June is World Oceans Month! Since 2008, the UN has officially recognized June 8th as World Oceans Day and a variety of events are held throughout the world during the month. The ocean provides us with many resources and services including oxygen, climate regulation, food, medicine, and much more. World Ocean celebrations also provide an opportunity to take personal and community action to conserve the ocean and its resources. This year the theme is “Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.”
EYC will celebrate World Oceans Month with the kickoff of our 2018 Clean Regatta season, an ocean-themed Family Fun Day, the start of our Water Quality Monitoring Junior Sailing educational initiative, preparations for placement of “baby oysters” in the Severn River reef, and a celebration of the oceans with seafood specials and a presentation by ocean sailor Matt Rutherford.
The Clean Regatta season begins with the Leukemia Cup & Party on June 2, followed by the Latitude Adjustment Party and the start of the A2B Race on June 7-8. Volunteers are needed to serve as “Green Ambassadors” to help educate folks about recycling and composting. We plan to achieve gold-level clean regatta certification from Sailors for the Sea for both these major events. Regatta organizers are helping ensure we meet best practices like recycling, composting and reusable water bottles/cups.
At the A2B reception, the Green Team set up an exhibit on Plastics in the Ocean and actions sailors can take while at sea to help address the problem. In addition, a special reusable mug has been designed for the Latitude Adjustment Party on June 7!
Educating our youth is critical to saving our oceans and bay. The Environmental Committee is very pleased that both the Family Committee and the Junior Sailing Program are building environmental awareness into their programs.
On June 9, the Family Committee is sponsoring a Family Fun Day to celebrate World Oceans Month with the theme of Finding Nemo, Dory and their friends. There will be several interesting and fun educational activities.
The Summer Junior Sailing Program begins June 18 and as we did last summer, the Junior Sailors will help us monitor the water quality at EYC with support from the EYC Foundation and the Spa Creek Conservancy.
Restoring oysters in the Bay is a very important component of EYC’s environmental efforts. Last fall, we installed oyster spat covered shells in cages on the marina dock and also replenished our permanent oyster wave wall. The “baby oysters” in the cages survived the winter and are doing well. We are preparing to place the spat covered oyster shells in the Severn River Oyster Reef in early July. Students participating in the Junior Sailing STEM Program will us with the installation of the baby oysters in their new home.
Lastly, we will have a special celebration of World Oceans Month on Friday, June 15. Our new chef will be preparing several seafood specials highlighting invasive species and sustainable fishery concerns.
We will also have a special presentation by renowned ocean sailor Matt Rutherford, Director, Ocean Research Project, AT 7:30 that evening. Matt made the first solo circumnavigation of the Americas and several ocean crossings. He will share his experiences and his concerns about humanity’s negative impact on the ocean – especially plastic pollution.
April was a busy month for the Environmental Committee with our ongoing activities, a major workshop on Annapolis local waters and an exciting Earth Day event. In May and June, the committee will be ensuring that we are prepared for a “Clean Regatta” season, initiating our water quality monitoring effort and placing our ‘baby oysters’ from their cages into their new home in the Severn River.
On April 6, EYC hosted a day-long workshop entitled “Annapolis Area Waters – Building a Bay Stewardship Partnership with support from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Back Creek Conservancy and the EYC Foundation. Thirty-eight individuals from 24 organizations participated in the workshop including leaders from the Back Creek and Spa Creek Conservancies, the Severn River Association, the three Riverkeeper organizations, city and county officials, the three major yacht clubs and experts from NOAA Chesapeake Bay Program, Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative, Chesapeake Conservancy and Chesapeake Commons.
EYC Commodore Ed Wells welcomed the participants and Mayor Gavin Buckley provided opening remarks.The morning session focused on presentations by the local organizations on their programs and future plans. The afternoon session featured panel discussions on four issue areas: Water Quality, Oyster Habitat, Living Shorelines/Bay Grasses and Pollution Abatement.
The workshop concluded with a plenary discussion of follow-up actions and next steps. Collaborative partnership projects were identified for each issue area and at a more general planning level (e.g. establishing a joint Geographic Information System (GIS) workgroup and providing input to the City Council, County Council and state legislature regarding environmental priorities).For more information about the workshop and proposed collaborative partnership projects, the proceedings will be available on the website.
To celebrate Earth Day, the Environmental Committee hosted the premiere of the Living Oceans Foundation latest film, “Global Reef Expedition: The Indian Ocean” on Sunday, April 22. At the event, Phil Renaud, the Foundation’s Executive Director and EYC Environmental Committee Co-Chair, explained the phenomenon known as “coral bleaching” which is happening more frequently due to global warming.
Phil was on-scene in the British Indian Oceans Territory when a mass-bleaching event started. His film team captured the event from start to finish in high definition video. The audience had a unique opportunity to learn how climate change is taking a toll on the coral reefs of the world and what can be done about it.
Stay tuned for the Environmental Committee’s upcoming activities in May and June and get involved. Learn how to use our new water quality monitoring equipment, help us put our baby oysters in their new home or volunteer to be a “Green Ambassador” at our EYC “Clean Regattas”.
Over the winter the Environmental Committee has been continuing its education and outreach efforts. Our 2018 lecture series was kicked off with a wonderful lecture on Climate Change on January 31st by Dr. Donald Boesch, former President, University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Studies, followed by a lecture on the National Marine Protected Areas Network by Lauren Wenzel, Director, NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center on February 28th.
The March lecture will focus on the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s Waters. Our speaker is Benjamin Grumbles, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment. Be sure not to miss this important lecture by the head of our state’s environmental programs and a key leader in Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection efforts on March 28th!In addition to increasing environmental awareness, the committee has also been working to facilitate a dialogue on important environmental issues without taking a position.
On February 6th, the committee hosted a Welcome Reception for Harbormasters from Chatham, MA and Newport, RI. We were very pleased to have with us Mayor Gavin Buckley, Alderman Ross Arnett and Annapolis Harbormaster, Beth Bellis. Commodore Ed Wells welcomed our special guests to the club and the Mayor welcomed everyone to Annapolis. The harbormasters were in town to meet with maritime business owners, the Annapolis Environmental Commission (Diane Butler, Chair) and the Maritime Advisory Board (Tarry Lomax, Chair) to share their experience with No Discharge Zones.The three Harbormasters joined the Environmental Committee for our February meeting to discuss No-Discharge Zones.
A “No-Discharge Zone” (NDZ) or area is a designated body of water that prohibits the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage. Federal Law prohibits the discharge of untreated sewage from vessels within all navigable waters of the U.S. which include territorial seas within three miles of shore. Unfortunately, marine sanitation devices do not adequately remove nutrients and some bacteria from sewage. Most cruising areas in New England are NDZ’s (see map).
The Chatham and Newport Harbormasters are the Presidents of their respective state associations - Cape Cod & Massachusetts Islands Harbormasters Association and Rhode Island Harbormasters Association. They strongly believe in the value of NDZs and thought that designation of Annapolis and adjoining Anne Arundel County waters as EPA designated NDZs would be beneficial to our community (boaters, watermen and residents). Mayor Gavin Buckley and County Executive Steve Schuh are hoping to achieve such designation.
Looking to the future, the Committee Co-Chairs gave a presentation of the Environmental Committee’s Action Plan to The EYC Executive Board on February 15th. Phil Renaud summarized the key initiatives: Clean Regattas/Clean Club, Education/Outreach and Alternative Energy/Energy Efficiency. The plan was well received and the committee was commended for its efforts. There was a brief discussion of the committee’s efforts to garner support for a collaborative partnership initiative with Back Creek Conservancy, Spa Creek Conservancy and The Severn River Association. The value of such community outreach efforts was noted.
The Environmental Committee welcomed the onset of spring with a special lecture on the health of the Chesapeake Bay by Ben Grumbles, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment on March 28th. Ben is currently the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council Principals Staff, which is the federal/multi-state governing board for the restoration and protection of the Bay. Prior to his appointment by Governor Hogan, he held several national environmental leadership positions including President of the U.S. Water Alliance and Assistant Administrator for Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The lecture provided an opportunity for club members to become better informed about bay clean up efforts and how they can help - just in time for the boating season!
To address some of the key stewardship issues in our area of the bay, the EYC Environmental Committee is hosting a workshop on “Building a Bay Stewardship Partnership in Annapolis Local Waters” on April 6th. Key organizations in the area that will be participating in the workshop include: Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis Environmental Commission, Severn River Association, Spa Creek Conservancy and Back Creek Conservancy. Mayor Gavin Buckley will be providing the Opening Remarks for the workshop.
The purpose of the workshop is twofold: 1. to share information on the goals & objectives of partner organizations in the area and 2. to develop a plan to further collaborative efforts toward shared goals & objectives.
During the months of April and May, the Environmental Committee will be preparing for our 2018 Clean Regatta Season, continuing our Clean Club Efforts, addressing opportunities to make the club more energy efficient and increasing awareness of environmental issues.
On Earth Day, April 22, the Environmental Committee will host the U.S. premier of a special film “Global Reef Expedition: The Indian Ocean” produced by the Living Oceans Foundation. The film documents for the first time coral bleaching in a pristine coral reef. Visually seeing this phenomenon, which is due to excessively warm ocean waters, makes you believe in global warming!
After the film we will discuss the challenge of saving our oceans from reducing our carbon footprint to ending plastic pollution (this year’s Earth Day theme).
Stay tuned for additional events in June when we celebrate World Ocean Day.
The EYC Environmental Committee (aka, the Green Team) is excited about expanding the club’s green (and blue) initiatives in our first full year of being a standing committee. The Green Team meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6pm. Our committee always welcomes new members so please feel free to drop in on our monthly meeting. You don’t need special skills to join, however, we’re seeking an EYC member who has energy efficiency experience so that we can draft a plan for improving our club’s energy efficiency.
The Green Team focuses on three major categories:
- Clean Regattas & Clean Club
- Environmental Education & Community Outreach
- Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
Water Quality Monitoring: This year, we will be applying for a grant to help us establish a more formal water quality program for routine testing of water quality in EYC’s marina. When you realize how many club members and junior sailors spend time in the water, it’s important to ensure the water is always safe to swim in. Our marina water quality has been quite good but all water quality in the Bay region declines after a hard rain. Anne Arundel County recommends that you avoid swimming for 48 hours after a rainfall of one half inch or more.
We will be presenting interesting environmental talks on the fourth Wednesday of February and March as part of our winter lecture series. Stay tuned for details!