News from the DNR Office of Communications

Lower Eastern Shore Tributary Team & Nanticoke Watershed Alliance Set To Host Annual Nanticoke River Wade-In On June 27th

Sharptown, MD – Members of the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance and the Lower Eastern Shore Tributary Team will host their annual Nanticoke River Wade-In on Saturday, June 27 from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cherry Park in Sharptown. Maryland citizens are invited to wade into the water of the Nanticoke River to demonstrate the level of visibility and water quality and bring attention to the serious impact of nutrient pollution.

“Everything we do on our lands always finds its way into the Bay, and we are all accountable for the state of water quality in Maryland’s waterways,” Governor Martin O’Malley. “These events remind citizens to be cognizant of their everyday actions and make smart, sustainable decisions for the benefit of our natural resources and our treasured Chesapeake.”

Last month, on a tour of the Bush River, Governor O’Malley and senior scientists discussed two new strategies to accelerate Bay restoration in Maryland. Citing what scientists call a “tipping point” — a stage at which progress within a tributary can begin to promote self-healing — the Governor announced plans for a major new outreach effort to enlist local governments, businesses and citizens to take a more active role in restoring the health of Maryland’s waterways. At the Chesapeake Executive Council meeting, Governor O’Malley announced Maryland’s new two-year milestones, short term goals developed over the past several months by the Governor and his BayStat team to better target, focus and accelerate efforts on the ground, and measure results.

In what has become an annual event for each of Maryland’s 10 Tributary Teams, the Wade-Ins are inspired by former State Senator Bernie Fowler, who began wading into the Patuxent River 17 years ago with family and friends to highlight concerns about declining water quality in Maryland’s tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay. Senator Fowler remembered that, as a child, he could wade into the Patuxent and easily see his shoes. The event became known as a Wade-In and is characterized by participants wading into a stream, river or the Bay, and measuring the point at which they can no longer see their shoes, commonly known as the Sneaker Index. Fowler challenged the other nine Tributary Teams to host Wade-Ins or similar water quality awareness events of their own.

This event is a great opportunity to meet folks who love the Nanticoke and celebrate one of the treasures of the Eastern Shore. The wade-in will begin at 11 a.m., followed by a free cookout sponsored by the Lower Eastern Shore Tributary Team. For more information on this event, contact EB James of the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance at 410-430-3273 or Scott Hymes, coordinator of the Lower Eastern Shore Tributary Strategy Team at 410-260-8746.

This year, the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance will be honoring their Creekwatcher Volunteers at the event. Creekwatchers monitor 40 sites across the watershed. This program recently received the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval of its protocol, marking a high level of acceptance for the accuracy and validity of the information collected by these dedicated volunteers. They are the only volunteer water monitoring program in the Chesapeake who have achieved this level of data acceptance.

The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance’s mission is to foster partnerships and progress in conserving the natural, cultural and recreational resources of the Nanticoke River watershed through dialogue, collaborative outreach and education. Over 40 organizations belong to the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance. Its diverse membership is made up of foresters, industry, small business owners, government agencies, environmental groups, land trusts, realtors, academicians, fishermen, restoration groups, farmers and citizen groups.

Since 1995, Maryland’s Tributary Teams have assisted with the implementation of the state’s watershed-based plans to reduce nutrient pollution to Maryland’s rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Support for the Tributary Teams is provided by staff at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR); however the members are volunteers whose tireless energy results in invaluable contributions to restoration efforts. The Wade-Ins are just one of the ways the Teams highlight local water quality and get their communities involved. Visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/bay/tribstrat to explore all of their programs.


   June 25, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov