Indian tribes and still attract   built and the disposal of millions of gallons   River, the Bay’s largest tributary.

 6      Fall 2009
                                                  coupled with advances in drilling tech-        remove the salt and chemicals in the mix.
                                                  niques, have made the state’s natural gas      “One of the main concerns is the high
                                                  reserves in Marcellus Shale a hot commodity.   salinity of the water. If frac water gets dis-
                                                                                                 charged into streams in this concentrated
                                                  Marcellus Shale is a massive rock formation    form, it will affect aquatic life,” he said.
                                                  extending from Ohio across Pennsylvania        “Also, we don’t have water-quality criteria
                                                  and into New York. In recent years, it’s       for the many chemicals used in frac water,
                                                  become one of the leading sites for domestic   so there’s no way to know if the water’s
                                                  gas production in the United States, in part   being adequately treated.”
                                                  because of new technologies that extract
                                                  natural gas through a process called           To its credit, the Pennsylvania Department
                                                  hydraulic fracturing. Drillers inject huge     of Environmental Protection (DEP) has
                                                  quantities of water into the ground at high    devised a strategy to deal with pollutants in
                                                  pressure to “fracture” the shale, which then   the frac water and proposed regulations
                                                  releases natural gas. Sand and chemicals are   that would set limits on the discharge of
                                                  added to the water to aid the process.         these pollutants. Industry has voiced oppo-
           Once a sacred place to American                                                       sition, and a vigorous debate will likely play
       Indian residents, Wyalusing Rocks in       Once the gas has been freed, about half of     out in Harrisburg in the coming months.
     Bradford County offers a panorama of
    rolling farmland bordered by the North        the more than two million gallons of water
    Branch Susquehanna River. The county,         injected—now contaminated with salt            Several municipal wastewater treatment
    in the northern Chesapeake Bay water-         and minerals, in addition to sand and          plants have already been permitted to
         shed, is experiencing a natural gas      chemicals—comes back to the surface.           receive frac water for treatment. But in
       drilling boom that could affect water      First, the “frac” water is pumped into a       June, DEP issued citations to the Jersey
                        quality in the region.    large, lined impoundment pond or storage       Shore wastewater treatment plant, which
                                                  tanks; later, it’s vacuumed up by fleets of    discharges into the West Branch of the
                                                  tanker trucks and shipped to a wastewater      Susquehanna near Williamsport, for
                                                  plant that can treat it.                       numerous violations. The state agency
                                                                                                 ordered the plant to stop accepting frac
                                                  The problem, as CBF Water Quality              water deliveries immediately, forcing the
                                                  Scientist Harry Campbell sees it, is that      borough to store the excess in a holding
                                                  very few treatment plants are equipped to      tank and underscoring how limited the
                                                                                                 facilities for frac water treatment are.

                                                                                                 An alternative to treating the frac water is to
                                                                                                 dispose of it by injecting it back into the
                                                                                                 earth. This too, raises concerns, Campbell
                                                                                                 said, because the practice could potentially
                                                                                                 affect sources of drinking water. Federal
                                                                                                 controls on the process are currently lack-
                                                                                                 ing. CBF is fighting for passage of two bills
                                                                                                 now pending in the U.S. House and Senate
WORRIES GROW                                                                                     (the latter co-sponsored by Senator Robert
   By Carol Denny                                                                                Casey), which stand to correct the exemp-
                                                                                                 tion for frac water treatment granted in
                                                   SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION


                                                                                                 Adding to concerns about drinking water
   “We’re really concerned about getting pro-                                                    are reports of methane leaks, some leading
   tections in place here,” said CBF                                                             to explosions, which have been associated
   Pennsylvania Attorney Matt Royer. “There                                                      with gas drilling across the state. The
   are serious risks to our water from the                                                       methane, which can escape when cement
   drilling—from stormwater runoff and ero-                                                      casings around the bores fail, has been
   sion that occurs during the construction                                                      reported in private wells in northern and
   phase, and from the treatment of waste-                                                       western Pennsylvania.
   water after the drilling phase.”
                                                                                                 Drilling sites are common across the Marcellus
   Although the history of drilling in Pennsyl-                                                  Shale formation, home to some of the country’s
   vania goes back more than 150 years, 21st                                                     largest natural gas reserves. Hundreds of wells
   century demand for new energy sources,                                                        are already active in Pennsylvania’s northern tier.
                                                                                                                                                                 ENDLESS MOUNTAINS VISITORS BUREAU
                                            Pristine lakes and forests attract sportsmen and anglers to the region surrounding the North Branch Susquehanna.
                                                                                     Kayakers paddle on the Susquehanna Water Trail near Ulster, Pennsylvania.

    North Branch Susquehanna At A Glance
    ■ Length: Approximately 327 miles.
    ■ Watershed Area: Approximately 11,310
      square miles, including 15 counties in
      Pennsylvania and 20 counties in New York.
    ■ Land Use: Forest (deciduous and evergreen)
      and agriculture (hay and pasture, dairy
    ■ Citizen Groups: Upper Susquehanna Coalition,; PA CleanWays,; North Branch Land
      Trust,; Pennsylvania Council of
      Trout Unlimited, For a com-
      plete list of local conservation organizations,

                     The Marcellus Shale formation (shaded area on larger map) extends over a large part of the mid-Atlantic region, including parts of the
                      Chesapeake Bay watershed (in green). In recent months, drilling has boomed in Bradford and Susquehanna counties in Pennsylvania,
                                                                    along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River (inset). Well sites are shown in red.

8       Fall 2009
                                       Left: More than two million gallons of water per well are injected to release natural gas from the shale formation.
                                               Disposal of the contaminated frac water poses environmental risks. Right: Wells are capped after drilling.

“   The pipelines, the truck traffic, the actual disposal of                                              CBF’s Concerns on Natural
                                                                                                          Gas Drilling
  the wastewater—everything has an impact downstream.

                          —DEB NARDONE, COLD WATER RESOURCE SPECIALIST                                    ■ Stormwater and sediment runoff from
                                                                                                            drilling and related construction

A major worry in the largely undeveloped           edge and could provide input. That’s what              ■ Tens of millions of gallons of fresh
region is the amount of land being dis-            the county conservation districts were creat-            water withdrawn from local streams
turbed by drilling and its related activities.     ed for, to make sure things are done right.”           ■ Inadequate facilities and regulations
Extensive forested areas are being cleared                                                                  for contaminated “frac water”
for drilling pads, pipelines, and roads to         CBF Pennsylvania Executive Director Matt               ■ Permits “fast-tracked” without local
the well sites, which could accelerate ero-        Ehrhart concurred, pointing out that the                 technical review
sion and pour tons of sediment into near-          abrupt change in the permitting structure,
by streams. “There are two or three hun-           with no public notice or discussion, sets a            ■ Potential drinking water contamination
dred wells in the county already, and a lot        dangerous precedent for environmental pro-
of infrastructure going up right now. We’ll        tection. “Without technical review of plans,         the pipelines, the truck traffic, the actual
see frenzied activity this year,” predicted        DEP is relying solely on the drillers’ paid          disposal of the wastewater—everything has
Mike Lovegreen, District Manager of the            consultants to ensure that streams are not           an impact downstream. We’re talking about
Bradford County Conservation District.             polluted by sediment,” explained Ehrhart.            [protecting] true wilderness areas, pristine
                                                                                                        streams where our members hunt and fish.”
Until March of 2009, the state’s county            At the current rate of drilling, more than
conservation districts—the environmental           30 million gallons of water could be drawn           CBF is fighting to protect the region’s natu-
overseers who provide the “boots on the            for gas wells this year in Bradford and              ral resources against the effects of the
ground,” according to CBF’s Royer—were             Susquehanna counties alone. The huge                 drilling. In August, it challenged three per-
responsible for approving erosion and sed-         withdrawals have led members of conser-              mits issued to drilling and pipeline con-
iment permits for gas well construction.           vation groups like Pennsylvania Trout                struction companies in Tioga County.
But a sudden decision by DEP excluded              Unlimited to question whether local                  “These permits were issued without techni-
the county conservation districts from the         resources can withstand the pressure. As             cal review and an analysis of the damage
permitting process. Instead, the depart-           part of the permitting process, DEP                  caused by construction and post-construc-
ment instituted a new fast track permitting        requires drillers to specify the sources and         tion runoff. That violates both the federal
option that allows drillers to obtain per-         location for the fresh water they use; the           Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania law,” said
mits without any technical review of plans.        Susquehanna River Basin Commission                   CBF’s Royer. The Pennsylvania Environmen-
The unexpected action raised suspicions            (SRBC) also regulates the process.                   tal Hearing Board will rule on the case.
that in the rush to drill, local environmen-
tal oversight was being brushed aside.             “The SRBC and DEP have done a pretty                    To learn more, visit
                                                   good job of overseeing where the with-
“This is the biggest impact of land in             drawals are being taken,” said Deb                                    Carol Denny, editor of Save the
Bradford county since it was clear-cut for         Nardone, a Cold Water Resource Specialist                             Bay magazine, is a native of
timber in the 1800s,” said Lovegreen. “The         who works with the Pennsylvania Council                               Pennsylvania. She last wrote
DEP decision is something we’d like to see         of Trout Unlimited. “But the new roads built                          for Save the Bay on Maryland’s
reversed, because we have the local knowl-         to get to the well pads, the stream crossings,
                                                                                                                         Mattawoman Creek.

W AT E R - W I S E

                         T H E N O R T H E R N G R E E N F R O G , AT H O M E I N T H E B O G
                                                                                BY CAROL DENNY
                                                                                                 TWAN LEENDERS

10   Fall 2009
                                                                                                          ALAN WOLF
                                                                                                           On their way to maturity,
                                                                                                           green frog tadpoles absorb
                                                                                                           their tails and grow legs.

                                        n a warm evening, on any            first wild animals they encounter, a memo-
                                        one of thousands of streams         rable introduction to the wonders of the
                                        and ponds dotting the Chesa-        natural world.
                                        peake landscape, you’ll hear
                                        its distinctive call—a cacoph-      Once their remarkable metamorphosis from
                        onous twang that sounds like a loose banjo          tadpole to mature frog is complete, frogs
                        string. The northern green frog, one of the         breathe with their lungs on land, using the
                        region’s most common amphibians, is mak-            muscles in their throats. Underwater, they
                        ing itself at home.                                 breathe only through their skin, which con-
                                                                            tains a dense web of blood vessels that carry
                        And that’s a good thing, because frogs are a        oxygen to the rest of the body. Lacking
                        prime indicator species, exceptionally sensitive    scales, they rely on a coating of mucus to
                        to changes in their environment. With their         keep their skin moist.
                        thin, porous skin, they’re particularly suscepti-
                        ble to toxins in water and air. When they dis-      “Green frogs are a good species to monitor
                        appear from an area, it can be an early warning     to see trends and declines,” says J.D.
                        sign of dangers in the larger ecosystem.            Kleopfer, a Wildlife Diversity Biologist with
                                                                            the Virginia Department of Game and
                        Pollution is not their only threat. Frogs are       Inland Fisheries, “but they’re cyclical in
                        also endangered by the ongoing loss of wet-         nature. People often call me and say, ‘Last
                        lands and forests. If their natural breeding        year I heard lots of frogs in my yard, and
                        grounds are disturbed or eliminated, the            this year, I don’t hear any at all.’ I explain
                        frogs will find it harder to survive.               that they’re changeable; this could be a
                                                                            boom year because of a wet spring, and
                        Rana clamitans melanota, the northern green         next year it will change. You have to look at
                        frog common to the Bay region, is a medi-           long-term data to see any trends.” This year,
                        um-sized frog about two to four inches              he notes, “frogs got off to a really good start
                        long. It lives only in freshwater, mostly in        because of the wet weather. There’s proba-
                        shallow ponds, ditches, and grassy swales.          bly some localized decline, but we don’t
                        Its most distinctive feature is a pair of ridges    have any information yet.”
                        along its back. It’s one of the most active of
                        all native frogs, and known to make enor-           Biologists are keeping a close watch on
                        mous leaps. For many youngsters, the big-           frogs these days, looking for signs of a ram-
                        eyed, slightly slimy creature is one of the         pant fungal infection called chytridiomyco-
                                                                                                                      BILL PORTLOCK/CBF STAFF

          The most common frog in the
Chesapeake region, the northern green
    frog inhabits freshwater ponds and
      wetlands. It has protected status,
meaning it cannot be harmed or killed.
 Male green frogs have larger external
 eardrums (tympanums) than females.
  Tympanums appear as raised circles
   behind and slightly below the eyes.
                                                                                                            SHARON CUMMINGS
                                                                                                                 Once a tadpole becomes a mature
                                                                                                                 frog and moves to land, it breathes
                                                                                                                 through its lungs. Underwater, adults
                                                                                                                 absorb oxygen through their skin.

sis (chytrid for short) which has devastated        seen massive die-offs like those happening      Federation and the American Association
frog populations around the globe.                  out west or in Central and South America.       of Zoos and Aquariums, recruited volun-
National Geographic magazine quoted Aus-            Our frog population might not be                teers to collect data on frogs in their region.
tralian researcher Lee Berger as saying the         immune, but it’s tolerating chytrid. We’re      Citizens listened for frog calls several times
outbreak and resulting loss represented             not sure why. It seems to be species-spe-       a week during breeding season, which runs
“the most spectacular loss of vertebrate            cific, particularly devastating for moun-       from early spring to late August, and sub-
biodiversity due to disease in recorded his-        tain-type frogs. It might be because they’re    mitted their findings for evaluation.
tory.” It reported that chytrid is now found        more susceptible to exposure to ultraviolet
on all continents where frogs live, in 43           light. There are a lot of questions that have   “It would be a sad world without that loose
different countries and 36 U.S. states.             to be answered.”                                banjo string sound,” said CBF Senior
However, frogs in the Chesapeake region,                                                            Naturalist John Page Williams. “Our
including the northern green, seem to be            Frogs and amphibians all over the globe         responsibility is to be good stewards of this
unaffected.                                         are increasingly stressed by water pollu-       planet, so that we can protect not only
                                                    tion, climate change, and disease.              northern green frogs, but ourselves.”
“Almost everywhere we test in Virginia,             Scientists are sharing information to moni-
we find positive signs for chytrid,”                tor the health of their populations world-        Learn how to make your backyard invit-
Kleopfer says. “We think it might be part           wide. Recently, Frogwatch USA, a project        ing for green frogs and other wildlife. Visit
of natural fungal fauna, but we have not            managed by the National Wildlife      

GREEN FROG facts •
DESCRIPTION: Green frogs aren’t always              CALL: Green frogs sound
green; they can be bronze or brown, but are         like the twang of a loose
usually green on the upper lip. They are 2.5 to     banjo string. Their call is
4.5 inches long, with large external eardrums       usually given as a single
and prominent ridges on either side of their        note, but is sometimes
backs. Their bellies are white with a darker pat-   repeated rapidly three or four
tern of lines or spots. The male has a yellow       times. Most frogs and toads
throat and swollen thumbs.                          start to call about a half-hour
                                                    after sunset.
HABITAT: Green frogs live close to shallow, fresh
water and are widespread in wetlands, ponds,        IN YOUR YARD: Create frog-friendly
and streams throughout eastern North America.       spaces by providing clean water and hid-
A subspecies, the Northern Green frog (Rana         ing places with plenty of insects to eat. To
clamitans melanota), is found from Canada to        make sure that frogs can get into and out of
the Carolinas.                                      your pond with ease, provide logs or rocks
                                                    for them to climb on and avoid steep
BREEDING: Green frogs first mate when they are      edges. Plant vegetation native to your
one to two years old. The breeding season runs      area around the edges to provide cover.
from March through August, peaking in mid-          Frogs absorb chemicals through their
summer. Females lay about 3,000 eggs at a           skin easily, so do your part to keep
time. Fertilized embryos develop into tadpoles in   garbage, chemicals, and non-native
about 30 days; tadpoles take up to a year to        plants and animals out of the natu-
grow into adult form.                               ral environment.

 12    Fall 2009

              CBF Pressures Steel Plant and Agencies
              for Clean Up

              T  he bottom of Bear Creek off the Patapsco
                 River in Baltimore is coated with a sub-
              stance that resembles solid, stinky tar.
                                                                  onsite; water pollution discharge permit vio-
                                                                  lations at the steel mill’s wastewater treat-
                                                                  ment facility; potential air pollution viola-
                                                                  tions; and expansions of the Grey’s Point
              The reason looms nearby: the Sparrows               landfill in violation of the consent decree. Dr.
              Point steel plant in Dundalk. Nearly a centu-       Beth McGee, Senior Regional Water Quality
              ry of industrial activities at Sparrows Point       Scientist for CBF, said that benzene, a human
              has left behind a legacy of toxic contamina-        carcinogen, has been found at 100,000 times
              tion that rivals many Superfund sites.              the government’s Maximum Contaminant
              Pollution has ravaged the Patapsco, Bear            Levels in groundwater flowing from the site
              Creek, and other nearby streams.                    into the Patapsco River. Yet the potential
                                                                  human health and environmental risk from
              The Bear Creek sediment is a graphic illustra-      exposure to this and other contamination has
              tion of why the Chesapeake Bay Foundation           not been evaluated or addressed, as required
              (CBF) and partners have announced their             in the 1997 agreement.

                         “     Benzene, a human carcinogen, has
                              been found in groundwater at levels
                                 100,000 times the legal limit.
              intention to sue the U.S. Environmental
              Protection Agency (EPA), the Maryland
              Department of Environment (MDE), and the
                                                                  Several local residents and businessmen
                                                                  have joined CBF and the Baltimore Harbor
                                                                  Waterkeeper in the possible legal action.
              past and present owners of the plant. In            CBF has expressed a willingness to with-
              1997, original owner Bethlehem Steel agreed         hold the lawsuit if substantial progress can
              to clean up pollution at the site and to assess     be assured.
              risks to human health and the nearby ecolo-
              gy from the pollution. Many of the terms of         “Steel plants can be run successfully with-
              the agreement have not been met.                    out being a major source of pollution. We
                                                                  look forward to steps being taken by the
              Past and recent investigations have found car-      current owner Severstal, MDE, and EPA to
              cinogens in soils at the mill site at levels many   ensure that the operation of the facility is
              times the Maryland soil clean-up standards;         in compliance with its permits and the
              high concentrations of toxic metals, petrole-       consent decree,” said CBF Vice President
              um by-products, and solvents in groundwater         for Litigation Jon Mueller.

                                                                                                       Residents of communities near the Sparrows Point steel plant
                                                                                                            face the risks of exposure to many toxic wastes. CBF has

                                                                                                      announced its intent to sue to force an on-site cleanup and an
                                                                                                                               investigation of off-site contamination.


King William Reservoir:

                                                                                            GARRIE ROUSE
It’s Dead                                                                                                   The Mattaponi River, endangered by a proposed
                                                                                                                 reservoir project, has been spared after a

T  he proposed King William reservoir, the sub-
   ject of more than 20 years of intense legal
wrangling and political maneuvering, has finally
                                                    The U.S. Justice Department chose
                                                    not to appeal the ruling, and the
                                                    Army Corps of Engineers suspended
                                                                                                                     hard-fought battle by CBF and others.

come to an end. The Newport News, Virginia,         the permit, ordering Newport News to pro-              loss alone would have represented the single
City Council delivered the coup de grace in         vide additional justification for the reservoir.       largest permitted loss of wetlands in the
September with a unanimous vote to kill the         These decisions sealed the reservoir’s fate.           Mid-Atlantic region in the history of the
controversial project after city waterworks offi-   Newport News officials opted to abandon                Clean Water Act.
cials recommended that all work be terminated.      the project and pursue alternative sources of
                                                    water to supply the city’s future needs.               “We are very gratified that Newport News
The city’s decision to kill the reservoir                                                                  finally abandoned the reservoir project,”
stemmed directly from a lawsuit brought by          The formal end to the King William reser-              said CBF Virginia Executive Director Ann
CBF, the Alliance to Save the Mattaponi, the        voir is a great victory for CBF members,               Jennings. “This is a profound victory not
Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, the            trustees, staff, supporters, and thousands of          only for CBF and the other partners, but to
Mattaponi Tribe, and the Southern                   citizens across Virginia who for years vigor-          the many legislators, scientists, federal
Environmental Law Center. The lawsuit               ously opposed the environmentally destruc-             employees, and citizens who passionately,
challenged the federal permit issued to             tive project. If built, the reservoir would            persistently fought to protect their homes,
Newport News for the reservoir, and in a            have destroyed more than 430 acres of pris-            the Mattaponi River, and the Chesapeake
major victory for the environment, a U.S.           tine nontidal wetlands, threatened Virginia’s          Bay. CBF thanks them for their steadfast
District Court ruled last March that the per-       American shad population, and flooded                  support and their efforts to fight for what
mit was arbitrary, capricious, and invalid.         American Indian cultural sites. The wetland            was right.”

Enforceable Limits Drafted for Bay Clean-Up Plans
D   iscussions on pollution in the Chesapeake
    watershed begin with a single fact:
Scientists have determined that to remain
                                                    enforceable limits for pollution in the Bay
                                                    and its rivers—a key demand in the lawsuit
                                                    against EPA filed by the Chesapeake Bay
                                                                                                           from all sources,” said CBF Senior Regional
                                                                                                           Water Quality Scientist Dr. Beth McGee.
                                                                                                           “That’s crucial. Perhaps more importantly,
healthy, the Bay can accommodate no more            Foundation (CBF) and its allies last                   there will be consequences if the states fail to
than 175 million pounds of nitrogen pollution       January. The pollution budget, called a                develop adequate plans or fail to make
a year.                                             TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) would                  progress in achieving the necessary pollution
                                                    be the first in the nation to require that Bay         reductions.”
The Chesapeake 2000 agreement, a land-              states meet explicit pollution limits or face
mark pact to improve regional water quality,        the consequences.                                      Pollution sources fall into two categories:
used this number as its targeted goal, and                                                                 point sources, such as sewage treatment
agencies developed plans for individual trib-       Pollution allowances across the watershed—             plants and large stormwater systems requir-
utaries that would limit total pollution to         from sources such as sewage treatment                  ing permits (about half of the Bay’s urban
that number. The plans, however, lacked             plants, urban and suburban stormwater, agri-           stormwater), and non-point sources, such as
specifics, and there were no penalties for fail-    cultural runoff, and more—would be deter-              runoff from farms and septic systems. The
ing to achieve the necessary reductions.            mined under the TMDL, which is expected                Bay TMDL will address both, fine-tuning the
Thus, the plans failed. In 2008, monitoring         to become final in December 2010.                      allocation formula to achieve reductions in
showed that 291 million pounds of nitrogen                                                                 the Bay’s overall pollution budget.
pollution annually were smothering the              “The big difference between this new
nation’s largest estuary.                           approach and past clean-up plans is that               “CBF’s involvement in legislation, litigation,
                                                    under the new TMDL, EPA will actually                  and the development of this new TMDL has
Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection              require the states to specify, in great detail,        really placed the enforceable pollution limit
Agency (EPA) and the states are developing          how they will achieve pollution reductions             at the top of the Bay agenda,” said McGee.

 14    Fall 2009

Pollution Allowance for Merck & Co. Opposed
C    iting an obvious violation of Virginia law
     and the Clean Water Act, CBF has chal-
lenged approval of a request by Merck & Co.,
                                                   additional pollution request by first accom-
                                                   plishing a corresponding reduction else-
                                                   where in the Shenandoah river basin.
                                                                                                     2000 agreement, and the basic Bay cleanup
                                                                                                     framework. It has called upon EPA to inter-
                                                                                                     vene in the matter. To date, EPA has been
Inc., an international pharmaceutical giant, to                                                      silent, even in the face of an obvious viola-
forego reducing its nitrogen pollution to levels   “The Commonwealth has developed a host            tion of the law and a precedent-setting deci-
necessary for a healthy Shenandoah River and       of reasonable, viable, and affordable options     sion that has the potential to unravel the
Chesapeake Bay.                                    that Merck can employ to come
                                                   into compliance with the pollu-
“Merck’s failure to reduce pollution will          tion limits. Every other discharg-
only worsen unacceptable conditions in the         er is required to employ such
Shenandoah and the Bay,” said CBF Virginia         compliance options. Why not
Deputy Director Joseph Tannery. “Virginia          Merck?” asked Tannery.
needs to find ways to reduce, not increase,                                                                                       Front Royal
pollution to the Bay and its rivers.”              After a lengthy regulatory review
                                                   process, the state and Merck did
It’s a David and Goliath story, pitting CBF        agree to several measures in an                                        Luray
against not only a corporate titan with            attempt to address the well-doc-
$7.8 billion in net income last year, but          umented pollution problems in
also the bureaucracies of the U.S.                 the Shenandoah river basin.               Harrisonburg
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)              However, the conditions placed                                    Merck & Co. plant
and Virginia’s Department of Environmental         on Merck are voluntary and fail
Quality (DEQ).                                     to guarantee water quality
Merck has argued for a reversal of an earlier
mandate that it reduce its wastewater pollu-       “There is the very real possibility
tion discharge levels to protect the               that Merck will be discharging
Shenandoah. At stake is more than the addi-        pollution without any offset for
tional 29,216 pounds of nitrogen pollution         years to come,” Tannery noted.          Merck & Co.’s Elkton plant has received approval to forego
that Merck wants to release annually into                                                   reducing its nitrogen pollution in the already overloaded
the river.                                         The case has statewide, even                                                    Shenandoah River.
                                                   regional, implications. Merck is
In June, CBF filed an appeal of a DEQ              but one of a growing list of industries and       multi-state effort to clean up the Bay.
decision allowing Merck to avoid increased         municipalities seeking to discharge               Tannery concluded, “In this case, omission
pollution for the already overloaded               increased levels of pollution. If allowed,        equals permission. I certainly hope EPA will
Shenandoah River. CBF argued that the state        such increases will “bust the cap” estab-         soon find the courage to stand behind its
had no legal right to grant Merck’s request        lished by scientists as the maximum               own laws and overturn Virginia’s decision in
under Virginia law or the Clean Water Act.         amount of pollution the Bay and it rivers         this case.”
Moreover, CBF highlighted multiple solu-           can safely tolerate.
tions that DEQ could require to ensure pro-                                                            Share your thoughts on our Facebook Fan
tection of the river. One of those solutions       CBF has concluded Virginia’s actions violate      Page at or on Twitter
would be to require Merck to “offset” its          the federal Clean Water Act, the Chesapeake       by adding the hashtag “#cbfmerck.”

      Bay Briefs

CBF Challenges Permits Related to                               Lack of local oversight

                                                                                                                                        OFFICE OF SENATOR CASEY
Natural Gas Drilling                                            on gas-drilling permits
For the first time since the Pennsylvania                       puts trout streams and
Department of Environmental Protection                             wetlands at risk.
(DEP) took over review of plans that regulate
erosion, sediment, and stormwater at natu-
ral gas drilling sites, the Chesapeake Bay
                                                                                                                                                  A bill introduced by
Foundation (CBF) is challenging three per-               Jackson Township and in Tioga State Forest,                                              Senator Robert
mits in Tioga County, contending they vio-               and to Ultra Resources, Inc., authorizing                                                Casey (D-PA) seeks
late both Commonwealth and federal laws.                 earth disturbance for substantial drilling                                               to amend the Safe
                                                         operations in Gaines and Elk townships. The                                              Drinking Water Act
DEP stripped review authority from local                 permits were granted with no analysis of the                                             to safeguard
County Conservation Districts in April, and              rate or volume of stormwater runoff from the                                             groundwater threat-
then instituted an expedited stormwater                  construction, which can pollute streams.                                                 ened by natural gas
permitting process that does not allow for                                                                                                        drilling.
public participation or meaningful agency                “These permits were issued without techni-
review of permit applications.                           cal review and an analysis of the damage          The Frac Act: Federal Protection
                                                         caused by construction and post-construc-         for Water Supplies
“Instead of protecting the environment, DEP              tion runoff,” said CBF Pennsylvania Staff
is rubber stamping permit applications with-             Attorney Matthew Royer. “That violates both       Pennsylvania’s current natural gas boom has
out any formal review,” said CBF’s Pennsyl-              the federal Clean Water Act and Pennsyl-          increased concerns about water quality,
vania Executive Director Matt Ehrhart. “Wild             vania law. Conservation Districts have the        especially groundwater and drinking water
trout streams and their tributaries, and excep-          local knowledge and experience to review          contamination (see page 6).
tional value wetlands that should receive extra          the permits and manage the program. What
protection under the law, are at risk due to the         we see here is a clear failure by DEP to meet                            .
                                                                                                           In June, Sen. Robert P Casey (PA) and Sen.
lack of thorough DEP oversight.”                         fundamental permit review obligations. DEP        Chuck Shumer (NY) introduced legislation
                                                         should restore authority to the Conservation      to prevent groundwater contamination dur-
CBF is challenging permits issued to                     Districts.” The appeals will go before the        ing the drilling process known as hydraulic
Fortuna Energy, Inc., authorizing earth dis-             Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board.         fracturing or “fracking.” Fracking involves
turbance for pipeline construction in                                                                      pumping a pressurized chemical slurry down
                                                         “Gas drilling will bring some level of environ-   wells to fracture rock deposits and free the
                                                         mental damage, as well as damage to roads         gas. Currently, there are no federal controls
                                                         and bridges,” Royer said. “That damage            on the process. Casey and Shumer’s legisla-
                                                         must be minimized through wise application        tion, dubbed the “Frac Act,” aims to close
                                                         of environmental regulations. It also under-      this loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
                                                         scores the need for a severance tax on
                                                         drilling so that the state can fund mitigation    “My major concern is that the chemicals
                                                         projects to offset damages.”                      added to the water to create fracking fluids
                                                                                                           are highly toxic,” said Casey upon introduc-
                                                         Stimulus Funds Aid Water Quality                  ing the bill. “These chemicals are injected
                                                                                                           right below underground drinking water.
                                                         An unprecedented award of federal stimulus        This is especially important to Pennsylvania
                                                         money will boost nitrogen pollution reduc-        because our state has the second highest
                                                         tion in Pennsylvania waterways. The $14.9         number of private wells for drinking water in
                                                         million package from the American Recovery        the nation, second only to Michigan.”
                                                         and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the
                                                         largest single award in CBF history, will sup-       Find out how you can support clean water and the
                                                         port a variety of farm conservation practices.    federal “Frac Act” by visiting
                                                         The funds, earmarked for “shovel-ready”
                                                          projects, will address chronic water pollu-        For more information on how CBF is working
  CBF is fighting permits granted in Tioga County         tion issues across 16 counties.                  to protect Pennsylvania waters, visit
    regarding erosion, sediment, and stormwater                                                            Pennsylvania or call 717/234-5550.
        controls at the sites of natural gas wells.        Learn more at

16     Fall 2009
                                                                                                                                               Bay Briefs
                                                                                                                                                       TOM ZOLPER/CBF STAFF
                      Town Hall Meeting Draws Hundreds                         A standing-room-only
                      Demanding EPA Action                                      crowd urges federal
                      Over 400 passionate people came to a town                officials to accelerate
                      hall meeting in Annapolis on August 11 to urge              Bay restoration.
                      the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                      (EPA) to step up in the fight to Save the Bay.

