August 1, 2017: The summer has been a busy time for the Environmental Committee with clean regattas, a water quality monitoring effort and an oyster initiative underway. The team has also developed an Action Plan for 2017-2020 based on input from members during the lecture/film series and discussions over the last several months.
The plan outlines goals, success criteria and tasks for our three key focus areas: 1. Clean Regattas & Clean Club, 2. Environmental Education & Community Outreach and 3. Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency. This living document will guide our efforts over the next few years.
Our EYC 2017 Clean Regatta Season is off to a great start with the gold-level Leukemia Cup in June and two gold-level certified regattas in July: the Chesapeake Challenge Stand-Up Paddleboard Race and the Boomerang Race. Our next clean regatta will be the Boatyard Bar & Grill Regatta to Benefit CRAB on August 19th.
At all our clean regattas this year, we have had high school students helping us “man” our eco-stations to ensure a trash-free regatta. The students also share information about our environmental efforts and receive service credits for serving as volunteers.
The 2017 Boomerang Race was especially “green” this year. The keynote speaker at the award ceremony was Benjamin Grumbles, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment. He joined us for the event to recognize EYC’s clean regatta efforts and. in his comments, he noted that “EYC” was the “Environmental Yacht Club” of the Bay.
Working with the Junior Sailing Program, the Environmental Committee has arranged for the students to participate in a summer-long water quality monitoring effort at the EYC marina. Utilizing secchi disks and test kits from the EYCF STEM Ecosystem Module, the students are now measuring various parameters such as water clarity, pH and nutrient levels every week. In addition, working with the Spa Creek Conservancy and Anne Arundel Community College, the students are also analyzing other parameters like dissolved oxygen levels, conductivity and even bacteria levels.
By the end of the summer, we will have some very useful information that we can compare to data collected in Spa Creek and on the Severn River. The data collected so far reaffirms that we have a great environmentally safe location for our sailors, kayakers and paddleboarders.
Another important initiative of the Environmental Committee is a multi-faceted effort to encourage the growth of oysters in our marina. Working with the Marina Committee we will be initiating an effort to place oyster spat on the existing “living” wave attenuation breakwater which is under the docks around the perimeter of the marina. The wave wall is actually a series of stacked concrete slabs that create shelving areas for oysters to be grown. As the oysters grow they will further attenuate the wave action in the marina and also help clean our marina water. Stay tuned.