Saturday, March 3, 2012

Not Quite Making the Grade

Nobody likes seeing a D- on a completed project or their report card.  Nobody!  The reason, which is obvious: We all know how close to an F that really is.  Given that fact, it was a sad discovery at last weekend's Eagle Cove School/Magothy River Association Bake Sale in Pasadena to see that a D- is the grade scored by the Magothy River (which is right outside the ECS campus).  Ouch! 

The score, as assessed annually by the Magothy River Association's "Magothy River Index," was officially a 22%.... a far cry difference from the A scoring 80--100%.   The score was derived from these 3 factors:  water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and SAV's (submerged aquatic vegetation).  It's a cyclical relationship:  the SAV's need the proper water clarity to grow, and marine wildlife needs a sufficient level of dissolved oxygen to maintain life. 
I suppose the good news is that we scored the same percentage (and same D-) as in 2010, but when you look at our whopping 45% in 2006 (which is merely an average C), we are most certainly going the wrong direction.  Additionally, 2011 broke another record--record low salinity.  Why does that matter?  It causes a high oyster mortality rate.  Why are oysters important?  Ask any current or former 3rd grader at ECS (since they do oyster studies in 3rd grade science), and they'll tell you that oysters filter the water, which then in turn helps improve water clarity. 

To learn more (and to go into more detail), click here to check out the Magothy River Index for 2011. Click this link to see the entire health report card of the Chesapeake Bay.  Sad but true, not much better.

So, clearly, this is the bad news, but as I posted on the GTG Facebook page earlier this week, this video below projects the good news (along with some great inspiration) for restoring the Chesapeake Bay.  Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley has a Bay Restoration plan in place to improve the Bay by 2025.  Let's cross our fingers that Maryland citizens and governmental officials can make that goal a sustainable reality here in the next 13 years!

Map from, Video from!

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