From one Bay lover to another
I farm oysters on Willapa Bay in southwest Washington State. The Bay Journal provides me with much useful information regarding water quality issues.
I met recently with the President's Council on Sustainable Forestry as part of their in-depth tour of the Willapa watershed, investigating the effects of forestry practices on streams and the estuary. In my little speech to the Council, I was able to use information from the Bay Journal to show connections between the shellfish farming and upland activities. Erosion, sedimentation, nutrient overloading, pesticide contamination and bacterial contamination are major concerns for shellfish farmers.
The Chesapeake Bay situation shows how difficult and expensive it is to restore water quality in degraded estuaries. Prevention is obviously a much better approach, so I do what I can to protect the excellent water quality in Willapa Bay that is essential for my business. Thank you for your efforts.
Watch where you point fingers
I am an Alliance for the Chesapeake. Bay volunteer citizen monitor (Nomini Creek, VA), and an avid reader of the Bay Journal. However, I just wanted to comment on an article that appeared on page 19 of the May, 1997 issue ("Pocomoke fish dying from sores.") While the article clearly states that scientists are unsure of the cause, it goes on to quote a waterman who thinks pesticides are the cause. Clearly, there are risks associated with pesticide use, and risk reduction and stewardship efforts are vital. Nonetheless, the quote smacks of tabloid journalism. It is roughly equivalent to quoting someone else who thinks that the Hale-Bopp comet caused the sores. If no one knows the cause, state such, and leave it at that until the cause is better documented.
As an aside, on Nomini Creek the most commonly encountered litter consists of plastic oil containers improperly disposed of by watermen. Furthermore, crab pots have proliferated to such a degree that the smell of rotting fish hangs over sections of the creek during the summer.
I certainly admire watermen for the difficult job they perform, but their energies would be better channeled toward getting their own environmental house in order rather than pointing fingers at others without any scientific validation.
All washed up on Swatara
Outdoor folks will be pleased to know that the Swatara Creek, from Pine Grove to Jonestown, is a little cleaner. The Swatara Creek Watershed Association, with financial help from local businesses, sponsored the 9th Annual Swatara Creek Clean-up. A record 49 canoes were launched on May 4, allowing participants to clean the creek and enjoy its beauty from a new perspective.
Fifty tires; a shopping cart; plastic bags and wrappers; soda cans; a typewriter, several miles from a bridge; and other things too disgusting to mention were collected along the 16-mile trek. Several dump trucks were filled to capacity and the trash, 2.5 tons of it, was properly land-filled.
You know, there is a place to dispose of trash, and it's not off the nearest bridge or in the nearest woods, supposedly out of sight! Animals don't throw litter in your living quarters, don't do it to them.
This area will be home to the new Swatara Creek State Park, so several dignitaries and DCNR officials showed their support and "got dirty" with us. To the best of my knowledge, none of them got wet or overturned their canoe. My partner probably wishes that I could say the same thing. Sorry, Joe!
Robert H. Checket