Search Results for 'Cove Point'

Conservation Site Update: Dominion Cove Point LNG

The Aquarium Conservation Team visited Dominion Cove Point LNG in Lusby, MD, in February. Though it has only been a couple of months, the American beachgrass planted by several hundred local students and volunteers is already showing great progress! Despite a harsh winter and several large storms, the grasses are holding strong and will continue to grow larger and greener throughout the summer months. As they grow, their roots will work to stabilize the new shoreline, which was created from the beneficial use of dredge material.

Cove Point in February 2011

Cove Point before, during February's planting

Cove Point Two Months Later

Cove Point after two months of growing time


 The second stage of the community-based planting of this shoreline took place from May 11-14, when nearly 300 students and volunteers helped plant an additional 40,000 wetland grasses. Stay tuned for further updates…next time we post photos of this site, February’s dune grasses will be tall and lush, and the muddy intertidal marsh area will be filled with native grasses, as well!

Advertisements

Volunteer Spotlight: Laura Cattell

We are pleased to welcome Laura Cattell to the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!). As the second Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer to be placed with the National Aquarium, Laura will help plan and lead community and student volunteer watershed restoration projects.

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps is a career apprenticeship program funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Young adult volunteers are placed with environmental nonprofits for one-year terms of service. Through regular training and hands-on leadership opportunities, volunteers gain valuable experience and knowledge.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Laura traveled to Virginia to study environmental science in college. After graduating in 2009, she worked for two years with the Maryland Park Service’s Conservation Corps. In this capacity, she assisted at ACT! events at Indian Head Naval Support Facility, Nassawango Creek Preserve, Fort McHenry National Monument, Dominion Cove Point LNG, Poplar Island, and Farring-Baybrook Park.

Laura

Laura found a caddisfly on a leaf

In her first two months, Laura has helped construct a new wetland nursery pond, designed a butterfly garden, monitored recent restoration sites, and assisted at several community wetland restoration events. She says her favorite projects are the hands-on outdoor activities, but it’s also been interesting to learn about the behind-the-scenes components of large conservation events.

Laura is pleased to join the Aquarium’s conservation efforts and eager to learn more about watershed restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay!

A busy season for field work!

Thanks to the generous help of 642 volunteers and students, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) was able to make a positive impact throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed in the spring and summer of 2011! Three large-scale wetland restoration events took us from Southern Maryland to the Eastern Shore, and each site offered unique surroundings and experiences.

In early May, we revisited Dominion Cove Point LNG to plant the low marsh area of a shoreline recently built with the beneficial use of dredged material. Super-high tides and deep mud couldn’t keep our dedicated volunteers away, as they worked to plant more than 42,000 grasses!

This project in Lusby, MD, was designed to reinforce the Bay shoreline and protect a nearby freshwater wetland – a delicate, rare habitat that was threatened by storm surge and salt-water intrusion.

Our next event took the Conservation Team to the shores of the Potomac River at Naval Support Facility Indian Head. The base is threatened by heavy erosion and the Navy is in the process of rebuilding and reinforcing the entire shoreline. The National Aquarium is helping to lend a hand…or hundreds!

Volunteers helped us plant a 5.7-acre section of shoreline with 700 native riparian trees and 13,689 wetland grasses. Even the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy stopped by to plant a few trees!

Last, but certainly not least, ACT! traveled to Maryland’s Eastern Shore to take part in the ongoing restoration of Poplar Island. This Chesapeake Bay island was once the site of several homes and hunting lodges, but over many decades it eroded away –
from more than 1,000 acres to fewer than 10.

The Maryland Port Administration saw the opportunity to rebuild this valuable habitat area. With the collaboration of many hard-working partners and the use of dredged material, it is nearly restored to its original 1,400-acre footprint. The National Aquarium has taken part in volunteer planting events on Poplar Island since 2005, and this past June we worked with community members and student groups to plant 35,000 high marsh grasses. Students also toured the island and released year-old diamondback terrapins as part of their Terrapins in the Classroom project!

We’d like to thank all of our volunteers for a busy and successful spring and look forward to our upcoming fall events! Please contact conserve@aqua.org if you are interested in volunteering with the Aquarium Conservation Team.

Animal Rescue Update: Cold-Stunned Turtles Released!

national aquarium Animal Rescue Update

On June 21st, the National Aquarium and the National Marine Life Center jointly released sea turtles from this year’s cold-stun season!

Throughout their stay with the National Aquarium, each of the turtles we released had a different reason for being in rehabilitation, and a different path to recovery.

Let’s take a closer look at Maverick, Charlie, and Tombstone:

Maverick was one of the season’s first Kemp’s ridley patients in November 2013.  He was a cold-stun off of the New Jersey coastline.  Upon arrival here in Baltimore, our husbandry and veterinary staff put Maverick on antibiotics and monitored a shell fracture that we found under all of the algae on his carapace (top part of the shell).

Maverick

Maverick being released yesterday!

After just a couple months, the fracture was starting to stabilize and rejoin at the base of the carapace.  At an entry weight of 1.04kg, we are proud to say that Maverick has put on weight and is currently 2.58kg, eating about 38g of capelin, blue crabs, squid, and shrimp per day.

