The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

Stream Cleaner Environmental Forum 2008


Points of View & Thoughtful Questions - Watermen


Watermen POV & TQ Navigation

Fishin' Impossible   DORY-DORY FISH   Waterppl   WV Watermen(T.B.D.)

My Oyster Inc   bad bass fishermen   Fisher Man   Redneck Story  

The Fishermen Bay Problem   DB Defenders   fi$h hunter$   Fish Slime

Going... Going... GONE!!!      Bay Pearls   bushels of money   The Manhaden   back fin

Wishy Washy Watermen  Blue is Beautiful   only 10% web feed

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Fishin' Impossible                                                                     Massanutten Gov. S.-Newcomer


As fishermen, we represent a portion of the constituency whose lifestyle is and will be

directly and severely impacted by the degradation of the Chesapeake Bay.  As stakeholders

representing an industry worth over 500 million, we take a significant interest in the

preservation of the health of the bay.  Our livelihood relies on the Bay, as does the

economic welfare of thousands of other people and industries:  the restaurant industry, the

 tourism industry, and the commercial and private boating industry are all directly impacted

by the quality of the health of the Bay.            


The Bay suffers degradation due to pollution in effluent levels.  The primary pollutants

include excessive amounts of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, sediments from

erosion caused by lack of wetland buffers, and harmful chemicals introduced to the Bay by

 runoff.  These have precipitated effects such as frequent algal blooms that lead to

eutrophication and a rise in water temperatures, causing a reduction of the level of

dissolved oxygen in the water. 

Fishermen in the Bay have observed a significant decrease in catch rates of fish and

shellfish.  The key factors in the loss of crabs have been habitat loss and increased nutrient

 load, with consistent harvesting at unsustainable levels putting excessive stress on the

crabs. A recent study of the health of fish and shellfish populations in the Bay found that

the Blue Crab is at 57% of its optimal biomass existence. Oysters have also been severely

impacted by sedimentation and exist currently at 9% of its optimal biomass existence. The

levels of striped bass, the most sought-after commercially harvested fish in the Bay, had

plummeted from excessive, unsustainable harvest.  However, after the regulations on

commercial bass fishing were tightened, the striped bass made a swift and hugely

successful rebound to its original numbers, now at 100% of its optimal biomass existence


The most important issues in the restoration of the Bay are reducing the levels of nutrients

flowing into the Bay, and promoting the sustainable commercial harvest of vulnerable fish

and shellfish by enforcing higher restrictions on the annual fish harvest.  To reduce the

levels of nutrients entering the Bay, we propose to lobby for incentives for farmers such as

 tax breaks or subsidies for those who exercise “best-management-practices.”  BMPs such

as maintaining a riparian buffer zone between fields and waterways, cover cropping, and

utilizing buffer strips are all methods that farmers can use to reduce the infiltration of

excessive nutrients into the watershed, and also drastically reduce erosion and soil

degradation.  Offering tax breaks and other incentives to farmers who utilize these

practices will provide the impetus for a grassroots movement to help clean up the Bay.


While the incautious farming practices are a significant cause of many of the Bay’s issues,

we, as fishermen, can participate in the effort to restore the Bay’s health as well by seeking

 alternate forms of part-time employment, abiding by new laws and regulations, and

promoting an informative campaign. If fisherman found part time jobs constructing cleaning

 utilities and fish nurseries for the bay, they would better be able to reduce their catch and

 maintain their lifestyle.  A congressional bill tightening the restrictions on commercial fish

harvests would ultimately greatly reduce the stress on the fish population of the Bay.  If

the fish and shellfish of the Bay are not harvested at sustainable levels, then we will

continue to deplete the population at alarming rates, spelling ultimate doom for the aquatic

creatures on which we build our livelihoods. If more stringent regulations are placed on the

commercial harvest of fish and shellfish of the Bay, combined with efforts to reduce

nutrient levels, it is very likely that we may observe a similar rebound in numbers of oysters, crabs, and other fish.




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Thoughtful Questions


  From:   Home Jackets - homeowner - MHS                                              Ask


     I thought this was nicely done. It was definately well-thought out, but what about

     chemicals from industries entering waterways? Chemicals cause a lot of problems in

     the fish we eat.

       Response    Fishin' Impossible - Waterman - MRGS


             Chemicals entering the Chesapeake Watershed definitely affect the prosperity of

              the Bay and thus you have a valid question. However, the Chesapeake Bay

             Foundation observed that irresponsible farming practices have a much more

             severe affect on the Bay in regard to the quantity of nutrients entering the Bay.

             Even though the industrial pollution will eventually have to be addressed, the

             agricultural pollution remains the most potent threat to our lifestyle. Thus, we

             decided that the installation of measures countering industrial pollution must take

              a back seat to the mass amounts of sediment contaminating life in the Bay.

             Seeing that solving the sediment problem and restoring the aquatic biomass in the

             Bay would immediately help our lifestyle, we decided that that was the most

             feasible and proper rout to take in regard to maintaining the watermen lifestyle.


  From:   Chicken Kickers'' 101 - farmer - MHS                                                      Ask


     How do you know that your lifestyle will be impacted by the degradation of the Chesapeake


       Response    Fishin' Impossible - Waterman - MRGS


              Our entire livelihood is dependent upon the state of the Chesapeake Bay; all of

             our income can be traced back to the quantity and quality of the fish that we

             catch. In addition, our lives have already been greatly affected by the

             degradation of the bay- dead zones have cordoned off huge sections where we

             used to be able to fish and those fish we do catch are smaller and more sickly

             than ever before.  Therefore, it's quite easy to see how the continued

            degradation of the bay, would affect our lives and livelihoods.


  From:   Chicken Kickers'' 101 - farmer - MHS                                                      Ask


            As fishermen, what would you be prepared to do if water pollution got really bad?

       Response    Fishin' Impossible - Waterman - MRGS


             As watermen, we depend on the Chesapeake Bay for many things. It represents

             our livelihoods, our jobs. It is a way for us to provide for our families. If the Bay

             is being polluted and fish are being killed, and this degradation continues, it will

             affect our ability to catch healthy fish. This will affect our lifestyle because we

             will not be able to support ourselves, and we will be forced to try to find other

             jobs or ways to compensate. This is not fair to us, because as watermen, we have

              a good understanding of what needs to happen to keep the bay healthy, and we

             do our best to maintain that health. Pollution and other problems influencing the

             water quality and aquatic life of the Bay would make it harder for us to continue

             catching as many fish as we are currently, and we would eventually have to come

             up with an alternative plan.






DORY-DORY FISH                                                                                 Moorefield H.S.-Gillies


Watersheds are important to waterman because we need the fish. A fisherman is someone

who gathers fish, shellfish, or other animals from a body of water. A waterman is a

professional fisherman. With the bay contaminated it is hard to do our jobs with the fish

dying off. We sell fish to the fisharies so we can survive. Most coastal residents and visitors

 to the Chesapeake, who observe commercial fishing on bay, and rivers, assume that we fish

asan activity, but we do it so we can bring home the bacon and feed our families. Early

colonists did engage in fishing for both sport and money. For a long time we just used a

simple hook and line. Then in the 18th Century we started using haul seines, which are nets.

During the 19th Century, fishing rapidily expanding. Annual marks of 48 million pounds. But

strangely by the end of the 19th Century, numbers were dropping rapidily. You see that is

why fisherman are important and we need the Bay to be clean, so we can bring those

numbers back up.


Fisherman rely on the Chesapeake Bay watershed for its large waterways and fish

production. The quality of the Bay's watershed affects the ability of fisherman to do their

job and make a profit off of it. With the Chesapeake Bay being polluted, the number of fish

 and the amount of species available in the water are drastically changing. Run-off from

construction zones, nearby rural areas, and farmland cause pesticides, sewage, and man-

made materials to wash into the bay. This impact on the water increases the likelihood of

algae blooms which overtake the area and cause fish kills, which damage the inhabitants and

 the supply of fish available to local fishermen. There have been government agencies that

have passed laws and groups that came up with plans to stabilize the Chesapeake Bay

Watershed. However, having the awareness of people living near the watershed should be

the first choice in clearing up the pollution and then taking steps from there. Things can be

done like filtering the water of the bay and using zone buffers in agriculture to stop

pollution, which requires help from others working as a team. So with fish dying off, the

jobs of fisherman are likely to become exinct too. Fisherman have to rely on the quality of

the water and the amount of fish, as do the consumers of the product. If the cleanliness of

 the water can't be trusted, then the health of the fish need to be inspected. Working

together to keep the Chesapeake Bay clean is the best affect that the fishermen could ask



Waterman can make a living harvesting seafood on the bay. When the Chesepeake Bay is

polluted their is a decline of creatures/seafood living there. When variety and abundance of

 seafood decline in the Chesepeake Bay the waterman are out of work. The watermans life

revolves around the life cycles of his catch. Depending on the season of the year, different

species are present in the rivers and the Bay. The waterman nust be aware of what

creatures are available to catch as well as the laws that govern how we can carry out out

job. A drought year makes the Bay saltier which results in oyster diseases and more oysters

 die before the waterman can harvest them. Every time you use chemicals or fertlizers on

your lawnthe water running off teh yard eventually ends up into a lake or stream and then

into the Bay. Anything that drips from a motor vehicle can wash into storm sewers.

Antifreeze, gasoline and motor oil are toxic to aquatic life. To help minimize the effect on

the bay read and follow the directions when using pesticides or garden chemicals. Keep your

 mowing height high and leave grass clippings on the lawn to recycle nitrogen back into the

soil. Clean up pet wastes to prevent nutrients and bacteria from washing into waterways.

When these types of chemicals wash into the Bay it causes algae blooms, which die, decay, and destroy oxygen levels. Sediment clogs gills and reduces light to aquatic plants. Keeping the rivers and streams being clean helps waterman out with their job.




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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   Fish's Wishes - CB_Ecosystem - KHS(K)                                      Ask


       How can you say something so naive like that? Just because noone else in the past

     did something about this doesn't mean that you shouldn't care. Your conforming to

     the foolishness of past generations and futhering the stereotype that todays

     generation isn't doing anything. You should care about this. These are problems that

     are going to affect our lifetime. Past generations were unaware of afflictions they

     were laying down for the future, that's why they didn't do anything. WE the future

     generation know better and we should do something about it. Quit being lazy and get

     BIG. Do work!

       Response    DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS


             the reason we can say such a thing is because obviously parents and

             grandparents didn't care enough to keep it clean so why should we go out of

             our way to do something that isn't going to affect us in this lifetime you also

             should re-read our paper because we talked about several solutions anyway

  From:   SJJ Farmers - farmer - JHS                                                                  Ask


     What are you doing, as waterman, to help farmers?? What solutions are you using to

     clear up the water and how will it effect our crops and the human race??

  From:   The Counting Coals - Other - MRGS                                                       Ask


     Why would you say that since our grandparents and our parents don't care then we

     shouldn't? If we want to improve things with the watershed, we should care more. Don't

      you want things to be better for your children and grandchildren? If we start helping

     now, then the tradition will stay, and others will help to make it better for us. It makes

     no sense to say that since others didn't care, we shouldn't. Also, you may want to check

     your spelling and grammatical errors, because there are a couple in your paper.







Waterppl                                                                                                Jefferson H.S.-Gipson


Water careers are influentual to the cleanliness of the Bay. Envoirmental issues that affect

 these careers could condemn the efficency of their jobs, income such as if the gov't ban

the use of boats on the river because of the pollution it causes. Fishermans' livelyhood

depend on the use of their boats and the condition of the river. If the Bay is dirty and

affects their fish, their income will drop affecting the local economy.



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Thoughtful Questions


  From:   WV Watermen(T.B.D.) - Waterman - HHS                                 Ask


     what if the fisherman has no choice but to use the boats that they have? 

  From:   DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS                                        Ask


     so what you are trying to say is that all the dirt is coming from the boats, but if we

     don't use them we would be out of a job? which one do you want us to do, the boat

     or lose our jobs?

     In what ways could fisherman improve their boats condition and keep the rivers

     dependable against all of the pollution?

       Response    Waterppl - Waterman - JHS


             Well not necessarily. People have a lot to do with it as well. Littering is a huge

             problem, maybe if people actually cleaned up once in a while then we wouldn't be

             in this predicament. I was not implying that boats should be out of use completely.

              Perhaps fishing companies could be combined, making less pollution. Also when

             there was a gas shortage (in the 1990's, I believe) people with the last names a-m

              (..?) could only buy gas on certain days. So maybe something along the lines of



  From:   Chicken Kickers'' 101 - farmer - MHS                                        Ask


     If the gov't would ban the use of boats would it affect the use of row boats too?

  From:   Home Jackets - homeowner - MHS                                              Ask


     So now that we know how you are affected by the rising contamination levels, what

     ideas do you have on how to lower the overall amount of pollutants in the water

     systems to make it safer for you and all others involved?

            Do they have to use there boats


  From:   Funky Farmers - farmer - CHS                                                                 Ask


     We feel as if you didn't offer a solution to the problem concerning the Chesapeake Bay.

     Knowing that you are polluting, what do you propose should be done to clean the Bay?


  From:   The Pearls - local_gov - MdSA                                                                Ask


     As the local government, we do know that the pollution is not only due to the boats and

     we know that without your boats, the jobs that depend on the water would no longer

     exist...We want to help regulate boating but in a positive way that would not deeply

     effect the economy of the people with water jobs...We like fish too and so we are trying

      to help improve the condition of the bay in all areas including farmers and recreation...




WV Watermen(T.B.D.)                                                                           Hampshire H.S.-Moore


We watermen are important to the Bay because we are the ones who live at the end it.

Basically it is our lives because that’s how we make our livelihood. Supporting our families

with the money we make from doing our job of catching the Bay’s famous crabs’, shrimp,

and fish.           Supporting the world is getting harder as the days go by. With everyone now

dumping and polluting the rivers and streams that flow into the Bay where we try and make

our living. We need to find a way to slow down process of everyone polluting the Bay.

  With the Bay having over 16 million residents we need to find the best possible way of

nonpolluting the rivers and streams around the northern states of the Bay. We could start

by enforcing the laws against keeping sewer pollution and farm animals out of the rivers

and streams. So please for our Bay’s sake obey the law.




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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS                                        Ask


     Who would your proposed laws affect the most, and what are your other plans to

            slow down pollution if your first progress is unsuccessful?


  From:   Chicken Kickers'' 101 - farmer - MHS                                        Ask


            What if some states allow animals in the river?

       Response    WV Watermen(T.B.D.) - Waterman - HHS

                                                                                       4/10/2008       1:12:00 PM

             Then we would have more pollution running through the river causing more

             damage to our atmosphere. Plus if people was to allow animals in the rivers

             and streams then the bank of the river will erode.

  From:   Wishy Washy Watermen - Waterman - RHS                                          Ask


     How would you go about enforcing these laws and who would help you enforce these


  From:   Rollin' in the Green - Other - MRGS                                                      Statement


     First of all, you seem to be blaming everyone else for the problem.

     Perhaps you could address the impact that the waterman has on the pollution and other

     problems in the Chesapeake Bay. Secondly perhaps you could try not to repeat the fact

     that you depend on the Chesapeake Bay as many times as you have. Lastly, maybe you

     could elaborate more on the causes of pollution, and the preventative methods we should







My Oyster Inc                                                                                        Jefferson H.S.-Gipson


We the fisherman/oysterman are very concerned with the water quality of the Chesapeake

Bay.  We are important because we catch fish and oysters for other people to eat and if

those fish and oysters aren't clean then those people will get sick and or die!  If the bay is

nasty and dirty then the fish and oysters will not be sold and we will not get paid so that

can affect our livelihood.  We think the soulution should be that we get people together that

 have the same concern and just clean it up.




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Thoughtful Questions

  From:   DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS                                        Ask


     What would your plan be to get people together and what steps would you take to

     clean up the water?

  From:   Chicken Kickers'' 101 - farmer - MHS                                        Ask


     What is polluting the water?

  From:   fishies - CB_Ecosystem - MHS                                                     Ask


     How do the fisherman purpose that we can clean up the bay? Where do you think

     they should start? It may be complicated to just tell people to go and clean up the

     bay. How should they do this?

  From:   Chicken Kickers'' 101 - farmer - MHS                                        Ask


     What would be a way to clean the bay up?

       Response    My Oyster Inc - Waterman - JHS


             Some farmers when they dump their animals waste in the water and people that

             dump their trash in the water.


  From:   DORY-DORY FISH - Waterman - MHS                                        Ask


     What other solutions would you suggest to clean up the Bay?


  From:   We Care, As Long As You Care - developer - CHS                                   Ask


     Do you think that you have a more powerful impact locally or nationally? Also, how does

     that position affect the types of legistlation or changes in regulations for fishing that you

     would support?

  From:   Because we said so. - local_gov - JWHS(T)                                           Ask


     what are some possible solutions we could have to clean up the bay? what can we do, as

     your local gov't, to help you out with the condition and cleanliness of the water?

       Response    DB Defenders - Waterman - JWHS(T)


             Taking all the oysters out of the bay is'nt very good and there isn't a big

             abundance of them.They clean the bay and we need them.

             You can't just worry about selling the fish and oysters.By the way you spelled

             soulution wrong,it's spelled solution.


  From:   fi$h hunter$ - Waterman - MdSA                                                          Ask


     How do you plan on funding the restoration of the Bay? Also, what ways do you suggest

     we use to motivate others to stop polluting the water?

  From:   Wishy Washy Watermen - Waterman - RHS                                          Ask


     Okay you say that you would get everyone together to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, do

     you know how much money that would take? Its an interesting number. I suggest you

     find out, you'll be surprised.






bad bass fishermen                                                                               Buffalo Gap H.S.-Riley


            As watermen, we should ask the government for a fund that would allow us to use

filters in the main rivers that run into the bay. This would help us reduce the pollution in the

 bay. The BBF believe that the filters would help the bay. Which in the long run it will raise

the marine life; support a better ecosystem for humans as well as the fish. This will raise

our profits as fisherman. Doing this will help the whole environment it self just by doing this

 maybe the community will help out by recycling and cleaning out the bay and rivers and

keeping junk out of the bay, improving the environment.  We would like for the communities

that are contributing to the pollution that ends up in the bay to reduce their pollutants and

all if possible. 

  We as the BBF, believe that we should begin the long process to raising the money needed

to begin the cleanup of the bay.  To raise this money we think that the government should

raise taxes of community members, as well as provide an incentive for those organizations

that contribute to the clean up through money donations.  These incentives could include a

tax rebate to those people who provide monetary donations to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup.




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Thoughtful Questions


  From:   Yellow Lemons - recreation - JWHS(T)                                                      Ask


     this was very well written but i dont completly understand the use of filters. What exactly

     are the they and are they big? And also is there any other ways to raise money besides

     raising taxes?

       Response    bad bass fishermen - Waterman - BGHS


             The filters are big and they help filter out debris and other harmful sudstances.

             There are many other ways of raising money besides raising taxes. Such as fund

             raisers, selling resources from the chesapeake bay, and protests.  


       Response    Anti-Wilderness Progressive Movement -


             I think what our saying is right but can you really say you care about the

             enviroment when you kil of massive amounts of fish to feed people.

       Response    bad bass fishermen - Waterman - BGHS


             Well basically we have to kill fish to feed humans. Thats the way the enviroment

             works. Its called the food chain.





Fisher Man                                                                                      James Wood H.S.-Fordyce


I am a fisherman. I fish out of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But here lately there have

been some problems with fishing in that area. The reason for this is because people are

careless and cold hearted, people have been polluting this watershed for a while now. And

when you pollute the water that people get their drinking water from or pollute the water

that people like me who fish in the water that is being polluted lose their money, because

the fish are being killed due to the pollution. I think that if people cared a little more about

the bay then we could make an effort to clean it up. Away that I could try to help to the

contribution of cleaning it up would be, not to allow the fish population to get up to high.

But I can’t make my living if the fish that I need are being killed due to pollution. If people

did start truing to keep it clean the solutions would have a cost. Because millions of dollars

of fish are sold each day. And we would have to pay some people to pick up trash unless we

 could get enough volunteers. Another way would be to only take the amount of fish

needed, and the supplies taken aboard a ship is recycled and taken off at the end of a





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       Response    awesomley amazing super spectacular


             I believe that you are right fisherman we shouldnt have to pay people to clean up

             the water. The people around us who pollute the water should be responsible for

             it and clean it themselves but us not knowing who did it. It will be really hard even

              impossible to figure out who does pollute the water.

  From:   The Counting Coals - Other - MRGS                                                       Ask


     Most of the pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is not a result of boating industry. So having

      the fishermen recycle does not solve the issue at hand. What problems specifically

     affect the fish? After you address these, then perhaps you could pin point solutions.






Redneck Story                                                                                 James Wood H.S.-Fordyce


  Hi, I’m a fisherman and I love fish. The fish are dying fast which means my job is going to

be no more. There are toxic wastes in my pond. I don’t know how they got there. I didn’t do

 it. I love my fish. They provide me nutrition and energy. They should restore the

Chesapeake Bay so we can try and save our ecosystem. Also if they clean the water system

 our drinking water will be clean as well, which not only help the people, but the government

 as well. It will help the government because it will stop all the comments made about the

bay, and will get local homeowners to quiet down. If they were to do this it would help

many others like farmers and home owners. I would help by cleaning up the watershed.

They could also fix the “dead zones” in the bay. The “dead zones” are water without

oxygen. Fish have to have a oxygen to survive; just like we need water to survive. Makes

sense don’t it. Cleaning the bay wouldn’t cost me a thing, but it would cost time. It will be

good for my fishing because my fish will be clean and nutritious. I can’t promise anything,

because I don’t think anything could be done to help my group participate, because they

would participate no matter what we love fish and want to save them. If something isn’t

done soon we will lose all our fish. I need fish to survive so I can survive. If fish don’t live

in the bay anymore then there will no fishermen. Which means no fish. And that’s my reason

 for cleaning the bay.




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  From:   LG8 - local_gov - JWHS(F)                                                                      Statement


     i like the story ilike the part about the fish provide me nutrition

  From:   Big Mighty govern - CBP_Fed - JWHS(F)                                                Ask


     dude dont you think you could have been more serious in wht u wrote its not a big joke

     its a serious thing and ur just making a joke out of it

       Response    The Fishermen Bay Problem - Waterman -


             Very well written. The author stuck to the title very well. Perfect redneck.


  From:   fi$h hunter$ - Waterman - MdSA                                                          Ask


     What methods would you prescribe for cleaning up the Bay? For instance, would you try

     to limit non-point pollution, etc.?






The Fishermen Bay Problem                                                            James Wood H.S.-Fordyce


  We the fishermen of the Chesapeake Bay, have a problem with people poisoning our money

 maker (water). We can not make money with the way that the water is now. Just think;

with us not making money, you will not have fish, oysters, and crabs to eat. You will also be

swimming in a bay full of pollution from farms, factories, and just plane litter from people

just like me and you. You might think that you’re just throwing a cup away, but when you do

 it all the time, you end up putting out enough pollution to harm a whole lake. All pollution is

harmful. It’s up to you to keep the food chain going.

  We have come up with a solution to just travel to different farms and factories that are

near any part of the bay and just show them what is harming our beautiful bay. It would

not cost much to travel to these places. The only expenses would be for gas, food, and a

hotel room if need be. The only way that we can make our solution work is to convince

people to change how their factory is harming us. If one person changes the way the work,

the process is successful. If the problem gets bad enough to destroy the fisherman

population, then all of the fish, oysters, and crabs that you eat will be gone.



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  From:   Yellow Lemons - recreation - JWHS(T)                                                   Statement


     I agree with what you are doing by traveling to convince the surrounding farms and

     factories to show them how they are harming the bay and ways to help stop it. The first

     step in helping the bay is to educate others and that what is what your doing. Great idea.






DB Defenders                                                                                  James Wood H.S.-Takarsh


     As watermen, we contribute to the local and regional economies through the expenses

of conducting business and harvesting the products of the Chesapeake Bay. We also help to

 maintain a steady population of fish in order to ensure the bay remains healthy. If the

health of the bay becomes poor then we will suffer because there will not be as many fish

to catch and sell.

     The pollutants that are currently flowing into the Chesapeake Bay can have serious

consequences for the health of the fish and shellfish of the bay. Pesticides, herbicides, and

 daily waste created by humans flow into the waters and cause hormonal changes in the

aquatic and plant life. This directly effects the fish and shellfish population.

     Ideally, we would like to see strict regulations enforced regarding the amount of

fertilizer  that farmers can use in their fields and to have no development along the water.

In order to compromise we would like to find a middle ground on how much fertilizer

farmers can use and to educate the public on how their actions effect the bay. We would

also like to have no development within 1500 feet of the bay. There would be some

exceptions for necessary devlelopment.




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  From:   Anti-Wilderness Progressive Movement - developer - JWHS(T)             Ask


     well as much as i respect your opinion you are being very selfish to the fish by killing

     them. I bet the fish would rather die of natural causes than die because you decide you

     need more money.

       Response    DB Defenders - Waterman - JWHS(T)


             I don't know how we are selfish because we need to kill fish to eat and keep

             them from overpopulating. I didn't know you were Dr.Dolittle and you could talk

             to fish.  Although I respect your right to  have an opinion I do not respect your

             opinion. I will admit I do harvest fish for profit. There I said it!   So send me a

            response of what are the fish saying now.


  From:   fi$h hunter$ - Waterman - MdSA                                                          Statement


     Dear Anit-Wilderness, Why do you think that the fish would rather die of natural

     causes? How do you know exactly what they want? I'm pretty sure that most fishes

     don't die from old age; they die from getting eaten.


  From:   Shenandoah Junction Farmers Inc. - farmer - JHS                              Ask


     How can the farmers be blamed for everything because we provide the food you eat,

     the clothes you wear, and a lot of the things you use everyday. Do you want the prices

     of food, clothes, and many of the household idems? If not you amy want to change your

     feelings and figure out the real facts before you sit her and try to say farmers are to

     blame for our problems. As farmers we try and dou our best with what we have. Try

     and find all the facts before you jump on one side?







fi$h hunter$                                                                                Mount de Sales Acad.-Sargo


     As fishermen of the Chesapeake Bay, we are very concerned about the Bay’s health. As

watermen, we harvest a variety of seafood in different seasons. We rely on the Bay for

our livelihood. Watermen are essential to the Chesapeake Bay because we provide American

 citizens with food. We also help keep the food chain in check by controlling the organism

population. Lastly, we add to the economy. Watermen are greatly affected by the problems

 the Bay faces because contamination of fish can force us out of a job. Pollution in the

water also changes where fish live, therefore where we catch them.

     Possible solutions for the Bay pollution problem affect us in many ways. Limitations on

fishing decrease our potential profits, volunteer work uses up our personal time, and

restrictions on boating can cost us both money and time. As fishermen, we prefer to

volunteer with restoration efforts because it would not take away from our income.

However, volunteer work would take up our precious time. In the long run, these solutions

will benefit us because they’ll create healthier and larger populations of seafood. If we do

not cooperate, our jobs will be at stake. Another motivating factor for participating in Bay

cleanup is if the population of some species becomes so depleted, the government might be

forced to revoke fishing licenses. If the citizens focus more on removing nutrients, as

opposed to restrictions on fishing, this would allow us to have the same income. We could be

 greatly injured as watermen by the process of fixing the Bay if the government decided to

 drastically restrict fishing. However, if the pollution problem continues at this rate, we will

 eventually be out of jobs.



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  From:   fi$h hunter$ - Waterman - MdSA                                                          Ask


     What methods would you prescribe for cleaning up the Bay? For instance, wuld you limit

     non-point pollution, etc?

  From:   DB Defenders - Waterman - JWHS(T)                                                   Statement


     Fi$h Hunter$, thanks for responding to our question and sticking up for us against the

     Anti-Wilderness Progressive Movement-developer-. Your response was very awesome

            and funny.






Fish Slime                                                                                         Rappahannock H.S.-Settle

Menhaden                                                                                                                4/15/2008

      Menhaden fish processing is an industry that takes menhaden out of the Chesapeake

Bay. The fish are very oily and they average 12 to 15 inches in length and weigh from two-

thirds to one pound. Every year, 851,129,000 pounds of these fish are harvested by

Omega Protein from the east coast and bay. After cooking the solid material is used for

fertilizer and protein supplement in animal feed and the oils are used as supplements for

animal and human food including Omega-3 capsules.

      Omega-3 is a oil processed by Omega Protein in Reedville, VA and other companies. The

 vitamin is very popular because it is thought to help lower cholesterol, prevent heart

disease, and other chronic conditions. Omega Protein is worth over $110 million. This plant

provides over 250 jobs for the Reedville area and over 1100 jobs along the east cost.

      These fish play a significant part in the Chesapeake Bay waters. They fish are the

forage fish of the Chesapeake Bay, which means that they provide a food source to many

of the bay’s organism. They also play a substantial part in filtering the bay waters by eating

 algae and other microscopic plants that would therefore build up drastically if they were

not there. They are a main food source for many fish in the bay such as bluefish.

      Although the menhaden industry provides many jobs for the area, we feel a

compromise needs to be made with the industry. If the menhaden industry should decrease

 their fish intake by 10% until they could prove that the population of menhaden in the bay

increases. If fishermen continue to take these vast numbers without making a sufficient

research to document that they are not harming the bay food web, the quality of the

waters will drastically decrease due to algae build up and other organisms that may pollute

the bay.




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Going... Going... GONE!!!                                                                Rappahannock H.S.-Settle

Blue Crabs                                                                                                               4/15/2008

     The Chesapeake Bay is the most prestigious watershed in Virginia. It is located off the

Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay is home to

many amazing creatures from manatees to oysters to menhaden, but one interesting

keystone bottom dweller is the Blue Crab. These blue crabs are found mostly in the shallow

 waters of the bay.

     The Latin name for the Blue Crab is Callinectes sapidus which means beautiful swimmer.

These kinds of crabs live off of a variety of things, such as plants, animals, both living and

dead. These consist of mostly fish, menhaden, and worms or whatever else it can scavage

from the waters floor. Crabs spend most of their life in brackish or low salinity waters but

the eggs hatch much better in saltier waters. Crab larva or Zoea is very sensitive to

temperature and salinity change. Crabs are very prone to diseases but are also very

cannibalistic and cannot be crowded together which makes commercial farming of them


     Mating and migration are closely connected with each other. Mating takes place in late

summer and early fall. The males and females attract each other by their pheromones.

Even though crabs live mostly in brackish waters they often migrate to higher salinity

waters to mate because the eggs hatch much better. In the fall, after mating, the female

crab migrates to the southern part of the bay.

     The methods of crabbing are reducing the numbers of crabs itself in the Chesapeake

Bay. Methods like jimmy crabbing(a male crab is put in the crab pot to lure mature

females) and peeler pots focus on only female crabs.  That causes the limitation of crabs

because those females have about 2 million eggs, depending on the female crab herself. 

Only one in a million actually survives the whole ordeal of growing.  In 2005, the crab

harvest was below 46 percent of the adult population, which conserved 20 percent of the

breeding stock.  Then again in 2006 and 2007, the population of the crabs in the Bay

remained low again.  The most vulnerable crabs that get caught are the crabs that have

just gone to molt and gotten in their juvenile stage of their life cycle.

     Crabs are an important part of the Chesapeake Bay like the food web in and out of the

water.  The problems with the crabber focusing on only the female crabs are lowering the

numbers of their population since 2005.  To make the population go back and for there to

be no problems for the crabs there has to be a protection law limiting the number of

female crabs being caught.  To make a law to protect the crabs makes a higher population

which is a huge help to make the Chesapeake Bay a better watershed.




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  From:   fi$h hunter$ - Waterman - MdSA                                                          Ask


     How much of a limit on catching blue crabs do you propose? If the limit is too high, then

            crabbers aren't going to make as much money.






