News from the DNR Office of Communications

Upper Western Shore 12th Annual Wade-In Set For June 6

Citizens Encouraged to Attend

Abingdon, Md. - Members of the Upper Western Shore Tributary team will host their 12th annual Wade-In on Saturday, June 6 from 2 to 5 p.m at the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center. During the event Marylanders are invited to wade into the water of Otter Point Creek to demonstrate the level of visibility and water quality and bring attention to the serious impact of nutrient pollution.

“Our tributary teams represent an important component of citizens’ role in Maryland bay restoration efforts,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “They provide the opportunity for every person across Maryland, whether he or she lives near the Bay or not, to go out to their local waterway and check out the water quality. The health of our Chesapeake Bay is largely determined by the health of its tributaries, and through these events, the importance of action on a local level is illuminated in the fact that every Marylander can make a difference.”

In what has become an annual event for each of Maryland’s 10 Tributary Teams, the Wade-Ins are inspired by former State Senator Bernie Fowler, who began wading into the Patuxent River 17 years ago with family and friends to highlight concerns about declining water quality in Maryland’s tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay. Senator Fowler remembered that, as a child, he could wade into the Patuxent and easily see his shoes. The event became known as a Wade-In and is characterized by participants wading into a stream, river, or the Bay, and measuring the point at which they can no longer see their shoes, commonly known as the Sneaker Index. Fowler challenged the other nine Tributary Teams to host Wade-Ins or similar water quality awareness events of their own.

The event is free of charge and it will take place rain or shine. More information is available by contacting Mike Bilek at 410-260-8988 or

The Upper Western Shore basin drains approximately 920 square miles of land, including all of Harford County and portions of Carroll, Baltimore, and Cecil Counties. Larger water bodies in the basin include the Susquehanna River, Bush River, Gunpowder River, Little Gunpowder Falls, Deer and Octoraro Creeks, Conowingo Pool, Loch Raven and Pretty-Boy Reservoirs, and tidal embayments in the lower portions of the basin, including Middle River.

Nutrient pollution can be divided into two major categories – point sources (pollution that comes from a single, definable location, such as a wastewater treatment plant or industrial discharge) and non-point sources (pollution that cannot be attributed to a clearly identifiable, specific physical location, such as runoff from land and atmospheric deposition). Runoff from different land uses, point sources, and atmospheric deposition are the major sources of nutrients within the Bay watershed.

The Anita C. Leight Estuary Center is located in Leight Park in Southern Harford County, just 18 miles north of Baltimore, and is easily located from Interstate 95. On the day of the event, please call 410-612-1688 or 410-879-2000, ext. 1688 for directions.

Take Exit 77A off of Route I-95 to Route 24 South to Edgewood. 2. Turn left onto the Route 40 access road. 3.Turn left at the T onto Route 40 East. Proceed east 1.5 miles. Turn right at the stop light onto Otter Point Road. Proceed mile, then turn right into the driveway at the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center entrance sign at 700 Otter Point Road.

Since 1995, Maryland’s Tributary Teams have assisted with the implementation of the state’s watershed-based plans to reduce nutrient pollution to Maryland’s rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Support for the Tributary Teams is provided by staff at DNR, however the members are volunteers whose tireless energy results in invaluable contributions to restoration efforts. The Wade-Ins are just one of the ways the Teams highlight local water quality and get their communities involved. Visit to explore all of their programs.

Last month, on a tour of the Bush River, Governor O’Malley and senior scientists discussed two new strategies to accelerate Bay restoration in Maryland. Citing what scientists call a “tipping point” — a stage at which progress within a tributary can begin to promote self-healing — the Governor announced plans for a major new outreach effort to enlist local governments, businesses and citizens to take a more active role in restoring the health of Maryland’s waterways. At the Chesapeake Executive Council meeting, Governor O’Malley announced Maryland’s new two-year milestones, short term goals developed over the past several months by the Governor and his BayStat team to better target, focus and accelerate efforts on the ground, and measure results.

   June 4, 2009

Contact: Megan Rhoads

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at