Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Week returns!

The Chesapeake Bay–the world's largest estuary—is approximately 200 miles long and runs north to south from the Susquehanna River to the Atlantic Ocean. The watershed includes parts of six states and is home to approximately 14 million people.

Most of us that in the watershed region have connections to the Chesapeake Bay, whether it’s memories of fishing, swimming, crabbing (or cracking open steaming hot crabs!), or even just a relaxing boat ride into the horizon. But imagine not being able to enjoy these activities because of pollutants infecting the waters and hurting creatures that call the Chesapeake Bay home. We need to help save the bay by being informed about what’s causing such harm to the water and animals—and what we can do to reverse that harm and stop it before it begins.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the leading threat to the health of the Chesapeake Bay is excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, which destroys animal habitat and kills fish. Sources of these pollutants include agriculture, sewage treatment plants, run-off from urban and suburban areas and air pollution from automobiles, factories and power plants. Throw in sprawl and poor fishery management, and we have an even bigger problem on our hands.

So what can we do to help? There’s lots of ways we can keep our watershed healthy: use fewer hazardous materials, plant trees next to streams, carpool and recycle, just to name a few. Everything we do can affect the bay, so most importantly, we have to monitor what we do, use and how we dispose of it. The littlest things can help.

Beginning this Sunday through April 26th, MPT celebrates this important natural resource and highlights its most critical issues during its annual Chesapeake Bay Week. The only programming initiative of its kind, Chesapeake Bay Week is part of MPT's year-round, ongoing commitment to the bay and our environment.

Chesapeake Bay Week culminates with a Volunteer-a-thon to give viewers a chance to donate hours to help clean up the bay. Tune in Sunday, April 26 at 6 p.m. and donate some of your time to worthy bay organizations. You can donate online, too.

What are you going to do to help save the bay? What kinds of simple, everyday tips can you share with others on how to help the bay and the environment? What memories come to mind when you see or think about the Chesapeake Bay?

Check out what students at the Ruxton Country School in Owings Mills, Maryland, are doing to help clean up and appreciate the watershed region. Students, their families and staff have already donated 5,000 hours to our Volunteer-a-thon!

Krissy Leventis
Communications and Outreach Intern

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