Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Greening" the Bay?

We learned to sail in the Caribbean, and then kept our boat in northern Lake Michigan, so we took it for granted that water is clear. Our mooring in Michigan was in 21 feet of water, and we could look over the side and see the old railroad wheel that was our “anchor.” So it was a bit of a shock, coming to the sadly murky greenish-black Chesapeake. When I first found the satellite maps in Google, I did what most people do first – plugged in my own address. Then I excitedly emailed the link to my friend and boat-neighbor Charlee. “Hey, check this out! If you zoom in you can see our boats, green canvas on yours, tan on ours! And that’s our dingy floating in back!” Environmentally-conscious Charlee emailed back, “Look at all the growth in Back Creek! It’s as green as a grass lawn!” Ugh. She was right. So I found it encouraging to read the article earlier this week in the Capital that there are signs of hope for Bay recovery, and pledges by the governors of the Bay states to do still more. Some ways mentioned to reduce nitrogen pollution included upgrading sewage-treatment plants and septic systems, planting more trees and buffers along streams, planting more cover crops on farms, and curbing stormwater runoff. They seem to have mentioned all the sectors. I was relieved that they didn’t comment on boaters. We use our holding tank, and overall have a pretty small environmental footprint. (Yeah, I'm still feeling smug about our solar panels, too.) On the other hand, conspicuous to me by its absence, were contributions by the factory chicken farms.

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