Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mattawoman Creek Maryland's Most Polluted?

Hey, Maryland and Virginia Sierra Club Members, not to mention any friends I have at American Rivers! Here's the skinny right from the horse's (That'd be the Sierra Club) mouth:

Dear Members of the Maryland Sierra Club,

Spring and summer are in the air! As temperatures reached in the 90's this weekend I'm sure all of us thought about our favorite spot by the water. Everyone has that special creek where the water is refreshing and the swimming and fishing are perfect. Unfortunately, one of those gems that is a favorite to many Maryland residents is in jeopardy.

Mattawoman Creek, one of the most productive tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay is in danger. Charles County officials have requested permits to construct a four lane, 6.5 mile highway, the Cross County Connector - extension, that would plow across the full width of the sensitive Mattawoman Creek watershed.

Where do things stand?

Before the highway can be built, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) must decide by June 1st whether or not to issue a permit. According to the Southern Maryland Newspaper, MDE has "indicated that they are prepared to deny the permit." (

Mattawoman Creek is so threatened by this road, that it has been recognized by American Rivers as the FOURTH MOST ENDANGERED RIVER IN THE COUNTRY!

WE as a state can stand up for Mattawoman Creek and urge MDE to deny a permit to build the Cross County Connector. If Maryland is for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, let's be sure not to pollute one of the remaining healthy tributaries.

ACT NOW: Please, email Secretary Shari Wilson today at (or call 410-537-3084) and share this message (in your own words is best):

Subject: Deny wetland permits for the Cross County Connector extension. Save Mattawoman Creek.

"Please deny permits for the proposed Cross County Connector extension in Charles County which threatens the Mattawoman Creek. The Mattawoman Creek is the healthiest fish nursery in the Chesapeake Bay because it is protected by surrounding forests and wetlands. This highway proposal would destroy the Mattawoman Creek by increasing traffic, development, and pavement in its watershed. Finally, if transportation is really needed, let's build smarter, with public transportation like a light rail link to Waldorf.

"Your name

Your address (especially town and zip code!)

Be sure to give your town and zip code when writing!

The Secretary needs to understand both the breadth of concern (if you are nonlocal) and the depth of local opposition (if you are local).

So that we can keep track of the amount of pressure MDE is getting on this issue, PLEASE LET US KNOW WHEN YOU CALL OR EMAIL MDE. Hopefully, come June 1st we'll all have something to celebrate! Please see below opportunities to join us at Mattawoman Creek for a canoe trip, hike, or invasive plant removal to see with your own eyes just how wonderful a place it is. Hope to see you at the creek!

Alana Wase
Conservation Program Coordinator

***Want to do more?
Visit this site:,0,3072403.story , print out the newspaper article and mail in a copy to Governor O'Malley (Office of the Governor, State House, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401) with the same message, urging that Maryland deliver its promise on cleaning up the Bay and therefore, DENYING a permit to destroy non-tidal wetlands.

***Want to see the Mattawoman Creek for yourself? Join us at one of these upcoming outings: Mattawoman Creek Canoe/Kayak Trip Saturday May 2nd at 9am to attend, you MUST RSVP for more details visit:

Chapman Forest Invasive Removal Sunday May 3rd at 10am

Mattawoman Wildland Family Walk Saturday May 16th at 1pm, you MUST RSVP for more details visit:

***For more information about the Mattawoman Watershed:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are Factory Farms the cause of disease?

From the Daily Green, environmental news:

Swine Flu, Factory Pig Farms, and the Pandemic waiting to happen.

Hmm. Makes plenty of sense to me, nevermind the horrible environmental impact of Factory Farming, and not to mention the terrible mistreatment the animals suffer in such an environment. Factory Farms in the USA are not a pretty picture, I cannot imagine what they are like in Mexico, where horse slaughter means a man with a knife stabs the animal repeatedly until he manages (miraculously!) to severe its spine and paralyze it.

Factory Farming is just evil. And that's all I have to say about it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What is Maryland without Blue Crabs?

According to a WalletPop blog report, Blue Crabs are disappearing from Maryland.

Seems like the estimated population has dropped some 70% in the past twenty years. I'm with all the commenters though who wonder exactly how a census on crabs his done. Do we wrangle a potful and ask'em "Hey guys, tell us where your buddies are and how many you have, and we'll set you free!" According to the DNR "The survey is based upon a scientifically peer-reviewed design, and provides precise estimates each year of the number of crabs over-wintering in the Bay." Sers'ly? How do you KNOW it's precise?

I know, I'm being overly sarcastic and cynical. I'm just in that sort of mood. Check out these exerpts from the DNR report and you'll understand why I'm irked:

"Despite the low 2007 harvest and a persistently low crab population, the 2007 exploitation rate substantially exceeded the target removal rate. A bay-wide target removal rate has been set at 46%. In 2007 crabbers removed approximately 60% of the available crabs."

"In 2007, reproduction was extremely poor, placing the resource and the fishery in an increasingly perilous position. When the abundance of these adult crabs is low, the population and the fishery are heavily dependent upon annual reproduction."

And yet, said Fisheries reaction to such news seems to be a knee-jerk "Wow, the crab are on their way out, we'd better scoop'em all up before they're gone!" sort of attitude.