                      President Obama mandated that EPA and            stormwater pollution which results from
                      certain other federal agencies submit reports    sprawl. Baker said EPA could refuse to issue
                      on ways to restore the Bay. The reports will     federal permits in areas where this pollution
                      be used to develop a Bay restoration strategy,   violates established federal guidelines.
                      scheduled for draft release on November 9.
                                                                      To hear Will Baker’s remarks, go to
                      The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF),
                      Environment Maryland, and other groups
                      organized the town hall meeting to demon- Alternative to Highway Project Urged
                      strate public support for an aggressive EPA
                      approach.                                     Charles County leaders have proposed a six-
                                                                    mile, $60 million, four-lane highway that          Streams and wetlands around Mattawoman Creek
                      “If the Bay is going to be saved, the federal would cut through pristine forests, destroy        are threatened by Charles County’s plan to build a
                      government has got to be willing to draw a productive wetlands, do nothing to reduce               six-mile highway through the heart of the region.
                      line in the sand,” CBF President William C. local traffic congestion, and provide no assis-         Opponents have offered alternatives that would
                      Baker told the standing-room-only crowd.      tance to residents who commute to nearby                  shift growth closer to existing development.
                                                                    Washington, D.C.
                      Chuck Fox, EPA Senior Advisor on the                                                             congestion?” said Kim Coble, Maryland
                      Chesapeake Bay, acknowledged to the audi- The Cross-County Connector would lead to               Executive Director of CBF. “Instead, county
                      ence that “game-changing solutions” will be sprawling development throughout the                 leaders need to help people get to their jobs.
                      necessary to reverse decades of degradation Mattawoman Creek watershed. Currently,               They need to support communities rather
                      in the Bay’s water quality.                   sprawl in Charles County consumes natural          than promote sprawl.”
                                                                    areas at one of the fastest rates in the state.
                      Audience members spoke ardently about the The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates             In July, the Smarter Growth Alliance for
                      need for the federal government to lead the suburban development in Charles County will          Charles County, which includes CBF and
                      clean-up fight. The public seemed especially destroy more than 10,000 acres of forest—           16 other environmental organizations,
                      concerned with sprawl development and nearly 33 times the size of the National Mall—             released Trouble Ahead: Use Alternative
                                                                    in the next 20 years. The proposed highway         Routes, proposing an alternative to the

                                                                    and the houses that it would serve would cut       highway. The report also suggested the
                                                                    through the heart of one of the cleanest, most     county redirect its resources to enhance
                                                                    productive areas of the Chesapeake Bay.            existing neighborhoods and communities
                                                                                                                       and safeguard natural areas.
                                                                       There’s a better, more popular alternative.
                                                                       According to an independent survey con-         Both the Army Corps of Engineers and
                                                                       ducted in June, a substantial majority (73      Maryland Department of the Environment
                                                                       percent) of Charles County voters support       (MDE) have voiced numerous concerns and
                                                                       commuter rail service connecting the coun-      questions about the highway, and are review-
                                                                       ty’s population centers—Waldorf and La          ing permit applications. MDE has announced
                                                                       Plata—to Washington, D.C., over the pro-        it will make a decision on its permit by
                                                                       posed highway.                                  December.

                                                                     “The public gets it. Money is tight and Rt.      Learn more at
                                                                     301 is clogged with traffic. Why spend pre-
                                Chuck Fox, EPA Senior Advisor on the cious resources on a highway that cuts           For more information on how CBF is working to
                        Chesapeake Bay, spoke at a Town Hall meeting through one of the most productive fisheries  protect Maryland waters, visit
                                          in Annapolis on August 11. in the Bay region, and will do little to ease or call 410/268-8816.

       Bay Briefs
                                                                  DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Obama Commands New Approach

                                                                                                                                                                 REP. KRATOVIL’S OFFICE
                                                                  In response to the
to Bay’s Problems                                            president’s Executive Order,
President Obama’s Executive Order on                         federal officials confer on a
Chesapeake Bay Restoration, signed on May                       coordinated Bay plan.
12, requires the federal government to create
a new, government-wide, coordinated strate-
gy for protection and restoration of the
Chesapeake Bay.                                          Freshmen Congressmen Fight
                                                         For Chesapeake Bay                                   Rep. Frank Kratovil (MD-1) has been an active
Said Doug Siglin, CBF Federal Affairs                                                                        champion for the Bay during his first months in
Director, “President Obama’s Executive                   As CBF pursues litigation against EPA to force         Congress, sponsoring several environmental
Order gives us real hope that the federal gov-           it and other federal government agencies to                                               measures.
ernment will significantly accelerate its                enforce environmental law, several new allies
actions to save the Bay and that EPA will                in Congress have joined The Biggest Fight for     joined about 30 other members in advocat-
assume its lawful role as a leader of that               Clean Water This Nation Has Ever Seen.            ing that the federal highway system better
effort.”                                                                                                   manage its polluted runoff. Perriello also
                                                         Although freshman representatives typically       showed notable political courage in voting
The coordinated strategy will be prepared by             are slow to make an impact, new members           for legislation to address climate change.
a new “Federal Leadership Committee,”                    from the Chesapeake Bay watershed have
chaired by Administrator Lisa Jackson and                quickly taken action to protect and restore the   On the other side of the Capitol, freshman
involving senior officials from the depart-              Chesapeake Bay.                                   Senator Mark Warner (VA) has introduced
ments of Agriculture, Defense, Interior,                                                                   legislation to continue and strengthen the
Transportation, Commerce, Homeland                       One of the leaders has been Maryland              National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admini-
Security, and perhaps others. It will examine            Congressman Frank Kratovil (MD-1), who            stration’s (NOAA’s) Chesapeake Bay restora-
possible policies and programs, impacts of               sponsored an amendment to bring new sup-          tion work.
climate change, agricultural conservation                port to farmers who install practices that
assistance, conservation of open spaces,                 reduce pollution. Kratovil sponsored anoth-       Diverse Bay Coalition Launched
public access, research, monitoring, and                 er measure to authorize and continue a suc-       CBF has joined about 80 other organiza-
other topics.                                            cessful U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pro-       tions, ranging from large national environ-
                                                         gram to protect, restore, and enhance wild        mental groups to all-volunteer stream clean-
Following the release of preliminary reports             bird habitat.                                     up efforts, to form a new coalition to help
on September 10, a draft of the plan and the                                                               promote federal actions to restore the
coordinated strategy paper are scheduled to              Another early leader has been Virginia            Chesapeake Bay.
be released on November 9 for a 60-day                   Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA-11), who
public comment period.                                   in July successfully amended an appropria-        The coalition, whose signature initiative is the
                                                         tions bill to increase funding for oyster         “Choose Clean Water Campaign,” will
  Learn more at http://executiveorder.                   restoration. A second new Virginia Congress-      inspire, unite, and guide its members to talk                                       man, Rob Wittman (VA-1), joined Connolly          to their Congressional representatives about
                                                         to speak in support. Both noted that oysters      the importance of protecting and restoring

                                                         are a keystone species and an effective natu-     clean water in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
                                                         ral filter for pollution. The two representa-
                                                         tives have individually sponsored other Bay-      Led by a steering committee that includes
                                                         friendly bills. Connolly’s Chesapeake Bay         Doug Siglin, CBF Federal Affairs Director, the
                                                         Restoration Act would set a runoff standard       new coalition is supported by the Keith
                                                         for all new “greenfield” projects on undevel-     Campbell Foundation for the Environment,
                                                         oped land. Wittman’s Chesapeake Bay               Town Creek Foundation, Prince Charitable
                                                         Accountability and Recovery Act would             Trust, Summit Fund of D.C., and the
                                                         ensure that federal agencies use science-         Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.
                                                         based strategies when determining restora-
                                                         tion projects and goals.                             For more information on how CBF is working
      Federal agencies are devising a coordinated                                                          at the federal level to protect and restore the Bay
                strategy for the Bay in response to      Two other new Virginia representatives, Tom       and its tributaries, visit or call
               President Obama’s Executive Order.        Perriello (VA-5) and Glenn Nye (VA-2),            202/544-2232.

 18     Fall 2009
                                                                                                                                                Bay Briefs

Power Plant Would Aggravate                                                   A proposed coal-fired power               farmers on “Farmers to the Bay” trips to
Pollution; CBF Calls for EPA Action                                                                                     CBF’s Port Isobel Education Center and
                                                                              plant would further degrade               Tangier Island.
CBF is fighting a new coal-fired power plant                                   regional air and water and
proposed for Surry County, because the                                          pose human health risks.                The Shenandoah effort is among 12 environ-
plant would worsen pollution in the James                                                                               mental projects in Virginia and Washington,
River and the Chesapeake Bay.                                                                                           D.C., receiving a total of $6.1 million from
                                                                                                                        the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
According to figures released by the owner,                              Federal Funds Targeted to Improve              and the Chesapeake Bay Program to reduce
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC),                                Streams in Shenandoah                          pollution to local streams, rivers, and the
the plant in Dendron would add 1.9 million                                                                              Chesapeake Bay.
more pounds of nitrogen pollution and 118                                CBF has joined a Shenandoah Valley effort to
more pounds of mercury pollution to the air                              ensure that federal funding for agricultural
above the Bay.                                                           conservation practices helps to reduce as      CBF Backs New Runoff Rules
                                                                         much polluted runoff as possible.
“This pollution will only worsen the well-                                                                              CBF strongly supports new Virginia regula-
documented nitrogen and mercury prob-                                    The Shenandoah Valley Clean Streams tions that, if approved, will greatly lower the
lems already plaguing the Bay,” said CBF                                 Initiative targets high-density animal produc- amount of polluted runoff fouling state
Virginia Deputy Director Joe Tannery. “The                               tion farms in the Smith Creek watershed, streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.
plant will also emit huge quantities of green-                           with the goal of reducing pollution suffi-                                          ISTOCK

house gases that will exacerbate climate                                 ciently to remove Smith Creek from EPA’s
change, already a growing threat to our                                  impaired waters list.
                                                                         CBF is a founding member of the Virginia
CBF is calling upon the U.S. Environmental                               Waste Solutions Forum coalition, which is
Protection Agency (EPA) to become directly                               partnering with the Virginia Department of
involved in federal environmental impact                                 Conservation and Recreation on the proj-
studies for the plant and for the U.S. Army                              ect. CBF’s role will be to work one-on-one
Corps of Engineers to hold additional public                             with farmers in the target area to imple-
hearings in heavily populated Hampton                                    ment conservation practices that protect
Roads, where plant impacts would be felt by                              streams, as well as to host participating
the greatest number of people.

“EPA and DEQ (Virginia                                              Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1)
Department of Environmental
                                                                 joined Clean the Bay Day volunteers
                                                            Isabel Dreyer, age two, and father Arram
Quality) can neither legally                                Dreyer, standing, at Huntington Beach in
authorize nor justify the dis-                                 Newport News. CBF’s June 6 clean-up
charge of additional nitrogen                                   event drew more than 7,000 Virginia                      Across the Bay region, pollution from stormwater
and mercury pollution in an                                  residents to shorelines and local water-                      runoff has increased in recent years. Proposed
ecosystem that’s already                                       ways, where they pitched in to remove                        rules would reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and
impaired,” Tannery stated.                                              more than 100 tons of trash.                       sediment flowing from new developments and
                                                                                                                                               farmland across the state.
CBF is urging ODEC to pur-
sue less environmentally dam-                                                                                           The new controls on stormwater and farm
aging alternatives, pointing                                                                                            runoff are designed to help reduce the
out that the 2007 Virginia                                                                                              amount and impact of runoff from new
Energy Plan concluded that                                                                                              development sites across the state and from
energy efficiency and conser-                                                                                           poultry waste applied as fertilizer on farm
                                   ANDREA MORAN/CBF STAFF

vation measures are the quick-                                                                                          fields. The state is expected to act on the
est, most cost-effective ways to                                                                                        proposed rules this fall.
meet Virginia’s future energy
needs.                                                                                                                     For more information on how CBF is working
                                                                                                                        to protect Virginia waters, visit
  Learn more at                                                                                          or call 804/780-1392.

 Mounting Evidence Shows Human Health Threats
                                       By Tom Pelton

                                    Cyanobacteria blooms, above, release toxins that have been associated with vomiting, skin rashes, fevers, and disease.

                                                                                                        Among the Threats:
J  oe Stover fell in love with water in his youth,
   while guiding a canoe down cascading
rapids on the Shenandoah River.
                                                     human health. Harmful algal blooms, mer-
                                                     cury contamination, and nitrates in drink-
                                                     ing water are also examples of how water           Vibrio: The combination of warmer waters,
                                                     pollution can harm not only fish and oys-          pollution, and other factors in the Chesa-
But his lifelong association of water to good        ters, but the Chesapeake’s people as well.         peake Bay is contributing to the growth of a
health ended in June 2008. That was when                                                                bacterium called Vibrio that can cause life-
the recreational boater from Newport News,           The evidence of these health threats—and           threatening skin and blood infections and
Virginia, spent 10 days in a hospital because        case studies about Joe Stover, Bernie Voith,       intestinal illnesses, according to Dr. Rita
of a terrifying bacterial infection from a           and others—are revealed in a new Chesa-            Colwell, former Director of the National
waterborne pathogen called Vibrio. His               peake Bay Foundation report, Bad Water             Science Foundation and currently Distin-
hand swelled to the size of a catcher’s mitt.        2009: The Impact on Human Health in the            guished University Professor at the University
                                                     Chesapeake Bay Region. At a time when the          of Maryland, College Park, and the Johns
Bernie Voith, a retired printer, enjoyed             Obama administration is reviewing new              Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
swimming nearly every night behind his               options to clean up the Bay, the report            Although infrequent, the number of annual
home on a tributary to the Severn River in           makes the case that strong federal action is       Vibrio infections reported in Virginia has more
Anne Arundel County, Maryland. But in July           urgently needed because the health of our          than doubled over the last decade, from 12 in
2005 he was nearly killed by a blood infec-          citizens could be at stake.                        1999 to 30 in 2008, and reported cases have
tion that his doctor believes was caused by          RITA COLWELL                             Vibrio    also risen in Maryland.
fecal bacteria in the river seeping into an
open cut on his leg.                                                                                    Cyanobacteria: Nitrogen and phosphorus
                                                                                                        pollution and warmer weather also stimu-
What do these men have in common? They                                                                  late the growth of harmful algal blooms.
are both witnesses to the fact that pollution                                                           Blue green algae, also known as cyanobacte-
and warming temperatures in the                                                                         ria, can cause liver disease, skin rashes, nau-
Chesapeake Bay are contributing to the                                                                  sea, and vomiting. Dr. Peter Tango,
growth of bacteria that can pose risks to                                                               Chesapeake Watershed Coordinator for the

 20    Fall 2009
Victims of Bacteria in the Bay
                                                                       U.S. Geological Survey, recently co-authored
                                 In June of 2008, Joe Stover was       a report that called harmful algal blooms a
                                 putting his boat on a trailer at      “significant and expanding threat to aquatic
                                 Denbigh Park Boat Ramp on the         life, human health, and regional economies.”
                                 Warwick River, Virginia, when he
                                 suffered a small cut to his right     Cryptosporidium: A study by Dr. Thaddeus
                                 thumb. Thirty-six hours later, his    Graczyk of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg
                                 hand had “swollen up to the size      School of Public Health found the protozoan
                                 of a catcher’s mitt,” he recalled.    Cryptosporidium (a pathogen that local health
                                 “It had me quite worried…             departments do not test for) at levels that
                                 because the hand had swollen so       could cause diarrhea or more serious illness
                                 grotesquely.”                         in 70 percent of weekend samples at a
                                                                       Baltimore County beach.
                                 Doctors determined that Stover
                                 was suffering from a Vibrio infec-    Mercury: This heavy metal, released into the
                                 tion, which can cause life-threat-    environment by the burning of coal and
                                 ening illnesses. He spent 10 days     from other sources, pollutes waterways,
                                 in the hospital and underwent sur-    taints fish, and can potentially damage intel-
                                 gery as a result of his encounter     ligence. In the Chesapeake region, govern-
                                 with the bacteria.                    ments have issued statewide fish consump-
                                                                       tion advisories for mercury for all lakes and
                                 “It really brought to my attention    rivers in Pennsylvania and Maryland, many
                                 how important it is that we pay       rivers in Virginia, and an advisory for all
                                 attention to our water, and how       rockfish in the Maryland portion of the
                                 dirty our water is,” said Stover of   Chesapeake Bay. A study by Virginia
                                 his terrifying illness.               Commonwealth University found that 38
                                                                       percent of survey participants were eating
                                                                       fish with mercury at doses that exceeded the
 Joe Stover                                                            warning level set by the federal government.
                                                                       Nitrates: Polluted runoff not only causes low
                                 Retired printer Bernie Voith still
                                                                       oxygen “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay,
                                 bears the scar from a bacterial
                                                                       but also can hurt the health of rural families.
                                 infection that he contracted from
                                                                       Between 21 and 60 percent of private wells
                                 swimming in the Severn River,
                                                                       tested in parts of Pennsylvania’s lower
                                 near Annapolis, Maryland, on
                                                                       Susquehanna River Basin in recent surveys
                                 Fourth of July weekend, 2005.
                                                                       had nitrate levels exceeding public drinking
                                                                       water standards. Drinking water with too
                                 He had scraped his leg against a
                                                                       much nitrate can potentially raise the risk of
                                 plastic chair before entering the
                                                                       cancer, nervous system deformities in
                                 water with his grandson. Twelve
                                                                       infants, hemorrhaging of the spleen, and
                                 hours later, he woke with a sear-
                                                                       other problems.
                                 ing pain in his calf and a high
                                 fever. An ambulance took him to
                                                                       To reduce these kinds of risks to human
                                 the hospital, and he spent the
                                                                       health, the CBF report calls on the U.S.
                                 next four months in and out of
                                                                       Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
                                 treatment for a bacterial blood
                                                                       create a strong and enforceable cap on pollu-
                                 infection and a leg wound that
                                                                       tion entering the Bay. Among other steps,
                                 would not heal.
                                                                       EPA should also deny permits for sewage
                                                                       plants, construction projects, and other
                                 Water-quality data from the Severn
                                                                       sources that would discharge additional
                                 River on the day Voith got sick
                                                                       nitrogen and mercury pollution.
                                 showed that the fecal bacteria
                                 count near his beach was 10
                                                                       Chesapeake citizens like Joe Stover, Bernie
                                 times the level that the U.S.
                                                                       Voith, and you deserve no less.
                                 Environmental Protection Agency
                                 (EPA) considers safe for swimming.
                                                                         Read Bad Water 2009: The Impact on
 Bernie Voith                                                          Human Health in the Chesapeake Bay
                                                                       Region online at

If a picture is worth a thousand words, CBF’s second

annual Members Photo Contest spoke volumes.

Talented photographers across the region submitted

more than 400 entries evoking the beauty and boun-

ty of the Bay, its tributaries, and surrounding lands.

These top prize winners and nine additional images

from the contest will be featured in CBF’s 2010

Member Calendar.

                                                              From the top:
              Viewers’ Choice Award photo by CBF member Robert Quinn.
      A slice of land divides sky and water near Pickering Creek’s Audubon
               boathouse, located off the Wye River near Easton, Maryland.

                           First-place photo by CBF member Robert Quinn.
  Beyond the boom of CBF’s historic skipjack, the Stanley Norman, Thomas
 Point Lighthouse sparkles on a summer morning near Annapolis, Maryland.

                      Second-place photo by CBF member Denny Motsko.
            A well-worn skiff noses the grasses of the Rappahannock River
                                                        in Topping, Virginia.

                         Third-place photo by CBF member Eugene Huskey.
          In Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, the translucent waters of
                           Dark Hollow Falls begin their descent to the Bay.

