Posts Tagged 'indian head'

Potomac River Restoration at Indian Head Continues!

Since 2008 the National Aquarium has worked with the US Navy to restore portions of the Potomac River surrounding Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex. This newly created riparian buffer protects the shoreline from severe erosion while providing habitat to the local wildlife.

In June, 2013 the conservation team along with the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) returned to plant native wetland grasses best suited for the restoration area.

indian head conservation team

In total the operation included 15 Aquarium staff and 20 MCC to plant 20,000 grasses. The 1,806 trees planted in the fall of 2012 by community volunteers were also monitored and yield a survival rate of 95 percent!

Riparian buffers are essential to healthy ecosystems by preventing sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants reaching the waterway. They also provide valuable habitat for migratory songbirds and raptors. During the restoration several American bald eagles and osprey were observed occupying the area.

indian head restoration

The Aquarium has plans to complete the planting portion of the restoration by the end of 2013. At this time the success of the shoreline will be monitored annually with staff and volunteers.

Want to get involved with our conservation initiatives? Join us at our next field event

Volunteer Spotlight: Kara Brown

volunteerspotlight_baltimore

Meet Kara Brown, one of our amazing community volunteers who has generously donated her time at our restoration events (and converted it into dollars through T. Rowe Price’s “dollars for doers” employee program)!

Kara has volunteered at numerous of our planting events, including this project at Indian Head!

Kara has volunteered at numerous of our planting events, including this project at Indian Head!

How long have you been volunteering with the National Aquarium?

Although I had wanted to volunteer for the Aquarium for several years, nothing worked out with my schedule until June 2012, so just since this past year.

What motivated you to volunteer and why do you continue?

I was motivated to volunteer to help rectify some of the damage done by centuries of misuse of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Indian Head shoreline restoration project was perfect- it has great importance, fit my schedule, and would allow me to utilize my employer’s “dollars for doers” program, which made a donation to the Aquarium based on the number of hours that I volunteered.  I hope to be able to continue volunteering with the Aquarium, as the work they do is so important to restoring health to the Bay and the world’s oceans.

What is your most memorable experience from an event?

I would have to say my most memorable experience was the 110 degree heat index during the Indian Head shoreline restoration!  But seriously, it has been seeing the hard work and selfless dedication of a core of repeat volunteers, and the Aquarium employees.  It is amazing to witness how much can be accomplished in a short amount of time by a small group of caring people.

Does your work with the National Aquarium tie into your job or other volunteer work you are engaged in?

The work that I did with the National Aquarium definitely goes hand in hand with my personal life and other volunteer work.  As an avid outdoors person and paddler, I am a long time member of the Baltimore Canoe and Kayak Club.  I have participated in river cleanups organized by the club for several years.  These cleanups have removed many tons of trash – appliances, over 1,000 tires, and even several complete cars – from two area rivers and their shores.

Thanks for all the hard work and support, Kara! Want to become a volunteer? Click here to find out how! 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Indian Head Restoration is Complete!

Since 2008, National Aquarium has actively worked to restore a riparian buffer (a bank of water that naturally filters out pollution and prevents erosion) along a section of the Potomac River at Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex.  This four-year project, which involved 81,268 grasses and 5,902 trees, was a partnership between the National Aquarium, Department of Defense, and Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development.

This past November marked the Aquarium’s last volunteer planting event, where we were able to finish the third phase of this cleanup and restoration project.

One of our amazing community volunteers hard at work planting saplings!

One of our amazing community volunteers
hard at work planting saplings!

The project began when the Navy experienced severe erosion along their shoreline, weakening base infrastructure and threatening operations.  The Navy proposed a plan and provided funding to reconstruct the shoreline in areas most vulnerable to base activity.  The Aquarium was brought on board to lead community-based, hands-on restoration events to vegetate the shoreline.

Volunteers from the NCCC braved the brisk weather to help us finish our final planting.

Volunteers from the NCCC braved the brisk weather to help us finish our final planting.

The 15 acres of shoreline were restored with the help of 622 volunteers donating 4,938 hours to the project since 2008!  Volunteers included the local community, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), Maryland Conservation Corps, National Civilian Community Corps, Charles Master Gardeners, and Navy personnel.

A glimpse at the freshly restored shoreline at Indian Head

A glimpse at the freshly restored shoreline at Indian Head.

Riparian buffers are environmentally critical to providing habitat for local wildlife and improving water quality.  The buffer intercepts sediment and nutrients that can lead to what’s known as “dead zones.”  The Aquarium has plans to return to NSF Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex to further monitor the success of the project.  For more information on this project, please visit aqua.org.

Thoughtful Thursday: Top 12 Conservation Moments of 2012

As 2012 winds down, we are taking a look at all of the amazing things our dedicated team of staff and volunteers and like-minded conservationists were able to accomplish this year! From a full year of marine animal rescue and rehabilitation to important state and federal legislation, this year has given us hope for the future of our amazing blue planet.

For our last Thoughtful Thursday of 2012, we’re giving you our top 12 conservation moments of 2012:

Banner Bags

Every year, the Aquarium’s new marketing campaign requires updated signage, including vinyl banners to adorn our building and our respective cities. Reluctant to simply throw these materials away, our International Conservation Committee decided to transform these old banners into reusable tote bags! The project has been so popular with our own staff members, we’re having trouble keeping them on the shelves of our gift shop! This project is reflective of the Aquarium’s constant efforts to repurpose, reuse, and recycle materials.

Banner bags

International Coastal Cleanup at Ft. McHenry

National Aquarium has long been engaged in the restoration of our community’s coastal regions. In recent years, we have been focusing our efforts on regions like Fort McHenry, where volunteers and staff have removed more than 500,000 pieces of marine debris. This year, as part of  Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, our Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) joined hundreds of thousands of volunteers cleaning and restoring both coasts. Preserving our region is not only critical for the marine ecosystems, but these wetlands also help to teach students the importance of local wildlife and habitat restoration.
fort mchenry before and after

5gyres “Last Straw Plastic Pollution” Bike Tour

This year, we were fortunate to have the 5gyres team visit both our Washington, DC, and Baltimore venues to share their incredible story with the public and National Aquarium staff. A conservation organization focused on raising awareness of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” 5gyres biked 1,400 miles down the Atlantic coast to spread the word about marine debris and what we can do to clean it.

Dolphin Count

This summer marked another great year in Atlantic dolphin population monitoring. Our Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) team and more than 100 volunteers made the annual trip to Ocean City in July to record dolphin sightings, an important indicator of reproduction rates and ocean health. This year’s count of 37 was surprisingly low in comparison to 2011′s 107, likely a result of weather, unusual swells, and prey availability.

Dolphins spotted off the coast of Ocean City. Credit: John Soule

Dolphins spotted off the coast of Ocean City. Credit: John Soule

RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant

We were humbled and grateful to receive RBC’s support for our Chesapeake Bay Initiative (CBI). Thanks to this $130,000 grant, the largest ever received from a corporation specifically designated for conservation efforts, our program will continue to engage others in protecting and restoring the habitats throughout the Chesapeake watershed. Wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay are being lost at an alarming rate as a result of coastal development, rising sea levels, and damage from non-native species.

CBI helps restore and protect wetland habitats, increasing public awareness of watershed issues and providing watershed stewardship actions for citizen volunteers, youth, and community groups.

Rescued Loggerhead Hatchling

In the week leading up to Hurricane Sandy, our MARP team was surveying the north end of the Assateague Island National Seashore. They discovered a sea turtle nest that had been incubating in the sand since late July – this was the first confirmed viable sea turtle nest ever seen in the area. Considering the incoming high winds and waves from Sandy, our team excavated the nest and one live hatchling for incubation at our Animal Care Center. Our team was able to care for the hatchling and after six weeks, it was transported to North Carolina for release!

baby loggerhead turtle

Baby loggerhead turtle hatchling and egg.

Maryland Green Travel

We were so proud to be named the first attraction to become part of Maryland’s Green Travel program. This statewide program recognizes tourism businesses committed to reducing their environmental impact. The program encourages environmentally friendly practices in all aspects of the state’s tourism industry and promotes Maryland as a green destination for the eco-minded traveler.

Floating Wetlands

In late spring, National Aquarium staff joined its partners from the Waterfront Partnership Baltimore, Biohabitats, Living Classrooms Foundation, Blue Water Baltimore, and Irvine Nature Center to launch another 2,000 square feet of floating wetlands into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This project is part of the Healthy Harbor Initiative, a regional effort to make the harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020.

Wetlands installed in their new home

Wetlands installed in their new home.

40th Anniversary of Clean Water Act

This year marked the 40th anniversary of the federal Water Pollution Control Act – the nation’s first law for protecting our most precious, irreplaceable resource. Arguably, no environmental legislation has had as much of an influence on our daily lives and health. Thanks to the Clean Water Act, huge strides have been made to protect our health and the health of the environment.

Shoreline Restoration at Indian Head

ACT! spent most of June and October at the Naval Support Facility (NSF) Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex (Indian Head, MD). Volunteers planted 45,897 native wetland grasses along the Potomac River, restoring more than 4,000 feet of shoreline! The Aquarium has partnered with NSF Indian Head since 2008, restoring sections of shoreline each year.

Our Commitment to End Shark Finning

National Aquarium, along with our partners at the Humane Society, Oceana, and the National Wildlife Federation, has been a leading supporter of legislation in Maryland to hinder the market for shark fins by prohibiting their possession and sale. Similar to making the trade of elephant ivory illegal, such legislation would ensure that shark finning and unsustainable fishing practices are not tolerated. We hope that 2013 will see an international commitment to protect these amazing animals.

Our research team tags sharks off the coast of Ocean City every year to gather data on migration and abundance!

Our research team tags sharks off the coast of Ocean City every year to gather data on migration and abundance.

Menhaden – A Big Step Forward for Little Fish

Earlier this month, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission made history by voting to limit the catch of this crucial species of fish, the menhaden, by 20 percent. Commonly referred to as “the most important fish in the sea,” menhaden serves as a critical food source for much of the wildlife in the Atlantic’s marine ecosystems. By putting a catch limit on these fish, the ASMFC gave conservationists hope that enough fish can stay in the water to fulfill their ecological role.

Although it is important to take the time to celebrate 2012′s accomplishments, we know there is still much work to be done to preserve and protect our oceans and our planet. We hope you’ll join our efforts in the new year! To find out how to get involved, visit aqua.org/care.

Rock the Boat and Support the Chesapeake Bay TONIGHT!

Join our staff and volunteers on the USS Constellation tonight from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM for our 8th annual “Rock the Boat” fundraiser, supporting our Chesapeake Bay Initiative (CBI)!

the USS Constellation

With a $10 donation, guests are welcome on board to enjoy free tours, live music from local band Wolve, and great, sustainable food from local restaurants. Beer, wine, and soda will be available for purchase. Guests will also receive a glow in the dark mug with their donation. All proceeds support preservation and restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Tonight’s donations will help our CBI team purchase much-needed field equipment for upcoming habitat restoration projects! This event will be a great kick-off for our team who will be doing a week long tree planting  at Indian Head next week. Every year, our staff and volunteers plant a variety of Chesapeake Bay native wetland grasses, trees, and shrubs along the water’s edge to help stabilize the area, reduce the potential for erosion, and protect existing land while providing habitat for many animal species.

These funds will also help support a second habitat restoration project in March, stay tuned for details on how you can get involved!

This is a family-friendly event and all are welcome! No RSVP required; just make your $10 donation at the entrance to the ship. Come out and rock the boat for conservation!


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