From the DNR page it sounds like they have a good plan in place for limiting harvesting, especially of female crabs...except that they make no mention of how they intend to ENFORCE these limitations.

Well, heres hoping I can check the DNR website this year and see some results! But all the crab-harvesting restrictions in the world won't help if we can't curb habitat loss and pollution!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Water Conservation in the news

Yesterday I noticed that half of the news stories on my news ticker widget involved water conservation, so I thought I might highlight those on this wonderful Earth Day!
Here are some of the headlines:

New Mexico: Water Authority Rewards Conservation
California: California Launches $4 Million Water Conservation Push
California: Pittsburg Approves Water Conservation Plan

I did my part to conserve water yesterday, too. I sat the water buckets out in the rain to fill. I didn't fill them up by any means, but collected several inches of water overall, and am confident that I conserved at least a couple of gallons of water, which saves A) the water itself, and B) the electricity needed to run the pump. So go me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In your face, Sarah Palin!

While Palin was campaigning in Indiana last week, so was Defenders of Wildlife. Thanks to donations from Defenders supporters, they were able to run ads exposing Palin's brutal wolf slaughter record, including 240 wolves killed already this season, and plans to implement gas and snares to kill denning wolves and pups.
So thanks, Defenders supporters, for helping to run this hard-hitting ad campaign against Palin's anti-wolf agenda.

Facebook Fairy Garden Update: I harvested my first vitual flower and helped secure 2 square feet of endangered rainforest!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Facebook App helps save rainforest!

Ever wish you could just sit around and play silly games, and magically save the planet at the same time? Now, thanks to Facebook's 'Fairyland' application, you can! Check out this update from the Fairyland News page:

Rainforest Protection News!
Saturday March 7th
As you know, whilst having fun in Fairyland, every plant you grow and harvest also makes a small contribution to real-world rainforest conservation (which is the "sq ft" of rainforest protected you see whenever you harvest a plant.)Every 2 months, we total this up across all Gardens and make an equivalent donation to the Nature Conservancy's "Adopt An Acre" programme, which works to protect rainforests around the world (more details here if you're intersted in learning more.)In January/February, the Fairy Gardens harvested enough plants to help protect another 2,866,068 sq ft (about 66 acres) of rainforest which equates to a further donation of $3,300 to the programme. This brings our total donations to date to $10,700 (or 214 acres of rainforest protected!)The money to make this donation comes from our advertisers and from Gold purchases. For total transparency, we make our donation through the Causes application on Facebook (view our Causes page right here.)
Thanks for supporting both Fairyland and our planet!

Talk about fabulous. Now you can play, have fun, connect with your friends and help a cause all at the same time. Finally, social networking lives up to its potential! I have to say, I avoided getting a Facebook page for a long time, but now I'm kinda liking it. I talk to my sister more than ever, I get great links to other causes, and Facebook provides you with easy applications for sharing websites and petitions. Not to mention all those fun, silly, pointless surveys. All in all, kinda awesome. So come visit me on Facebook, and water my garden for me if I forget! The more virtual flowers we grow, the more real life rainforest we can save.
You can find me on Facebook by my email, . Friend me, and lets save some rainforest together!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's the Crocodile's turn!

First Coyotes, now Crocodiles, what next, Coati?
The American Crocodile is now considered such a threat to the pet population in South Florida that the LA Times has picked up the story. Maybe that's because people who live in the California foothills know what it's like to have their poodle eaten by a coyote, or a mountain lion, or say, an 11-foot crocodile.

Well, buddy. Keep your poodle on a leash. The crocodiles were there first.

I love how they didn't even get the name of the story right, check it out. It says 'alligator population on the rise', not Crocodile. Brilliant. Genius!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Petitions out the wazoo

I get half a dozen of them in my mailbox on a good day. They are petitions from countless conservation organizations, and I try to share as many as I can with you. Just in case you don't get them on your own!
Here are the ones I've signed so far today:

Reinstate Moritorium on Drilling the Outer Continental Shelf

Help Save the Grand Canyon

Support Historic Bill to End Canada's Commercial Seal Hunt

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Coyote 'problem' in Colorado

Coyotes seem to be the whipping boy of suburbanites these days.
Greenwood Village, a suburb of Denver, has hired a contractor to monitor its coyotes and shoot them if 'necessary.'
Nicole Rosmarino, wildlife program director of WildEarth Guardians doesn't approve of this approach, and neither do I. The trapper/shooter/tracker in question, Jay Stewart seems to be annoyed that people are trying to chase the coyotes away, meanwhile past efforts made by the city to control the coyote population have included trapping....which means that someone had to BAIT the coyotes into the traps. Baited traps can only lead to more opportunistic coyotes in the area. Placing signs around coyote denning sites to keep people away is a good way to keep the people from getting hurt, but it's basically enabling the coyotes. By giving them their space, the village is actually encouraging them to take root and move on in.
"Scientists tell us the best way to address problems with coyotes is to enforce leash laws and wildlife feeding ordinances and reinstill a wariness of humans in them," Rosmarino said.
So basically, don't blame the coyotes for your problem. Blame yourselves. Click Here to read WildEarth Guardians take on the 'problem.'