                                                       The 2010 CBF
                                                    Member Calendar
                                                    is available for pur-
                                                    chase online. Visit

22    Fall 2009
Strength in Numbers                                                                                                                                                   A        squith
                                                                                                                                                                      Asquith Creek Creek

                                                                                                                                                                             SEVERN RIVER


Scaled-Up Reefs Aid Oyster Comeback                                                                                                                   Weems Creek
                                                                                                                                                                                  NAVAL ACADEMY

By Carol Denny                                                                                                                   Oyster restoration
                                                                                                                                 sites                            Annapolis
                                                                                                                                 Recent CBF projects                                        Chesapeake
      aryland’s Severn River, famous as the       that appears to have achieved the scale need-                                  Severn River

M     site of the U.S. Naval Academy and
the historic state capital, is now attracting
                                                  ed for success. Three years in a row of strong
                                                  spatsets (oyster reproduction) suggest the
                                                                                                                             LUCIDITY INFORMATION DESIGN , LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                             0    1 Mile

attention for a different reason: as a focal      reefs are contributing to their own sustain-                               Reefs planted by CBF and other groups are adding
point for oyster restoration.                     ability, in addition to providing habitat for                               to the critical mass of oysters in the Severn River.
                                                  aquatic life and filtering the river’s waters.
CBF’s, Maryland oyster restoration vessel,
the Patricia Campbell, planted 10 million         The success to date in the Great Wicomico
oysters on four acres of river bottom in early    echoes earlier work in Virginia’s Lynnhaven
August—the most this boat and crew have           River near the Bay’s mouth, which may
ever planted at one time. The project, one of     have been the first example of an ecosys-
dozens underway across the Bay by cooper-         tem “response” in the form of widespread
ating agencies and organizations, was in          oyster reproduction. For several years
many ways representative of the new direc-        beginning in 1997, the Virginia Marine
tion of oyster restoration for the Chesapeake.    Resources Commission (VMRC) built
                                                  “shellpile” reefs in the river, and CBF and
“Scale is key,” said CBF Senior Fisheries         Lynnhaven Now populated the reefs with

                                                                                                     SIGRUN ORTMANN
Scientist Bill Goldsborough, “and it’s going      oysters grown by local citizens. The first
to take the collaboration of multiple part-       system-wide spatset in many decades
ners, state, federal, and private, to scale up    occurred in the river shortly thereafter.
oyster restoration enough to affect the
ecosystem, whether it’s an individual river       The Piankatank River is shaping up to be the                                  The Patricia Campbell, CBF’s oyster restoration
or the whole Bay.”                                next focal area for oyster restoration in                                      vessel, recently planted more than 10 million
                                                  Virginia. For three years, CBF and The                                                     young oysters in the Severn River.
Partners who played a role in restoring the       Nature Conservancy (TNC) have been
four-acre reef in the Severn include the          rebuilding and planting VMRC sanctuary
Department of Natural Resources, the              reefs in the river with support from the
Oyster Recovery Partnership, the Maryland         National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin-
Watermen’s Association, and the University        istration. Now, the Corps is planning to apply
of Maryland Center for Environmental              its considerable resources there as well.
Science. This fall, the Army Corps of Engi-
                                                                                                      TOM ZOLPER/CBF STAFF

neers’ Baltimore District plans to bring in       “We think a similar approach—a collabora-
barge loads of reef material to an adjoining      tive effort to scale up reef-building—will
site and three others nearby, for a total of 30   bring real progress in the Piankatank in the
more acres of reefs.                              next few years,” said Mark Bryer, TNC’s
                                                  Chesapeake Program Director.
Stephan Abel, Executive Director of the                                                                                      On deck, millions of seed oysters attached to tons
Oyster Recovery Partnership, a non-profit         Back on the Severn, divers have seen the eco-                                   of oyster shell await delivery to the new reef.
that conducts oyster restoration efforts          logical benefits that even the small-scale reefs
across the state, is enthusiastic about the       built over the last dozen years in the river                               “Nature is the best guide. The Bay was once
Severn’s potential. “The Severn is one of the     have created—vibrant underwater habitats                                   lined with three-dimensional reefs that were
first rivers to really maximize resources in a    for fish, mussels, and barnacles where none                                an integral part of the ecosystem. Recreating
concentrated area,” he says. “The model           existed before. The Severn’s underwater                                    the size and shape and pattern of reefs as
being applied here could have a dramatic          topography—hills and valleys instead of a                                  Nature built them over millennia is the chal-
impact going forward.”                            flat bottom—has also helped to create                                      lenge of oyster restoration, and while that
                                                  higher, three-dimensional reefs. Scientists                                will take many years, it appears we are final-
Meanwhile, in Virginia, the same principles       involved in oyster restoration on Virginia’s                               ly on the right track,” said Goldsborough.
are being applied. The Corps’ Norfolk             Great Wicomico reported that taller reefs,
District constructed a network of reefs total-    which keep the oysters higher in the water                                   Learn more about oyster restoration at
ing 89 acres in the Great Wicomico River          column, help oyster growth and survival.                         


Pushing to

                                               JACK EGGLESTON, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Cap Pollution
Nancy Stoner
Got Hooked in Her
Own Backyard
                                                                                          As a youngster, Nancy Stoner experienced the effects of pollution on the Shenandoah Valley’s South
By Tom Pelton                                                                                 River. Now she and others are working on a plan to limit overloads of nitrogen and phosphorus.

N    ancy Stoner grew up with water in the                                              leadership of EPA to make the Chesapeake

                                                                                                                                                                                               TOM PELTON/CBF STAFF
     backyard of her home in Waynesboro,                                                Bay a national model for innovative
Virginia, a small town nestled in the                                                   approaches to cleaning up waterways.
Shenandoah Valley. She loved floating down
the South River on an inner tube, trailing a                                            “What’s different about the Bay is the
fishing line behind her.                                                                amount of information that we have,”
                                                                                        Stoner said. “We have more detailed, accu-
But she knew she shouldn’t eat the fish that                                            rate monitoring information about the
she caught. They were contaminated with                                                 sources of pollution and what needs to be
mercury from a nearby industrial plant.                                                 done in the Bay than almost anywhere.”               NRDC’s Nancy Stoner

As a child, Stoner thought this kind of pol-                                            Stoner and others are working to create a         she’s an ideal person to be working on this
lution was just the way the world was and                                               precedent-setting, enforcable pollution           new tactic.
that nobody could do anything about it.                                                 limit system for the Chesapeake watershed
After graduating from Yale Law School,                                                  that, if successful, could be replicated          “She knows the legislative, regulatory, and
however, she started working as an attor-                                               across the nation. Federal and state envi-        litigation environment better than any other
ney in water pollution enforcement for the                                              ronmental agencies would set a maximum            Clean Water Act attorney in Washington,
U.S. Justice Department, where she learned                                              amount of nitrogen and phosphorus pollu-          D.C.,” said Chuck Fox, the EPA Adminis-
the strength of the federal Clean Water Act.                                            tion allowed from jurisdictions. Sewage           trator’s top advisor for Chesapeake Bay
                                                                                        treatment plants, livestock feeding opera-        restoration. “She has immense respect
“I didn’t know I was going to be in environ-                                            tions, or other businesses would either           among decision makers, and her real source
mental work. I was interested in the subject                                            have to make the reductions needed to             of power is her knowledge.”
initially as a social cause, as a way of improv-

ing people’s lives,” Stoner reflected. “I’m
looking at ways people can have their lives
                                                                                                  I’m looking at ways people can have their
                                                                                               lives enhanced through our natural resources.
enhanced through our natural resources.”
                                                                                                                           —NANCY STONER, NRDC
Stoner worked as Director of the Office of
Policy and Planning at the U.S.                                                         meet the limit themselves, or pay for pollu-  Stoner’s skill may come from her mastery of
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)                                                   tion reduction projects, such as planting     law, but her motivation traces back to her
from 1996 to 1999. And over the last                                                    trees along streams on farms to filter runoff childhood fondness for fishing—and her
decade, she’s been at the Natural Resources                                             before it contaminates the water.             desire to expand employment opportunities
Defense Council (NRDC), where she’s now                                                                                               for people in industries dependent on clean
Co-Director of the advocacy group’s clean                                               This pollution limit concept has already water, such as fishing, recreation, and tourism.
water program. One of her top goals today,                                              been tried on a small scale, but Stoner envi-
working with allies at the Chesapeake Bay                                               sions a broader system that would reward “I think this is a very good opportunity
Foundation (CBF), is to seize the opportu-                                              clean businesses and reduce the overall cost right now, with a very favorable executive
nity of the Obama administration’s new                                                  of cleanup. Those who know Stoner say branch, to clean up the Bay,” Stoner said.

 24    Fall 2009

                                             Water Data on the Web
                                              by Carol Denny

                                                                                                                                                                                        CBF STAFF
                                                     Students gather data on water quality in the field, then upload it to the FieldScope website to share with scientists and peers.

“H                             elping students to become critical
                               thinkers is the ‘Holy Grail’ of public edu-
                          cation,” says Tom Ackerman, CBF’s Director of
                                                                             mospheric Administration (NOAA), and
                                                                             the FieldScope project (
                                                                             was launched.
                          Teacher Education & Student Leadership.
                          “And helping students understand and take          The appeal to educators was clear. “We
                          action to improve water quality is the goal
                                                                             need our students engaging in real sci-
                          of CBF’s Education program.”
                                                                             ence,” says John Quinn, Coordinator of
                          These two goals have coalesced in a new            Secondary Science for Howard County
                          project now being piloted by CBF and the           Public School System, one of the first
                          National Geographic Society (NGS). The             groups invited to join the FieldScope proj-
                          initiative, the National Geographic                ect. “The kind of learning that happens
                          Chesapeake Bay FieldScope project, com-            when students apply the scientific process
                          bines two contemporary tools—GIS
                                                                             to real-world environmental problems is
                          (Global Information Systems) and the
                          Internet—to give students a vital, real-time       far more powerful than having them per-
                          connection to water in their region.               form ‘canned’ science projects.”                      The site’s interactive map has multiple functions.

