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Chesapeake Bay

The Chesa­peake Bay Water­shed
The largest estu­ary in the US and once, one of the most pro­duc­tive bod­ies of water in the world lies just a few miles east of Howard County. Home to crabs, oys­ters, rock­fish, blue­fish, shad, ter­rapin and many other tasty dishes, the bay is a won­der­ful nat­ural resource, an impor­tant eco­nomic engine, and a well used recre­ational des­ti­na­tion for all of us in the Mid-Atlantic States.

Howard County lies between the Pat­ap­sco and the Patux­ent rivers, two major trib­u­taries that drain into the Chesa­peake Bay. Rain that falls on the county will run off our lawns, streets, and build­ings into local streams and even­tu­ally flow into the Bay. These waters carry top soil, silt, fer­til­izer, and other things high in nitro­gen and phos­phở­rous as well as other con­t­a­m­i­nants like oil and grease that come from our homes and park­ing lots. Nitro­gen and phos­phở­rous and these other con­t­a­m­i­nants can be harm­ful to the crabs, fish, and grasses in the bay if the rain does not have the chance to fil­ter into the ground and resup­ply the ground­wa­ter table on its way to recharg­ing the streams in this area.

Storm water runoff
The best way to pre­vent con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing the bay is for each of us to:

  • Elim­i­nate or reduce the amount of fer­til­izer or her­bi­cides we use on our lawns
  • Replace grass with native shrubs and trees
  • Drive less and drive hybrid cars
  • Buy organic food
  • Reduce the amount of imper­me­able sur­faces, such as dri­ve­ways and walkways
  • Cap­ture the rain by installing rain gar­dens and infil­tra­tion systems
  • Sup­port the restora­tion of our storm water man­age­ment systems

Waste water treat­ment
The other major source for con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of our rivers and the bay comes from when we flush our waste down sinks and toi­lets. The waste water treat­ment plants can not remove all of our residue. There­fore it is impor­tant that each of us helps out by:

  • Not dis­pos­ing of oils and grease down our sinks
  • Not wast­ing water
  • Never dis­pos­ing med­i­cines or other chem­i­cals down our sinks and toilets
  • Limit use of garbage disposals

Numer­ous local groups are ded­i­cated to the restora­tion of our water­shed. They need your help in spread­ing the word and in restor­ing the streams right here in Howard County. Go check them out and see what you can do to Save the Bay.
The Howard County Con­ser­vancy in Wood­stock
Friends of the Pat­ap­sco Val­ley and Her­itage Green­way
The Chesa­peake Bay Foundation

Green Tip

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.