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October 1, 2017: The fall is a busy sailing season and the beginning of the oyster season. The Environmental Committee has been working hard to make our major September and October sailing regattas gold-level Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas including the Annapolis Labor Day Regatta and the SAP I-505 World Champi-onship.

We have also been developing and implementing a major oyster initiative to build a multi-class oyster reef under our marina docks and grow baby oysters for local conservation efforts.

Oyster team IMG 0289Oysters, oysters and more oysters! On September 8 six volunteer divers with landside support volunteers installed 52 oyster spat-covered concrete triangles on the EYC wave wall shelves under A and C docks (see August VFB for background). From the 2011-2012 pilot project, we know the oyster spat will grow into mature oysters in our marina which helps attenuate wave action in the marina and cleans the water! We even found several previously installed triangles covered with healthy mature oysters doing their job.

Oyster wave wall install A dock IMG 0229Phil Renaud w mature oysters IMG 0287On October 1st, working with the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program and Severn River Association we will further expand our efforts by installing oyster cages under the finger piers on Dock A. The cages are filled with oyster shells seeded with spat. Over the winter and spring the oysters will grow and then be placed on the oyster reef sanctuary in the Severn River.

To learn more about the Environmental Committee and key issues in the Bay join us for our monthly lecture series beginning in October. Our first lecture will be on Oysters at EYC October 31 at 7 p.m.!

September 1, 2017:  In September, the Environmental Committee will focus on the upcoming EYC Clean Regattas, our water quality monitoring program and an oyster restoration initiative. If you care about the Bay, join us in our efforts! We generally meet the third Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at EYC.

Bay water quality is important to all of us. This summer, EYC Junior Sailing Program students monitored key parameters in our marina like water clarity, nutrients and pH utilizing the EYC Foundation’s water quality monitoring module. In addition, beginning in mid-July, we began to measure other parameters like salinity, dissolved oxygen and bacteria in a collaborative effort with Spa Creek Conservancy and Anne Arundel Community College.

Fortunately, the data show that our water quality is relatively good and our bacteria levels are low. Nan Walker. Junior Fleet Program Manager and Kevin Haigis, Spa Creek Conservancy will present the results of the summer monitoring program at EYC and in Spa Creek on August 31st.

UnderwaterOysterReefDid you know that EYC has a living wave wall? This is a unique structure – perhaps the only one in the state of Maryland. When our marina was renovated, a wave attenuation breakwater was constructed around the marina. It’s made of stacked square shelves placed underwater all around the inside of the marina wall. These shelves hold triangular concrete blocks seeded with baby oysters (called “spat”).

concrete triangle w oysters 2 image004In 2011-2012, about 80 triangles seeded with oysters were placed on the shelves as a test and the oysters grew! Now, we just need to fill up more of these shelves and the Green Team is up to the task. Our friends at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) have come to the rescue and are presently seeding a batch of triangles with spat – for free! Thank you, CBF. They value our efforts to build a living wave wall and want to see the project succeed.

Recently, EYC was visited by the Maryland Secretary of the Environment (Mr. Ben Grumbles) and he was impressed with our oyster wall. He said that EYC will now be recognized as the “Environmental Yacht Club!”

Do you want to be involved? Meet the Green Team at EYC at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 8, and you can help put the new oyster filled triangles in the wave wall. Bring work gloves. For those of you sporty enough to get in the water, bring your snorkeling gear.

Additionally, the Green Team is working with the EYC Board to get a “green light” to grow oysters in cages through the Marylanders Grow Oysters program to help build a Severn River oyster sanctuary. Go oysters!

GreenCanJuly2017webThe Environmental Committee officially kicked off the Clean Regatta Season on Saturday, June 3, when Commodore Ersts and the EYC Clean Regatta Team raised the new Sailors for the Sea Flag before the start of the Leukemia Cup (see photo).

The 25th Anniversary of the Leukemia Cup was a great success with 92 boats participating and an all-time record of $350,000 raised. The Rock the Dock Party that followed the race was attended by over 400 people.

Both on and off the water all participants were encouraged to meet a variety of best practices to ensure that the event was a clean regatta. The Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions and educational materials provided in the skipper’s bags and on site at EYC promoted clean regatta efforts. Participants were encouraged to use refillable water bottles and water refill stations were located on site for the event.

At the party, EYC Green Team members and volunteer high school students manned eco stations to encourage proper disposal of plates, utensils and food waste in the compost bins and plastic cups, glass bottles and cans in the recycle bins. As a result no waste went into a landfill site, it was either recycled or composted. A special thanks to our Green Ambassadors for making this a successful Gold-Level Clean Regatta.

To celebrate World Oceans month, the Environmental Committee held a special ocean evening on June 14. The Living Oceans Foundation screened their latest film, An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch to an enthusiastic group of club members and guests. Following the film, the audience had a chance to discuss over-fishing issues with both Phil Renaud (EYC member and Exec Director of the Living Oceans Foundation) and Alison Barrat (the film Director).

The film was co-produced with the Smithsonian Channel and is now being broadcast nation-wide. Without improved fisheries management, there is a real risk of a monumental collapse of world-wide fisheries in approximately 30 years from now. This film tackled a complex topic and made it clear that action must be taken now to prevent a food-security catastrophe in the not-too-distant future.

Looking to the future, the Environmental Committee has drafted an Action Plan intended to provide structure and set priorities for the Green Team’s activities and programs. The Action Plan supports the committee’s mission “To promote Eastport Yacht Club’s environmental and Bay stewardship efforts.” This draft plan details actions that will help EYC achieve various goals aligned to the Green Team’s three key initiatives: 1) Clean Regattas & Clean Club, 2) Environmental Education & Community Outreach, and 3) Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency.

We have been encouraged with EYC members’ enthusiasm and interest in “greening” our club and taking good care of our surrounding waters. The Action Plan has plenty of volunteer opportunities for all club members to participate in. As time goes on, we will keep you all informed about our various programs and activities.

PR VT BG with students at BR DSC 0271 WEBAugust 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.

June 1, 2017:June 8th is officially World Oceans Day and throughout June communities around the world are sponsoring special events to recognize and care for our oceans see www.worldoceansday.org.

The theme this year is “Our Oceans, Our Future” and the focus is preventing plastic pollution and cleaning-up marine litter.

Please help us in our efforts to take care of our beautiful bay and the world’s oceans this month and throughout the year. Think refillable water bottles, recycling, non-toxic boat cleaners and no-discharge overboard!

Join the Environmental Committee and work on a range of initiatives from alternative energy, clean regattas/clean club to environmental education. You can also volunteer to be a Green Ambassador at our EYC events and ensure that we are clean, green and responsible.

With the boating season fully underway, we are now working “full speed ahead” to ensure that our 2017 major regattas are certified as gold-level Clean Regattas by Sailors for the Seas, the organization that certified the last America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race - Newport Stopover and many of the regattas held here at EYC.

Sailors for the Sea says this: “One part education, two parts activation, the program unites and mobilizes sailors by offering support and resources to help conserve and protect the ocean.” The 2017 Leukemia Cup & Rock the Dock Party on June 3rd will be our first major clean regatta of the season. Please help us make it a Gold-Level Clean Regatta! To volunteer go to eastportyc.org/team-eyc.

To celebrate World Oceans Day and Ocean Month, the Environmental Committee will sponsor a special showing of the film “An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch” on Wednesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. Following the film, Captain Phil Renaud, Executive Director, Living Oceans Foundation, will moderate a discussion of ocean issues.

Produced by the Living Oceans Foundation and the Smithsonian Channel, the film investigates one of the most important stories of our time: how close are we to a global crash in fish populations? Narrated by actor and ocean advocate Ted Danson, this award-winning film features the groundbreaking research of renowned fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly as he calculates how much seafood has been caught since the dawn of industrial fishing.

The award-winning film “An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch” dives into the most ambitious fishing investigation ever conducted to discover the shocking impact of overfishing. For more information go to www.livingoceansfoundation.org/outreach/films/an-ocean-mystery.

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