Anacostia Watershed Blog

Maryland Invasive Plant Bill Set to Become Law

The invasive plant bill (HB 831) we have worked on for the last two years has now passed both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.  The bill was sponsored by 19 Delegates and was passed unanimously in the State Senate yesterday, 46-0!  AWS staff is thrilled to see this bill passed since we brought back the conversation to the table at the Maryland Invasive Species Council (MISC) two years ago.  At that time we came up with a proposed bill we crafted with the valuable help of one of our best interns ever: Leena Chapagain.  Thanks you so much, Leena!  Almost at the same time another bill was being proposed by a lawyer from Baltimore and his visionary school-age son!  Consensually AWS decided to sit down with all the stakeholders and craft a new bill, that's the HB 831.

No Joke -- These Photos Were Taken Today

Sadly, the pictures below are not another April Fools' Day joke.  They were taken today near Beltsville, Md. by AWS Water Quality Specialist Masaya Maeda.  They are a clear indication that we still have some work ahead of us before we are able to reach our goal of a swimmable and fishable Anacostia River.

Please do you part to help us achieve that goal by coming out to our annual Earth Day Cleanup next Saturday, April 9th!
 

 
Unfortunately, trash and sediment pollution remain significant problems in the Anacostia Watershed, as seen in the photos above, taken today upstream of Indian Creek, near Beltsville, Md.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Anacostia River cleaned up, no need for action by elected officials

BLADENSBURG, Md. - Today the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) is proud to announce that after 22 years of efforts, the Anacostia River is cleaned up and we can all stop caring about it.

"We are thrilled to announce that the Anacostia River is cleaned up and that our elected officials don't need to do anything else to help," said AWS President Jim Foster.  "There is no longer a need to enact effective policies like the DC bag bill, so Montgomery and Prince George's Counties can quit worrying about it.  In fact, don't even bother coming to our Earth Day Cleanup and Celebration on April 9."

Foster produced the following list of things local elected officials no longer need to worry about:

ACTION ALERT: Call and write NOW to support the bag bill

It was only a matter of time before industry flexed its financial muscle to defend their polluting plastic bags.  Yesterday bag bill opponents swamped the Maryland House of Delegates with computerized "patch through" calls that connect constituents directly to their legislators. This is likely funded by industry so who knows what they are telling constituents before they connect them with legislators.  Last year the American Chemistry Council (plastics lobbying group) and manufacturer Hilex spent an estimated $2 Million to defeat the California bag bill.  Now someone is waving money around Maryland to defeat a public policy that we have seen work well in DC.


They should be catching fish, not plastic bags!

Technical Difficulties at AWS

If you've tried to contact us via e-mail this week and haven't gotten a response, we promise we're not ignoring you!  Our server crashed on Monday night and we lost access to the internet and all of our e-mail accounts.  We're working to restore everything now and we hope to be back up and running by the end of the week.  If you need to reach us, feel free to stop by the office or give us a call at 301-699-6204.  Thanks and sorry for any inconvenience!

PS- Our Earth Day event is less than a month away (Saturday, April 9th), so visit our Earth Day web page and sign up now to volunteer if you haven't already!

Another Piece Added to the Restoration Puzzle

The Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) started its first year of Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) Hosts and Volunteers in November 2010.  One aspect of this program offers each CCC Volunteer the opportunity to submit a proposal for a Corps-wide project, one event during spring and one in fall, that will take place at a location chosen by the awarded volunteer and host organization.  Six out of a possible sixteen proposals were submitted for the spring project and an anonymous review committee assembled by CBT determined that the winner of the All-Hands on Deck Spring Project is the Anacostia Watershed Society!


Germinated wild rice seeds

AWS Action Alert: Ask legislators to pass MD bag bill out of committee

Last week we had excellent hearings on the Maryland bag bill in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.

Trash Free Maryland alliance members and other proponents had a wealth of information on our side:

Rice Rangers program off to a great start

 
Teachers getting their hands dirty and planting Wild Rice seeds.

Last Saturday the Education Team officially launched the Rice Rangers Program!  Teachers gathered at the AWS Headquarters for a full day of orientation about the program.  The morning was spent indoors learning about the history of wetlands, how to incorporate wetland education in the classroom, and figuring out the logistics of growing wetland plants in the classroom.  During the afternoon session, the teachers and AWS educators took a field trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to construct goose fencing in the marsh.  When the teachers bring their students out to the marsh later this spring, they will plant inside the fences to ensure the plants are not eaten by Canada Geese.


Teachers working to install goose fencing at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

What's that triangular purple box hanging in trees?

It's all about EAB, or Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis), a ruthless insect invader from eastern Russia, northern China, Japan, and Korea.  How did it get here?  It's not clearly known, but it is likely that it came in ash wood used for stabilizing cargo in ships or for crating consumer products. 


Recently, an EAB trap was put in an ash tree across the street from our offices at the Old Port park.

MD bag bill hearings this week!

This is a big week in our efforts for a Trash Free Anacostia and a Trash Free Maryland - the Clean the Streams and Beautify the Bay Act of 2011 will be heard in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.  The bill will create a small 5 cent fee on single-use bags in order to drive down their use and help fund the cost of cleaning up after the mess they create.  A similar program in Washington, DC has been in place since January 1, 2010.  The Washington Post notes the bag fee success in DC and says Maryland should follow suit.

Please consider attending to show your support for clean streams and healthy waterways!

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