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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

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