News from the DNR Office of Communications

Upper Eastern Shore 11th Annual Wade-In Set For June 20th

Citizens Encouraged to Attend

Betterton, MD – Members of the Upper Eastern Shore Tributary team will host their 11th annual Wade-In event on Saturday, June 20 from 10:30 to 2 p.m. During the event, Marylanders are invited to wade into the water of Betterton Beach Park to demonstrate the level of visibility and water quality and bring attention to the serious impact of nutrient pollution.

“Every Marylander, young and old, can do his or her part in helping Bay restoration efforts through these Wade-Ins,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Through these events, we encourage citizen participation in bay restoration efforts and encourage activity on a local level that ultimately will benefit the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay.”

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.

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.

Betterton Beach Park, near the mouth of the Sassafras River at the northwest part of Kent County, is located at 1 Ericsson Avenue, Betterton, MD 21610. The actual wade-in will begin at noon, and a picnic lunch will be served afterwards. There will also be informational displays for the public from various Upper Eastern Shore watershed groups. The event is free of charge and it will take place rain or shine. More information is available by contacting Christopher Aadland at 410-260-8736 or by email at caadland@dnr.state.md.us.

The Upper Eastern Shore basin drains approximately 960 square miles of land, including all of Kent County and portions of Cecil, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties in the Upper Eastern portion of the State. Nutrient pollution affecting the Upper Eastern Shore 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 nonpoint 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.

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 www.dnr.maryland.gov/bay/tribstrat to explore all of their programs.

DIRECTIONS TO BETTERTON BEACH FROM BAY BRIDGE:
Take the US-50 E ramp toward Bay Bridge. Merge onto US-301 N (Portions Toll). Take the MD-290/Dudley’s Corner Rd exit toward Pondtown/Crumpton. Turn right onto MD-290/Dudley’s Corner Rd. Continue to follow MD-290. Turn left onto MD-291/River Rd. Turn right onto MD-298/Cherry Ln. Turn left onto MD-298/Morgnec Rd. Turn right onto MD-298/Browntown Rd. Turn slight left onto MD-298/Lambs Meadow Rd. Turn slight right onto MD-566/Old Still Pond Rd. Turn slight right onto Medders Rd./MD-566. Turn slight right onto MD-442/Rosedale Cannery Rd. Turn left onto MD-442. Turn right onto Still Pond Rd./MD-292. Continue to follow MD-292. End at Betterton Beach Park, MD.


   June 17, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 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 www.dnr.maryland.gov