Bay Pearls                                                                                         Rappahannock H.S.-Settle

Oysters                                                                                                                   4/15/2008

The Chesapeake Bay is one of the largest bodies of water in the entire world. The bay’s

watershed covers about 64,299 square miles in the District of Columbia, New York,

Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. There are approximately one

hundred and fifty rivers and streams that drain into the bay.  It is called an estuary, which

 is where fresh water from rivers meets the salt water of the ocean. The Bay and its

resources are what shape our history, culture, and economy. It provides many jobs for

people who live near it. The Bay is the major source of all different types of seafood that

are edible. Oysters live in the reefs of different waters. About one hundred years ago,

reefs were so massive that they posed a navigational hazard to ships. Oyster reefs can

have fifty times the surface area of an equally extensive flat bottom. It provides habitat

for an enormous range of other animals, such as worms, snails, sea squirts, sponges, small

crabs, and fishes. The oysters help the bay in many different ways. They help trigger the

cleanup for the bay, and help meet some of the Bay’s water quality goals. The offsets of

the Oysters are needed for sharp nutrient reductions throughout the watershed. Different

 sizes of Oysters take different jobs in filtering the bay. For instance, large oysters can

filter up to two gallons of water an hour during warm summer months. This process

removes sediment and phytoplankton in the process. For water clarity, oysters might

provide an important boost for attaining the Bay Program’s goals. The bay once had huge

oyster populations which could have filtered a water volume equivalent to the Chesapeake in

 a matter of days. Today’s population in oysters is estimated to be less than 1% of historic

levels because of over-harvesting, disease, and decline in habit quality (Bay Journal).

Foreign oysters are very threatening in our waters to natural oysters. Natural predators,

such as sea anemones, sea stars, sea nettles and other filter feeders, eat oyster’s larva.

Flatworms and small crabs consume new spat for oysters.  In order to make a better

environment for oysters, you need to lesson pollution, limit oyster fishers, and extend more

 reefs throughout the bays and rivers. If they lessoned pollution it would create a better

environment. If they limited oyster fishers they could help the bay become cleaner through

 increased oyster population and improved water clarity. If they made more reefs it would

extend the bay habitat for the oyster population so it can grow.




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bushels of money                                                                              Rappahannock H.S.-Settle

oysters                                                                                                                    4/15/2008

     Oysters are used for many different things. They are use to filter the bay, and as food

 for humans and other animals. The oysters are also what make the reefs in the bay.

     An interesting fact is that only 2 percent of historic levels of oysters are left. The

eastern shore oyster has a very interesting life cycle. Oysters are broadcast spawners,

which mean they release eggs and sperm into the water. A fertilized egg will develop into a

plank-tonic, free-swimming, trochophore larva in about six hours. Within 12 to 24 hours a

fully shelled veliger larva is formed. The larva remains plank-tonic for about three weeks.

At the end of the period it soon develops a foot (hence, pediveliger) and settles to the

bottom of the water column where it seeks a hard substrate. When it is on a suitable

surface, usually on an adult oyster shell, the larva cements itself and metamorphoses to

the adult form. This newly attached oyster is known as a spat. Adult oysters begin this

reproduction process when water temperatures become greater then 68F(20C).

     This oyster is found along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico coasts. These

oysters form reefs, which are an amazing feature of many coastal estuaries. Oysters are

considered “keystone species,” and providing valuable shelter and habitat for many other

estuarine organisms, improving water quality, and reducing bank erosion.

The oyster is an amazing organism in several different ways. Typically oysters are found in

 estuaries, sounds, bays, and tidal creeks, which consist of brackish water (5 parts per

thousand [ppt] salinity) to full strength seawater (35 ppt salinity). Oysters are tolerant

organisms, they are able to withstand wide variations in temperature, salinity, and

concentrations of suspended sediments and dissolved oxygen. Oysters occur mostly in

subtital areas.

     Oysters are filter feeders, which cleans up the ocean. While they are performing their

job they take in toxins and bacteria that are the water. One bacteria causes death or

illness to a human is called Vibro Bacteria. These bacteria can be found in raw oysters.

Vibro bacteria can be very harmful to those who have pr-existing health problems. The way

 to kill this bacteria is by putting raw oysters in high proof human –consumable alcohol.

Then leave them in the fridge for about a week to make sure that they are disinfected. The

 bacteria found in oysters are more dangerous for pregnant women than for other people.

The illness in a pregnant woman is likely to cause any harm to the fetus. Pregnant woman

are specifically warned because they can lose their child. The people who get this infection

can get a cure for the bacteria Tetracycline helps to slow the duration of the symptoms.

The pregnant woman are not recommended because can cause yellowing or discoloration in

the infant’s teeth. 

     The problem is that the bay is running low on oysters. We also low on supplies of what is

 needed to bring them back. In order for a brand new oyster to survive it needs to be able

to latch onto a solid, protected surface and grow. The surfaces that they have usually been

 growing on would be old oyster shells either on or around the reefs. It has been proven

that in the last centuries the reefs have been knocked down by people.

One thing that scientist are trying to do is set aside 10 percent of oyster grounds. They

are doing this because of the reef construction. This project will be a very difficult

project. In order to restore 8 small reefs we need to 200 acres of the bottom and about

2 million bushels of shells. They are taking these oyster shells from the oyster shucking


     There is a catch to the reconstruction of the reef though. They need some nooks or

holes so that they oyster can settle into. If the oysters are settled on exposed surfaces

then they become prey for the other animals in the ocean. Another problem is that too

much space can put them in danger as well. So basically, the only way to get the population

up again is by restoring the reefs.




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The Manhaden                                                                                  Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


     The Chesapeake Bay watershed stretches 64,000 Miles and includes the 6 states:

Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. There are over

100,000 streams or tributaries that run into Chesapeake Bay. This means that there are

many people that affect the watershed in multiple ways. One of these ways is through

commercial fishing in the Bay and its tributaries. The fish that are fished commercially

include bass, blue fish, catfish, black drum, flounder, perch, and trout.

     The most fished fish in the bay is the menhaden, which makes up almost half of the

total number of fish caught. There are over 400,000 menhaden caught in the Chesapeake

Bay each year. This has caused the population of menhaden to drop by half in the last ten

years. Many commercial fish like the striped bass and the blue fish feed on menhaden.

When the population of menhaden drops it directly affects the amount of these fish that

can survive. Right now there is a low restraint on the fishing of menhaden in the Chesapeake


One of the most popular means of fishing today is charter fishing. Charters charge on

average $660 for an eight our trip for 6 anglers and then an additional $50 for each

additional fisherman. This includes the cost of the gear that is provided. Charter boats in

the Chesapeake can hold from 6 passengers to 36 passengers. Since this is the most

common means of commercial fishing in the Chesapeake, we believe that there should be

more regulations on these charter boats. Cutting down on the number of passengers in a

charter boat would help, with 36 people fishing in one area, an underwater community can

become depleted.