Charlie, also a Kemp’s ridley, was one of the more intensive cases for our team this year. During his initial exams here in Baltimore, we discovered a small mass near Charlie’s heart. At the time we found the mass, Charlie had also begun to refuse food, and became increasingly lethargic. Husbandry and Veterinary staff put all of their effort into finding out why this mass had developed and how to treat it.

Charlie

Charlie making his way to the water during yesterday’s release!

We started an innovative form of baby aspirin therapy, and the mass started to decrease in size. Earlier this month, our vet staff cleared Charlie for release. We could not be more proud of how far he has come!

Tombstone, who joined our ranks from Cape Cod, presented an interesting housing situation for our team. Tombstone started his rehabilitation with two other pool-mates, and staff noticed that he would float at the surface of the water, another turtle would take the midline of water, and the third would rest and eat along the bottom.  To ensure that the turtles are able to forage and swim properly out in the wild, we didn’t want to further encourage floating at the surface, so we transferred Tombstone to a separate pool by himself.

Tombstone

Tombstone being released at Point Lookout State Park!

Between battling the current and chasing food, he finally learned to dive to the bottom and look more comfortable in the water, exhibiting more normal behaviors!

Stay tuned for more updates on our remaining sea turtle patients! 

national aquarium animal rescue expert

On Thin Ice: An In-Depth Look at Endangered Species

With overflowing landfills, the use of harmful chemicals in agriculture and a reliance on unsustainable energy sources, among other factors, the human population’s carbon footprint is ever-expanding. From melting polar ice caps to ocean acidification, the environmental impact is becoming increasingly evident.

The implications of a species disappearing reach far beyond the loss of a single organism. Extinction occurs when the last individual of a species dies, and the disappearance of just one plant or animal can have a cascading effect on an ecosystem.

Leveraging Legislation

On December 28, 1973, Congress passed a monumental piece of legislation—the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the ESA was enacted to protect and restore populations threatened with extinction and their critical habitats.

More than 1,500 species are currently recognized as threatened or endangered by the ESA. The ESA prevents the “take” of those listed species from their habitat and limits trade and poaching of endangered species.

The ESA is a federal law, but it has the benefit of trickling down to state level. States, in many cases, create additional legislation to further the protection of species deemed to be endangered or threatened within their state boundaries.

Simple Changes

Too often the focus of the conversation of endangered species is the harm humans have on the environment. More important, however, is that simple behavioral changes can go a long way toward caring for and reviving the natural world.

Take palm oil.

This vegetable oil, a substitute for the partially hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats, can be found in everything from cereals and canned soups to baby formula and cosmetics. Through everyday purchases, many of us may be perpetuating the destruction of a habitat that boasts some of the greatest species diversity on Earth.

Palm oil plantations are popping up across Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries at the expense of tropical forests. The many species that depend on these forests, including endangered orangutans, face extreme peril.

orangutan

Something as simple as checking the ingredients before purchase could help save a species thousands of miles away.

A Global Connection

A healthy habitat is one of the most important factors when it comes to protecting endangered species. Under the ESA, regions can be designated as “critical habitat,” or areas essential to the survival of a species, but here is where it gets tricky.

Labeling an area critical habitat does not necessarily prevent the further development of that land. Essentially, the designation serves as a reminder to federal agencies to take extra precautions, even to modify projects, in order to minimize harm to these vital natural spaces.

From the water we drink to the air we breathe, humans rely on healthy ecosystems, and every species contained in an ecosystem plays an integral role in the success of that network.

A Proactive Approach

Not every species will be as lucky as the gray wolf, but it is not all doom and gloom. The diamondback terrapin, for example, though never listed as an endangered species in Maryland, has a history of exploitation.

diamondback terrapin

In the 19th century, terrapins were considered a delicacy and hunted for their use in stews. The demand for the terrapin, combined with other factors, caused their numbers to drop dangerously low.

Recognizing the risk, Maryland passed a law in 2007 ending the commercial harvest of terrapins in state waters. And while it is too soon to quantify the impact, alleviating pressure on a struggling population is a step in the right direction.

Bald eagles, American alligators, the Virginia northern flying squirrel, grizzly bears—there have been numerous success stories. In the best circumstances, a species will be “de-listed” from the ESA, meaning the population recovers to a point where it no longer requires protection under the law.

Do Your Part

Here are a few ways to show you care about the world’s endangered species, no matter where you live:

  1. Be a conscious consumer – Purchase products that are organic, locally grown or sustainably sourced.
  2. Back legislation that impacts the environment – Every comment counts, so if there is an issue you support, call or write a letter to your representative. Learn more about the National Aquarium’s legislative priorities at aqua.org/legislation.
  3. Contribute to a conservation organization – Provide financial support if you can. If you don’t have money to give, donate your time! Visit aqua.org/care to learn about opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  4. Start in your own backyard – Planting native plants in your garden will attract native wildlife, including invaluable pollinators that help to preserve the natural environment.
  5. Reduce, reuse, recycle –  Join our 48 Days of Blue movement and learn how simple actions can make a big difference in protecting our natural world!

Next Page »


Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates