Baltimore Aquarium Conservation Team visits AWS

ACT staff with Stewardship Team Masaya presenting at Nash Run Trash Trap
Aquarium Conservation Team staff at Bladensburg Waterfront Park (above) and visiting the Nash Run Trash Trap (below).

On Monday, my fellow Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer Laura Cattell brought her Conservation Team at the National Aquarium in Baltimore down for a visit.  We had the pleasure of introducing them to our watershed, engaging them in some cleanup work and sharing trade secrets.

As we always do, we highlighted the historic quality of the Anacostia River -- how much life in the early colonial period of this area depended on the river -- as well as showing our organization's approach to the challenges we face today.  Our guests were amazed when Eric mentioned that prior to agricultural development and unsustainable settlement, Bladensburg was a bigger port than Baltimore!

Support a Prince George's County Bag Bill

The Anacostia River is so severely impacted by trash that in 2007 it was declared impaired by trash under the provisions of the Clean Water Act.  Only the second river in the country to be so designated, and the first multi-jurisdictional river (Maryland and DC), in 2010 a trash TMDL, or pollution diet, was issued that requires Anacostia jurisdictions to reduce the amount of trash entering the river.

At the end of 2008 AWS released a scientific study of trash in the Anacostia River.  One of the key findings of this study was that 33% of the trash in the tidal river was plastic bags, while nearly 50% of the trash in tributary streams was plastic bags.

What Is a Swimmable Anacostia River?

Disclaimer: the ideas presented here are the water quality specialist’s personal view and is not AWS’s view on the definition of a swimmable Anacostia River.


Blue Flag and Robert Boone (the founder of AWS)

When I joined the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) in 2002, I started to be involved in a project called Flagging Project.  In the project I took samples every business day from June through October in 2002 and 2003, measured the water for various parameters including Fecal Coliform Bacteria.  Since it takes about 24 hours to analyze water for fecal bacteria, I forecasted the fecal bacteria testing results based on accumulated data, rainfall precipitation, conductivity, etc.  The forecast was made if the fecal bacteria level will meet a boating standard or not.

ACTION ALERT: Call and write NOW to support the bag bill

It was only a matter of time before industry flexed its financial muscle to defend their polluting plastic bags.  Yesterday bag bill opponents swamped the Maryland House of Delegates with computerized "patch through" calls that connect constituents directly to their legislators. This is likely funded by industry so who knows what they are telling constituents before they connect them with legislators.  Last year the American Chemistry Council (plastics lobbying group) and manufacturer Hilex spent an estimated $2 Million to defeat the California bag bill.  Now someone is waving money around Maryland to defeat a public policy that we have seen work well in DC.


They should be catching fish, not plastic bags!

AWS Action Alert: Ask legislators to pass MD bag bill out of committee

Last week we had excellent hearings on the Maryland bag bill in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.

Trash Free Maryland alliance members and other proponents had a wealth of information on our side:

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