A recent article published by the Baltimore Sun, announced the Chesapeake Bay had received a “C” for water quality.  That is the Bay’s highest score in over 20 years.  Unfortunately, the part of the watershed in Baltimore County did not score as well, Patapsco and Back River both scored a D-minus.

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There are many groups in Baltimore County working towards improving water quality not only for waterways in Baltimore County, but for the Chesapeake Bay as well.  One of those groups the Back River Restoration Committee has undertaken massive efforts to clean up parts of Back River, a quick visit to their FB page will show the many project they have undertaken to improve their part of the watershed.

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Many have heard the stories of when Captain John Smith first sailed the Bay the water was so full of sea life, his crew could not disembark to swim.  While we are far from seeing that abundance of sea life the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore has made it a goal to make the Inner Harbor swimmable by 2020.  While the Waterfront Partnership is based in Baltimore City, the waterways of Baltimore County feed into the Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay.

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Improving the quality of the watershed cannot be left to community action groups and environmentalist, alone.  If everyone were to change a few daily habits, we would make positive improvements to the health of the Chesapeake, one of our national treasures.

Here are a few ways to improve the water quality in Baltimore County and the Chesapeake Bay.

  1. When washing your car, buy an environmentally friendly soap. Remember everything that goes down the storm drain goes directly into a local waterway without being processed or filtered.
  2. Take your trash with you. When you are out and about and have just finished that delicious breakfast sandwich or sweet piece of candy put the wrapper in your pocket and discard it when you find a trash can, not on the ground.
  3. Keep your butts. It should be no surprised that smoking is bad for your health and it is bad for the health of the watershed as well, keep your cigarette butts and throw them away when you get home, not on the ground.
  4. Paper, plastic, neither? Do you have a drawer full of plastic bags from grocery shopping?  Those take “forever” to decompose in a landfill (around 10-20 years).  Reusable bags have become pretty inexpensive and you can use them anywhere for any purpose, consider buying a few and skipping the “one-time” bag at the grocery store.
  5. May I have my shells to go? A great way to support oyster populations in the Bay (a very important filter-feeder), is to recycle your oyster shells. Take empty oyster shells to an Oyster Recovery Partnership recycling station. Find one near you.

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These are just a few ways we can work together to improve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for everyone to enjoy for years to come.

Tell us know some of your favorite environmentally friendly tips!

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