     Over fishing is a major problem that is continuously increasing every year. However,

these solutions do work. We have seen fish species in the Chesapeake reach near extinction

and regulations have brought them back to their normal population. About 20 years ago

rockfish were almost completely wiped out of the Bay and its tributaries. With the help of

the regulating of the fishing of rockfish they are now very plentiful. This was not until long

ago, the striper fish, which nearly became extinct in the 1970’s. This decline in population

directly affects the amount of predator fish that can survive. Fish that fed on the rockfish

 were also depleted by their over fishing.

     All we ask is that the number per year be cut down 15% which will assist in cleaning up

the Bay and will keep around more commercial fish for commercial fishermen. We should

also limit the days that the charter boats can fish. Tuesdays and Thursdays could become

days where charter boat fishing is prohibited. This way there can be less people fishing in a

single area and we can avoid over fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.




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back fin                                                                                            Rappahannock H.S.-Settle

crabs                                                                                                                       4/15/2008

      There are different types of crabs in the world such as; fresh water, blue crabs,

terrestrial, pea crab, and the Japanese spider crab. The blue crab is the most important to

 the Chesapeake Bay. Crabs are covered with a thick exoskeleton or shell and have a single

pair of claws. A normal crab has ten legs including the claws. The mouthparts are covered

by maxilipeds. The gills of crabs are formed of flattened plates, resembling those of

shrimp, but have a different structure.

     As crabs grow or age they go through a process known as molting.  This means they

shed their shell in order to make room for the growth of a new shell forming underneath.

When the crab has shed its’ shell, it then becomes a “soft shelled” crab.  Blue  crabs live

approximately three years, after completing seven different larval stages including floating

 like plankton until they grow into their adult forms. At roughly twelve to eighteen months

of age, both males and females mate. The shape of the underbelly of the crab shows if the

 crab is male or female. After the crabs mate, the males will usually head for the lower

salinity waters in of the Chesapeake Bay, and females will head for more salty waters

where the Bay flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

     Blue crabs are omnivores, although some feed off of algae. Others take any type of

food, for example some eat mollusks, worms, and other crustaceans, fungi, bacteria, and

detritus. Not only are crabs predators but also prey - birds, fish, humans, and even other

blue crabs also hunt them. Fish that are predators include the stripped bass, drums, eels,

catfish, cow nose rays, and sharks.

The biggest blue crabs, known as #ones, cost between ninety to one hundred dollars for a

bushel.  On the fourth of July weekend the price dramatically increases to two hundred

dollars. A small commercial crabber spends about one thousand dollars on licenses a year.

If asked, some crabbers will not tell how much they caught or what they make; however,

by regulation, they are required to report their catch each month to the Game and Inland

Fisheries Commission. Recreational crabbers are allowed to drop a small number of pots

without heavy regulation; for example, people who live on the water could have a pot to

catch crabs at their dock.

     Some people feel crabs are being fished to their capacity in the Chesapeake Bay

ecosystem. In some years so many females, also known as sooks, were being caught in the

harvesting of crab pots, the population was not able to replenish itself to the previous

quantity. There are many crabbing regulations that aim to limit these population declines,

which include the time allowed to crab, the size of the crab kept, and many other rules.

The regulations have helped but there are other areas in need of further conservation

efforts. Continued education about the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the results of

pollution will also help. The submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) that provides shelter for

the younger crabs is under a great decline as a result of lower water quality and murkier

waters, because of soil and fertilizer runoff. This unfortunately leaves room for the

unwanted algae growth. Algae blocks the sunlight limiting the growth of proper vegetation

needed for the young crabs to survive.

     The crabbers in the Chesapeake Bay are in need of more restrictions as to how many

females can be caught in a month, so that the population can replenish itself. Also they

need more of a limit on how many crabs, male or female, can be caught in a year.  The

restrictions need to be brought to the people that crab off of their private docks as well.

The restrictions will be a start to help the quantity of the crabs come back up.  There

needs to be enforcement of runoff, nutrient, and sediment reduction requirements already

 mandated by law.



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Wishy Washy Watermen                                                                  Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


     The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary out of 130 estuaries in the United States. It POV:

is 200 miles long and 3.4 miles wide in range. The Bay holds more than 15 trillion gallons of

water. It is shallow; only 21 feet in depth. The Bay supports more than 3,600 species of

plants, fish and animals. It is a commercial and recreational resource for more than 16

million people. The Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood a year. The total cost

 for cleaning up the Bay would be about $18.7 billion.

     The Chesapeake Bay Watermen make a living harvesting a wide variety of marine life.

The occupation of a waterman includes: pound netters, crabbers, oyster dredgers, hand-

tongers, gill-netters, and clammers. Most work year long to adapt their equipment to the

conditions of the seasons. In the summer they harvest crabs, in the winter they harvest

oysters, and in the fall and spring they may harvest eel or finfish.

     The blue crabs habitat consists of bay grasses. The bay grasses are important because

they protect juvenile crabs, molting adult crabs, and feeding adult crabs from predators.

The worst thing is that the blue crabs are losing their habitats because of the poor water

quality and irregular weather conditions.

     Scientists estimate the population of blue crabs was about 78 percent of the targeted

goal of 200 million blue crabs. The Bay scientists use an annual Bay-wide winter dredge

survey as an indicator of how many blue crabs there are in the Chesapeake Bay. The 2006-

2007 survey said that there were about 273 million crabs in the Bay.

     The Chesapeake 2000 Agreement made a document that said they would restore water

quality by 2010 to preserve the land and to provide environmental education to the

students that are located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The estimated total that the

region would need to invest to achieve this goal is between $1-2 billion every year.

     The Chesapeake Bay was an open fishery and is now tightly regulated by Virginia,

Maryland and the federal government. The blue crab population has been decreasing

because of disease, over harvesting and loss of habitat. The watermen have been blaming

the decrease of the blue crabs on pollution. This may be true, but watermen are also over

harvesting. They blame the decreasing population on pollution because they want the bay

cleaned up so they can have a more abundant supply of crabs. Watermen make an average

of $50 million dollars a year in dockside value alone, but if the crab population continues to

 plummet, this will not be true any longer.

     Watermen are a big part of the economy and the decreasing crab population. But

without Watermen the Chesapeake Bay and its marine life would be wasted. I have heard it

said that a Bay without watermen would be diminished, a place without a part of its soul.




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Blue is Beautiful                                                                               Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


     In this area the blue crab is located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to tidal fresh POV:

areas. The water temperature in which they live has to remain at a stable warm

temperature. If the water is to cold the crabs will seek deeper water and bury themselves

and if the water is to hot their lives may be in danger because of low oxygen levels.

     The blue crab is a scavenger, which means that it eats dead “stuff”. They tend to feed

on mollusks such as oysters, shrimp, clams, and mussels. Usually the adult crabs prey on

these organisms as their main food source, they also feed on dead organisms. Crabs will

even feed on other blue crabs for food. Young crabs, or juvenile crabs, as people say, will

feed on small fish and dead organisms, but as their maturity progresses their prey tends to

 get larger. They can serve as consumers or as types of prey of plankton as their life cycle

 pans out.

     The eggs hatch into the first larval stage called the zoea. Four or five weeks after

floating in the ocean, the crab develop into its second stage. The second stage of a crab is

the megalopa. In this stage the crab is still to small too swim in the ocean. The third stage

is the juvenile crabs. This crab can walk and swim in the ocean. In about 12 to 18 months

crabs reach maturity. When female crabs become mature, it is time for them to mate to

create the next generation of blue crabs. After mating, females migrate to the mouth of

the Bay. All crabs go into semi-hibernation during the winter, November to January. When

the waters warm in spring, they crawl out and continue eating and molting.

     The easiest way to catch a crab is the dip net. With a long handled net you can wade

into acove or shoreline on foot or on a boat. When you see a crab just dip and net it. Put

your catch in a cooler or basket. You can catch a crab with bait tied to the end of line

baited with chicken necks or raw fish heads to catch the crabs. You can also use the small

stick, which is 8-12 inches long. In the bay there are 122 million blue crabs in the bay.

There has been a dramatic decrease in Bay-wide with harvesting.

     Crabs can get a disease from a blood parasite. The parasites consume oxygen from the

crabs blood and tissues and make the crab to become weak and eventually die. Parasite

grows rapidly over 3 to 6 weeks. Blood changes to a milky white color and lases clothing.

The parasites are found in the ocean-side bays of the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

The disease is most prevalent in warm, relatively shallow, high salinity waters.




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only 10% web feed                                                                          Rappahannock H.S.-Settle


     Extending through six states and D.C. (Virginia, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, POV:

Pennsylvania, and Delaware), the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United

States.  The bay’s watershed (an area of land that drains into a particular body of water)

covers over 64,000 sq. miles and has over 100,000 tributaries (rivers and streams whose

waters end up flowing into the bay).  With 14:1 the bay has the largest land to water ratio

than any other coastal body of water in the entire world.  The salinity of the bay increase

gradually as you move north to south because half of the water that forms the bay is

drained into the bay through its many tributaries, making it fresh water, and the other half

is salt water from the Atlantic Ocean.  Needless to say it’s important to our communities

and environment to keep the bay in good health.  Unfortunately it is in trouble and we need

to help it.  

     The biggest problem in the bay is the huge excess of nutrients, mainly nitrogen and

phosphorus.  The pollution comes from runoff from urban areas, agriculture runoff,

exhausts and other air pollutants, water treatment plants, smoke stacks, and other human-

related things. When these things enter the water the pollute it and cause serious problems.

  It affects the quality of the water and also causes “red tides” to occur. Fueled by the

excess nitrogen in the water algae blooms, which are basically overgrowth of phytoplankton

 and cyanobacteria, occur.  These algae blooms consume large amount of oxygen; by doing

so they lower the dissolved oxygen levels so bad that there is not enough for other

organisms to survive in that area and can cause mass deaths to occur.  This is the cause of

the “Dead Zone” in the bay. These algae blooms also come with another deadly problem:

pfiesteria piscicida.  It’s a microscopic organism that.  If exposed to humans it causes

neuropsychological symptoms, such as headaches, new and increased forgetfulness, and

skin lesions or burning sensation when their skin comes in contact with water.  In fish that

organism causes sores, ulcers, and respiratory problems.  The clarity of the water has

become very poor, which is also affecting the ecosystem by not allowing sunlight to reach

the bottom of the bay.  Without this sunlight the underwater plant life dies and the animals

that need them for food and shelter die with it.

     If we don’t act now we will not be able to save the bay.  People are reaching out to help

the bay through trying to implement laws and through participating in activities that help

improve the bay’s health.  One of the most important things that need to be done to

improve the bay is to restore the natural filters, such as forests, wetlands, underwater

grasses, and oysters, and to protect them and make sure they are not destroyed again. 

These would decrease the amount of nutrients that enter the bay.  We also need to

decrease the amount of fertilizer we use in our lawns, upgrade sewage treatment plants,

start using nitrogen removal technology in septic systems, reduce the amount of

agricultural runoff, Install buffer strips along farms, and get Conservation Reserve

Enhancement Programs in every state to make sure we have enough natural buffers and to

protect them. Healthy lawns, with little fertilizer or chemicals, help increase the bay’s

health because the runoff from that lawn won’t have chemicals to pollute the water.  Help

fight for federal funding and help get laws passed that will improve the health of the bay. 

You can plant trees to slow the runoff and get rid of some of the excess nutrients going

into the bay.  Also, by helping conserve the underwater grasses you can help the bay and

the fish populations that need the plants to survive.  Network!  You would be surprised at

how many people have no knowledge of how bad off the bay is.  Spread the word and its

spreads the concern!

     The bay has a complex ecosystem and food web.  Like all food webs, if you take more

than 10% of a species out, especially a keystone species, the whole food web will collapse. 

The Atlantic menhaden is one of the five keystone species in the bay.  Over 13% of the

population is pulled out of the bay during fishing season.  The species is having other

problems also.  Pfiesteria piscicida is causing ulcers inside their mouth and respiratory

problems, which has increased their death rates.  The occurrence of algae blooms in the

bay has caused mass deaths; whole schools of Menhaden have been killed because of this

problem.  The species has a low reproductive rate and this is a problem because they can’t

reproduce enough to overcome all these problems.  Humans have to help save these fish

because if we don’t the whole food web will collapse.  Atlantic Menhaden are very

important!  The eat the plankton, which filters the bay and are the main prey of many

organisms in the bay, including marine mammals, humans, Striped bass, fish-eating birds,

Mackerels, Bluefish and Weakfish.  It will also affect the economy because more

Menhaden are caught every year than any other fish in the bay. In 2006, 376 million

pounds of menhaden were caught in Maryland and Virginia waters valued at approximately

$22.8 million.  If we don’t save this fish the whole food web of the bay will collapse. The

only way to help these fish seems to be to clean the water and get ride of the algae

blooms, and help increase their reproduction rate.




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