Is southern Bay getting too hot for eelgrass?

I would like to respond to the article,"Bay grasses expanded 10% in 2007; low-salinity areas had greatest increase," May 2008.

It has been known for many years that one of the main grasses in the Bay is eelgrass and that the southern range of this grass for many years was the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

It seems logical to conclude that the southern range stops where it does because it must require some cold weather to propagate.

Eelgrass is still growing in its more northern range and it would be interesting to know if it is moving north.

Because of the global warming, climate change or just warming-whichever one chooses to believe-the eelgrass can no longer survive at southern latitudes as it has before.

This is not a phenomenon by itself.

We are seeing similar circumstances regarding trees that were once important nectar sources for honeybees and other insects that are no longer producing any nectar.

There is also evidence that even microscopic plants and animals that live in the oceans are changing their range. Species of phytoplankton and zooplankton are changing where they can be found and the animals that eat the plankton are changing their range.

Perhaps some other warmer water grass will move north.

Maybe we could find these grasses to help the process.

Bill Bartlett
Valley Lee, MD

It should be 'ladies first' when rescuing the crab population

Finally, we are seeing some leadership from the Chesapeake Executive Council, most notably Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, on addressing the crux of the blue crab crisis.

Tens of millions of dollars have been wasted over a decade of endless meetings and jawboning while many of us have known that the solution all along was to address the harvest of female crabs and halt the insanely desperate crab dredges.

If the solution were left to industry and politicians alone-as it has been for far too long-watermen would harvest the last blue crab from the Bay, then ask the government what it was going to do about the situation-just as it is doing with the oyster population.

I suggest that the harvest restrictions alone do not go far enough and that what is needed is for the public to accept some culpability in the creating the problem and to step forward to become a part of the solution.

With the help of educational programs mounted by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Program, a new "eating ethic" can be created. The day of the "all you can eat" crab feast should be over, starting with political gatherings.

The day of eating female crabs should be long gone in every state. I can visualize the Food Network having a ball with this!

A few years back, some clever fellow came up with the slogan "save the crabs, then eat 'em.'" It's time we all worked to establish that standard across the Chesapeake by discouraging the consumption of the wrong crabs and too many crabs.

For better or worse, the Base Realignment Commission is about to suddenly deploy tens of thousands of new crab lovers into our region. If we don't place tough harvest restrictions that will sustain a healthy crab fishery for a swelling population and teach the new crab connoisseurs that our beautiful swimmers are a delicacy, both the crabs and the watermen will be mere memories in a relatively short amount of time.

A landlubber crab lover,

Neil Ridgely
Reistertown, MD