Save The Bay
The residents of the Mayo Peninsula are surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay therefore we are ever mindful of it's presence and our influence on it's creatures and the Bay's health. We are very proud of the Bay and strive to be good, vigilant stewards of the Bay that has been abused over the course of many decades. In recent years, the Bay has been trying to make a comeback. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary on the east coast and it's health is important to everyone. Much of our seafood comes from these waters and, as the saying goes, you are what you eat. The Bay's health has a direct effect upon our health. The Bay also supports the income of our local watermen. Many generations of watermen fish the Bay and, hopefully, many more generations will follow. The Bay's health has a direct effect on their income and their families.
Ignorance of catch limits and regulations and carelessness with trash can set back the Chesapeake Bay in its attempt to restore itself. Waste from dogs and humans adds harmful bacteria to the water. Fishing line, plastic can holders, styrofoam, cigarette butts, plastic bags, diapers - all harm the Bay and it's animals.
The biggest enemy of the Chesapeake Bay is nutrients. Nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, fuel algae blooms. Algae blooms hover on or near the surface of the water and block beneficial sunlight from the underwater bay grasses. These underwater grasses are beneficial for protecting young crabs and popular sport fish, like rockfish, that use the local rivers as breeding grounds. The grasses also serve as protection for small fish to hide from predators.
Although 58% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is comprised of forests, it is estimated that about 100 acres of forest are lost to development each day. The trees are important because they have the ability to absorb these harmful runoff nutrients before they are able to make it to the Bay. Although initiatives have been set to plant trees to replace those lost to development, it will take years for these saplings to become big enough to make any difference at all and, that is, if they live long enough. Many saplings are lost due to negligence and weather. Large, well-established trees block the Bay from harmful nutrients.
The nutrients that make their way into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed via land are mainly due to "impervious surfaces". An impervious surface is a surface that does not allow water to pass through. Impervious surfaces are rooftops, parking lots, sidewalks and roads. About 21% of all urban areas in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are impervious surfaces. Chemicals such as weed killers and even the "salt" that gets put on the roads in the winter, quickly make their way to the Bay. The water runoff from impervious surfaces can be very damaging to the Bay. It delivers a quick route for harmful nutrients to go straight into the Bay. It does not allow water to be absorbed and added to groundwater. Free flowing water can cause damaging erosion and the water that flows directly into storm drains can cause area flooding.
The Chesapeake Bay is a delicate ecosystem. Some species of plants and animals are found nowhere else. It is up to us to take care of them and preserve their homes for generations to come.