                          FieldScope extends the impact of CBF’s             Using FieldScope, teachers and students               Meanwhile, users beyond the education
                          award-winning field education experiences          can view real-time data about water quali-            community are recognizing the potential of
                          by making water-quality research the focus         ty around the Chesapeake region by                    FieldScope to expand available informa-
                          of the project. “The truly innovative part is      searching information posted by NOAA, as              tion on the Bay. The Alliance for the
                          that students can measure water quality            well as other student groups. With land               Chesapeake Bay, for example, has already
                          right in their own area, then post their           use data added by National Geographic,                uploaded its data.
                          information to the website,” says                  students can make inferences and draw
                          Ackerman. “They share it with other stu-           conclusions about the causes of poor water            “We’ve always given students data and
                          dents and compare it to existing profes-           quality.                                              asked them to draw conclusions,” says
                          sional data.”                                                                                            Linda Peterson, Middle School Science
                                                                             “Any student who can use Mapquest or                  Specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools.
                          National Geographic, a long-time partner           Google Maps can access the powerful tools             “FieldScope gives students real data in real
                          and supporter of CBF’s Chesapeake                  incorporated in FieldScope,” Ackerman                 time that they’re part of creating. They share
                          Classrooms program, approached CBF in              notes, demonstrating on his computer.                 that data with a real audience. That’s doing
                          2007 to brainstorm the possibilities of            With the click of a mouse, he shows how               real science, and we know the best way to
                          combining GIS tools and the web to                 users can map and measure the flow path               learn science is by doing it.”
                          engage students in learning about their            of water from their home to the Bay. With
                          world. “We immediately recognized the              another click, he creates a map of a specif-             The National Geographic Chesapeake Bay
                          potential to fill a great need of our school-      ic watershed. He explains that students can           FieldScope project will be available to middle
                          system partners,” Ackerman explains. NGS           easily graph their own data against infor-            and high school teachers this fall. For more
                          and CBF reached out to a third founding            mation provided by other student groups               information, contact or visit
                          partner, National Oceanographic and At-            or a nearby NOAA buoy.                      

      Our Giving Community

A Living Legacy
T   his spring, CBF was proud to honor a young
    person whose short life seems to have
inspired everyone he touched to love his Bay.
Kennedy M. Fitzgerald, 20, died in a fire in
2007 at the family home near Easton, Mary-
land, along with his sister, Maggie, and girl-
friend, Christine Maier. After the tragedy, the
family requested that donations in Kennedy’s
name be made to CBF. The outpouring of
memorial gifts was used to create a new living
shoreline at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Mu-
seum that will provide a habitat for wildlife.
Supported by additional funding from the
Chesapeake Bay Trust and the National Fish

                                                                                                                                                                 MARGARET ENLOE/CBF STAFF
and Wildlife Service, it was constructed by Ken-
nedy’s former employer, Environmental Con-
cern. In April, the shoreline was dedicated to
Kennedy and Maggie, and in June, it came to life
as CBF helped organize a restoration planting
with Fitzgerald friends, family, and volunteers.

  For more on Kennedy Fitzgerald’s life and              In June, relatives and friends of Kennedy Fitzgerald joined his parents, Peg and Matthew Fitzgerald
photos of the June event, visit            (above center), and CBF President Will Baker (in red) to plant a living shoreline in his honor.

Boat Donation for Hampton Roads
I  t used to be known as Tidewater, a favorite
   retreat for Virginia families. These days, the
                                                      Furthermore, the Hermans recognized that
                                                      the Hampton Roads office had limited

                                                                                                                                                                 ANDREA MORAN/CBF STAFF
area goes by Hampton Roads, and its popu-             resources, as the CBF boat they travelled on
lation makes up 10 percent of the Chesa-              had come from outside the area. They felt
peake Bay watershed—about 1.8 million                 that the Hampton Roads program needed a
residents. Businesses, military families, and         suitable vessel of its own to engage the
those who love the water flock to the region,         community in projects to improve the                                                  CBF’s Bay Oyster
not to vacation but to settle down.                   region’s water quality and to advance CBF
                                                      programs.                                            The vessel could not have come at a better
Hampton Roads natives Steve and Sally                                                                      time. Currently, CBF staff in Hampton
Herman, who have lived in the Washington              In November 2008, the Hermans helped                 Roads oversees advocacy initiatives, volun-
area for the last 40 years, have watched their        CBF purchase a 21-foot Carolina skiff. Bay           teer efforts, oyster restoration, and a thriving
hometown grow, returning most summers                 Oyster now travels the Elizabeth, Lynnhaven,         education program. Each program benefits
to visit. They both have fond childhood               James, Nansemond, York, and other rivers in          from improved access to waterways, aiding
memories of oystering and crabbing on local           a variety of capacities. Staff regularly use Bay     the fight for clean water.
waterways. During a boat trip last summer             Oyster to plant oysters raised through the
with friends, the Hermans explored CBF’s              volunteer oyster gardening program, test             “Growing up in Norfolk, my parents taught
oyster restoration successes on the Lynn-             water quality, monitor shoreline restora-            us to respect the surrounding waterways,”
haven River. “We realized that rebuilding             tions, and act as a watchdog on the rivers.          explains Sally. “My father in particular loved
native oyster stock is critical to helping            Bay Oyster is also available to give interested      gathering and eating Lynnhaven oysters.
return the Bay to its previously pristine con-        media, members, and advocates a chance to            He’d be thrilled to know we were working
dition,” recalled Sally Herman.                       experience these waterways first-hand.               with CBF to bring oysters back.”

 26    Fall 2009
                                                                                                     Our Giving Community

Making a Difference: Gerry Lenfest
By William C. Baker, President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

“F  ill in the hole,” he told his
    architect. Gerry Lenfest
had been working on plans
                                                                                                      Gerry Lenfest’s support of strategic liti-
                                                                                                      gation by CBF has enabled the organiza-
for his dream house for                                                                               tion to fight for the Bay’s health in court
months. But looking at the                                                                            when other options have failed. Here is
size of the excavation, he real-                                                                      a sampling of more than 25 state and
ized just how big the house                                                                           federal actions undertaken since 2004:
would be. He decided on the
spot that he and his wife                                                                             Federal
Marguerite simply did not                                                                             • EPA: Mercury rule violating the Clean
need it. The home they had                                                                              Air Act
lived in for many decades                                                                             • Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant:
would serve them just as well                                                                           Discharge permit issued without a legally
in the years ahead.                                                                                     required compliance schedule
                                                                                                      • Sparrows Point: Notice of intent to sue
So to the architect’s dismay,                                                                           under Clean Water Act and Resource
the project was shut down.                                                                              Conservation and Recovery Act
The breathtaking views, the                                                                           • King William Reservoir: Permit to destroy
rolling hills, the extraordinary                                                                        wetlands and build a reservoir
wildlife habitat would remain CBF STAFF                                                               • EPA: Failure to meet terms of the
untouched in perpetuity,
                                                                                     Gerry Lenfest      Chesapeake 2000 agreement and
thanks to a conservation easement. Nothing         mental decisions—a decision that led corpo-          enforce Clean Water Act
says more in my mind about Gerry Lenfest           rate giant Philip Morris to reduce its pollu-
than that simple decision, “Fill in the hole.”     tion discharge to the James River. We have
                                                   successfully argued for the protection of land     • Blackwater: Growth allocations for
For 20 years, Gerry has been a friend, a           surrounding Maryland’s Blackwater National           development in Critical Area
donor, a trustee, and a valued advisor to CBF.     Wildlife Refuge, halting a developer’s pro-        • Little Island: Island home built without
While his 2000 endowment gift for environ-         posal to build on more than 1,000 acres of           required permits and variances
mental education will continue to provide          forest and farmland. We have successfully          • Wilson: Individual seeks to build private
untold benefits for the Bay, Gerry’s more          opposed construction of Virginia’s King              wastewater treatment plant
recent support and personal investment in          William Reservoir, preventing the single           Virginia
CBF’s litigation work is equally valuable.         largest permitted loss of wetlands in the mid-
                                                                                                      • Philip Morris USA: Increase to permitted
                                                   Atlantic region in the history of the Clean
                                                                                                        discharges; water permit
In 2004, Gerry was a member of a small CBF         Water Act. We have intervened in a consoli-
                                                                                                      • Onancock: Increase to permitted
task force charged with investigating the          dated administrative case in Pennsylvania to
                                                                                                        discharges; water permit
potential for CBF to use litigation even more      keep stricter limits on sewage treatment
strategically than we had in the past. After six   plant discharges. Most recently, we have
                                                                                                      • Merck: Increase to permitted discharges
months of study, the group reported its rec-       brought suit against EPA, demanding that it        • King William Reservoir: Permit to destroy
ommendation to CBF’s full Board, and a deci-       enforce the federal Clean Water Act.
                                                                                                        wetlands and build a reservoir
sion was made to launch a dedicated litiga-                                                           West Virginia
tion project. Gerry put up $1.25 million, one-     None of this would have been possible with-
                                                                                                      • Martinsburg: Water permit challenges
half of the cost of the project for five years,    out Gerry Lenfest. His personal and finan-
and he challenged others to invest with him.       cial commitment has yielded enormous div-          Pennsylvania
                                                   idends for our organization and for the            • Marcellus Shale: Erosion and sediment
Today, five years later, CBF has handled more      future health of the Bay and its rivers.             control permit challenges
than 25 cases. We have won significant vic-                                                           • Other water permit challenges
tories, including a unanimous decision by          Gerry, your decisiveness, leadership, and gen-
the Virginia Supreme Court that affirmed the       erosity have been critical to CBF’s success. We      Learn more at
right of citizen groups to challenge environ-      admire you. We thank you. We salute you.


Events Around the Watershed
Maryland                                                                                                         Virginia
October 13-16: The 20th annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner                                                     October 17: Composting Workshop, Humphrey Calder Community
Race. More than 50 boats compete on a course from Fells Point,                                                   Garden, Richmond, 10AM-Noon. Learn the basics of creating a healthy
Baltimore, to Portsmouth, Virginia. Proceeds benefit CBF’s education                                             compost pile for your organic garden. Reservations: 804/780-1392 or
programs. Register at 757/480-4402 or visit                                      
October 17: Tree Planting, Little Blackwater River, Cambridge,                                                                             Coming this fall: Blue Planet Forum:
9AM-1PM. Join CBF and Maryland’s Department of Natural                                                                                     Exploring the Bay and Beyond, Nautilus,
Resources for a fall planting near Blackwater National Wildlife                                                                            Norfolk. CBF’s ongoing environmental lecture
Refuge. Register: 410/543-1999, ext 500 or                                                                               series features leaders, scientists, and policy
                                                                                                                                           makers. For dates and speakers, go to
October 25: South River Greenway Reforestation Project,                                                                           or call 757/622-1964.
Crownsville, 10AM-2PM. Help plant 1,200 trees to restore the                       MARCY DAMON/CBF STAFF
headwaters of the South River. Register: 443/482-2156 or                                                                                                                     West Virginia
                                                                                                                                           October 17: Stream Buffer Planing,
November 14: Stream Buffer Planting and In-Stream                                                                                          Opequon Creek, Kearneysville (near Shep-
Restoration, Little Catoctin Creek watershed (Frederick County),                                                                           herdstown), 9AM-1PM. Help plant 1,000
Myersville, 9AM-1PM. Help plant 700 native trees and shrubs to                                                                             native trees and shrubs. Register: 443/482-
complete the final phase of a stream restoration project.                                                  CBF planting events help the    2156 or
Register: 443/482-2156 or                                                               Bay by keeping polluted
                                                                                                                  runoff out of streams.     For more information, visit

                    She’s a Winner                                                                                                         Volunteer of the Year
                    In Rockingham County, Virginia, Turner Ashby High School student

                                                                                                                                                                                             PHOTO COURTESY OF ELAINE MITCHELL
                    Chris Reedy spent nine months raising his calf, “BB,” in a student agri-
                   cultural program that CBF helps to support. His TLC paid off: At the
                  Rockingham County Fair in August, BB took first in her class and was also
                     named Reserve Champion (second place) Commercial Heifer.
                       Hundreds of fair visitors admired BB and learned how quality animals
                            can be raised on clean water farms—a focus of CBF’s work in the
                                    Shenandoah Valley. Proceeds from the sale of the calf will
                                       fund another FFA student project next year.

                                                                    Connect with CBF Online                                                “Amazingly dedicated” is how CBF oyster
                                                                    Visit to learn more.                                    restoration staffers describe Elaine Mitchell,
                                                                                                                                           who has been named CBF’s 2009 Volunteer
                                                                                                                                           of the Year. Elaine coordinates the Maryland
                                                                                                                                           oyster gardening program, which helps hun-
                                                                                                                                           dreds of volunteers adopt and raise baby oys-
                                                                     What’s a TMDL?                                                        ters for future plantings on sanctuary reefs.
                                                                       A TMDL (Total Daily Maximum Load) is a                              “I’m not sure we’d be running a program
                                                                       plan that calculates the maximum amount                             without her,” says Stephanie Reynolds, CBF
                                                                       of pollutants an impaired body of water                             Oyster Restoration Scientist.
                                                                     can receive and still meet water quality stan-
                                                                 dards. It sets a pollution “budget” for a region                          “CBF is always so appreciative of volunteers
                                   LIBBY NORRIS/CBF STAFF

                                                            with allowances for specific areas, which are then                             that it makes it easy to be one,” said Elaine.
                                                            used to guide pollution-reduction actions on the                               “I’m honored to be singled out in this way.”
                                                            ground. Sewage treatment plants, urban and subur-                              She was presented with the award at Bay
                                                            ban stormwater, and agricultural runoff are some of                            Fest ceremonies at the Philip Merrill Center
                                                            the sources regulated by a TMDL.                                               on September 13.

28   Fall 2009
                                                                             Tunnel Vision

                                                                                                                                                                             PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER CASSOU

                          Go Native
                          If your landscaping is ready for an
                          update, think outside the boxwood: Use
                          true native plants. You’ll be adding to the
                          natural diversity of your area and preserv-
                          ing the genetic heritage of local species.
                          Local wildlife will benefit, too—many of
                          our birds and insects (the zebra swallow-
                          tail butterfly, for example) require native
                          plant communities to survive.

                          For a low-lying wet area in your yard,
                          choose species that like “wet feet,” such          Thanks to a gift from two anonymous              of the Bay, explain the watershed and its
                          as sweet bay magnolia, sweet pepper                donors, the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel         problems, and encourage millions of trav-
                          bush, and New York ironweed. If you                (CBBT) has a new pair of Save the Bay signs.     elers to learn more about CBF. A cut-out in
                          have a sunny hot location, try loblolly            Located near the gift shop and fishing pier      the crab at the bottom of one of the signs
                          pines, bayberries, switch grass, and               on the CBBT’s southernmost island and at         provides a fun photo op. CBF Art Director
                          native goldenrods.                                 the scenic overlook on the Eastern Shore         Jennifer Cassou, who designed the signs,
                                                                             side, the signs welcome visitors to the mouth    demonstrates the possibilities.
                          More and more nurseries are beginning to
                          carry native species, and others specialize

                                                                                                                                                                                        JILL BEVIER/CBF STAFF
                          in propagating regional native varieties.

                             Consult for a compre-
                          hensive list of local sources for native plants,
                          as well as a wealth of information on Bay-
                          friendly lawn and garden ideas.

                                                                              Interns to Bay, Stat!
                                                                              This summer, CBF welcomed 25 student interns to the Philip Merrill Environmental Center for
                                                                              internships in the Administration, Communications, Education, Environmental Protection and
                                                                              Restoration, and Litigation departments. Back Row: Lauren Gleason, Annie McCarthy, Bryan
                                                                              Hills, Buck Denton, Andrew Bliss, Steve Matzura, Mary Howard, Julia Sooy, Christine Wysocki.
                                                                              Front Row: Alex Crooks, Hannah Debelius, Katie Thompson, Erin Leon, Megan Mueller. Not
                          DEADLINE:                                           pictured: Gabrielle Collins, Caileigh Feldman, Jessica White, James (Jimmy) Beaver, Lauren
                          October 30, 2009                                    Crocker, Kelsey Brunton, Katie Branch, Kris McKinnon, Sydney Catoire, Galen Canham, and
                                                                              Adam Coleman. Students interested in applying for 2010 internships can call 410/268-
                                                                              8816 or e-mail

                                                                                                                                                                 TOM PELTON/CBF STAFF
A Chorus of Faith and Hope
                           Baskets of crabs surround the women of the Smith Island Crabmeat Co-Op, who share songs, laughter, and prayer as they work.
By Tom Pelton                                   After restrictions on the crab harvest last year, a survey showed the crab population had risen 43 percent.

I woke up in the Chesapeake Bay island
  village of Tylerton one morning this summer
and heard nothing but the rustling of marsh
                                                    singing this hymn since the English landed
                                                    here in 1638. But the tradition of women
                                                    coming together every evening at 5 p.m. to
                                                                                                         Some might see Tylerton as dying. The
                                                                                                         town’s population of full-time residents has
                                                                                                         declined from 157 in 1980 to 58 today, and
grass outside my bedroom window.                    pick and sing started only 14 years ago, in          rising sea levels are slowly nibbling away at
                                                    response to—of all things—a government               the island.
The quietness of the town on Smith Island is        sting operation.
what overwhelms first-time visitors.                                                                             Despite all this, the singers see hope

There are no cars, no real streets, no                                                                           all around them. After years of
police sirens, no fast-food joints—no                Some might see Tylerton                                     decline, the population of blue crabs
chain businesses of any kind in this                 as dying, but the singers                                   in the Chesapeake Bay rose by an
more than three-hundred-year-old                                                                                 estimated 43 percent this year com-
                                                    see hope all around them.
fishing community. There is only one
general store, one church, a post
office the size of a garden shed, a dozen
crabbing boats, and 36 houses, all surround-
ed by expanses of wetlands and water.
                                                    Tylerton women had been picking crabs
                                                    alone in their homes for generations. Then
                                                    in 1992, Maryland health officials decided
                                                                                                     ”           pared to last, according to an annual
                                                                                                                 winter dredge survey. State biologists
                                                                                                         say the resurgence of crabs has been fueled
                                                                                                         by new limits on harvesting females. The
                                                                                                         singers don’t see things that way. They see in
                                                    to crack down and seize their crab meat at           the fertility of the crabs a higher power look-
Step off the docks and into a low-slung             the docks because each picker didn’t have            ing out for the survival of their tiny island
building and the silence ends. Six women            an individual business license.                      and their way of life.
sit at a steel table in the Smith Island
Crabmeat Co-Op, singing hymns as they               That bureaucratic storm could have sunk              They sing, above the clatter of knives, that
pick the meat from blue crabs caught by             them. But the women banded together and              they will hold on: “Till the storm passes
their husbands and sons. “’Mid the crash of         fought back. With state and federal assis-           over, till the thunder sounds no more…
the thunder, precious Lord, hear my cry.            tance, they built their own crab processing          Hold me fast, let me stand, in the hollow
Keep me safe, till the storm passes by.”            facility—fully licensed and inspected—and            of thy hand. Keep me safe, till the storm
                                                    made it into a successful business. They             passes by.”
Bushels of steamed blues surround them.             sell tubs of crab meat with their Co-Op
Knives dance in their hands. The splitting          logo to markets on the mainland. And their
and cracking of shells provides a syncopat-         singing and picking also provide a daily rit-                         To listen to songs from the Smith
ed beat for their songs.                            ual of friendship for them—a comedy club,                             Island Crabmeat Co-Op, visit Tom
                                                    informal marriage counseling, and a prayer                            Pelton’s blog at
The sound of their chorus is timeless. It is        session that reinforces their rock-like faith                         Tom Pelton is Senior Writer for the
tempting to imagine pickers on this island          that the Chesapeake Bay will sustain them.
                                                                                                                          Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

 30    Fall 2009
                                                             JEREMY GLOVER
Join The Biggest Fight
For Clean Water This
Nation Has Ever Seen!

Clean water is not a privilege,
but a right worth fighting for.
Our treasured resource, the Chesapeake Bay and its
rivers and streams, can be restored to health. Its waters
can once again be fishable, swimmable, and teeming with
life. It can be done in our lifetime, but not unless the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) follows
through on its promise to step into a greater leadership
position. In addition, Congress must increase and codify
EPA’s authorities.

Your generous gift will enable CBF to lobby and litigate,
educate and communicate, and vigorously restore fisheries
and critical habitat throughout the Bay and its rivers and

Please mail your special contribution
today using the enclosed envelope, or
donate online at
                                                                                                                                             U.S. Postage
          Chesapeake Bay Foundation                                                                                                         Southern, MD
       Philip Merrill Environmental Center                                                                                                 Permit No. 305
    6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403

On the cover: The waters of Virginia’s Thornton River rush through an autumn forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains on their way to the Bay.
Photo by Bill Portlock

                         A Saved Bay is
                         Worth the Fight

                              We won’t stop until the job is done.

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