Earlier this year, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation released its State of the Bay report, and the results were welcome news. Each of the three indicator categories evaluated—pollution, habitat and fisheries—improved, and the blue crab population in particular grew significantly.
Though the report on the health of the Bay was positive, there’s always work to be done to ensure this progress continues. At the National Aquarium, we’re dedicated to restoring the health of the Bay. The following conservation field events are just a few ways we’re doing just that!
Fort McHenry Field Days
On the same site that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner, we’re inspiring conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures through our biannual Fort McHenry Field Days! Every spring and fall, the National Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) organizes and hosts cleanups at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. ACT! members and volunteers work together to remove debris, restore habitat for wildlife and maintain trails on the site. Nearly 600,000 pieces of debris have been collected through our organized cleanups since 1999!
Helping to improve the health of valuable green spaces, such as Fort McHenry, is key to improving the health of the Bay, which means preserving habitat for birds, box turtles, diamondback terrapins, blue crabs, fish and other aquatic animals.
Partnerships with National Park Conservation Association, National Park Service, Maryland Port Administration and Steinweg Baltimore make Fort McHenry Field Days possible!
Wetland Plantings at Masonville Cove
Along the shoreline of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River that connects the Baltimore communities of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay is Masonville Cove. The National Aquarium is involved in environmental restoration efforts at Masonville Cove, including native wetland grass plantings.
By creating valuable aquatic habitat in Baltimore, we’re creating foraging ground for local fish species and providing nesting habitat for shorebirds that live in the Chesapeake Bay.
Masonville Cove is the nation’s first Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, which is a partnership of the Maryland Port Administration, Living Classrooms Foundation, Maryland Environmental Service, Masonville Cove, National Aquarium and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Atlantic White Cedar Restoration at Nassawango Creek Preserve
Atlantic white cedars are evergreen trees found in a small portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and though they were once plentiful in the region, they’re now considered a rare species in Maryland. The National Aquarium hosts planting events in the Nassawango Creek Preserve to help restore Maryland’s Atlantic white cedar habitat. At our most recent planting event, our field conservation team worked with students and community volunteers to plant 5,500 Atlantic white cedar trees in the preserve.
Ecologically, Atlantic white cedars are an incredibly beneficial plant species for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They provide habitat to a wide and diverse variety of wildlife and act as a sponge to prevent flooding.
The National Aquarium has partnered with the Nature Conversancy for the past eight years to plant more than 25,000 Atlantic white cedar trees at Nassawango Creek Preserve.
Learn more about how you can get involved in our upcoming conservation events and help protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay!