2013 Legislative Preview
Following on a very successful legislative session in 2012, the main thrust of our 2013
legislative work will be defending the strides
that we have made over the last several
years. Specifically, we will work to protect
funds for Blueprint implementation through
the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, Chesapeake
Bay Restoration Fund, and Department of
Agriculture funding for cover crops and
other best management practices.
We will also defend against any policy bill
that works against the Blueprint. We anticipate such bills on septic systems, growth,
and agriculture. The measures under attack
would require new homes built with septics
to use state-of-the-art septic systems that cut
nutrient pollution and would require farmers to getter manage manure and biosolids.
We will also support a bill to develop a pilot
project where state funds are used to transition farmers from traditional feeding to grazing. Lastly, we will work to close a loop hole
in the Stormwater Utility Fee bill that was
passed last year which exempts state properties from paying the fee.
CBF will fight attempts
to roll back recent
acres of wetlands, restore streams banks, and
convert a manure lagoon to a bioretention cell,
among other measures. CBF volunteers planted 1,000 trees at the farm in November. All
these conservation practices will help make
sure polluted runoff from the farm is filtered as
it drains into the Patuxent River watershed.
A New Challenge to the Blueprint
Dorchester County officials and a Baltimore
law firm are encouraging Maryland counties
to fight against the Chesapeake Clean Water
Blueprint. They argue that counties should
delay investing in water pollution control
projects until a solution is found for the
problem of sediment buildup behind the
Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River.
Specifically, they suggest forming a coalition
that will use the Funk & Bolton law firm to
challenge clean-water regulations.
At press time, four counties had signed on to
Dorchester County’s ill-advised campaign.
CBF is working at the grassroots, county, and
executive level to get out the message that it
is irresponsible and misguided for Maryland
counties to use pollution from the
Susquehanna as an excuse to sidestep their
own clean-up responsibilities.
The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint asks
everyone to do his share. Everyone.
Largest “Reef Ball” Home Completed
In September, CBF
finished creating the
equivalent of a small
city for oysters at the
mouth of the Choptank River, a five-year
project that introduced about 20 million
For this unique project we placed 1,200
“reef balls” covered with oysters at Cook’s
Point in the Choptank River. Reef balls are
hollow, concrete structures made by volunteers at CBF’s Oyster Restoration Center.
Young oysters prefer to attach themselves to
existing oyster shells, but concrete has
proved a successful substitute.
It’s always cheaper to prevent new pollution
rather than clean it up later. So these laws
and regulations make economic as well as
Organic Farm Gets Makeover
CBF is concerned about pollution from the
Susquehanna River and sediment behind the
dam, as we are pollution from each of the
Bay’ tributaries. But, Dorchester is dramatically exaggerating the impacts of the River
and the Conowingo on Maryland tributaries
and the Chesapeake Bay.
The eight-acre Cook’s Point reef, completed
with help from the Maryland Artificial Reef
Initiative and other partners, is the largest
such oyster reef in the entire Chesapeake Bay.
uFor more information, visit cbf.org/maryland.
The largest organic farm in the state will
become even more environmentally sound,
thanks to CBF and partners, who have
developed plans to turn the 857-acre
Maryland Sunrise Farm in Anne Arundel
County into a virtual showcase of conservation practices.
The farm in Gambrills already produces
grass-fed organic beef, and organic corn, soybeans, hay, and other market vegetables. The
property was once a dairy farm for the U.S.
Navy and currently is leased by private owners from the county.
Now, with help from CBF’s restoration staff,
the farm will add 20 acres of forest and five