Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reminder - Free Rain Gardens Seminar Tonight!

Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer will be the featured guest speaker at the next Maryland Coastal Bays Program Citizens Advisory Committee tonight at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on 3 Church Street in Berlin. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rain Gardens featured at MCBP Citizen's Advisory Committe Meeting

Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer will be the featured guest speaker at the next Maryland Coastal Bays Program Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, Jan 28 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on 3 Church Street in Berlin. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
A rain garden is a landscape technique that uses a strategically placed depression in the ground designed to capture runoff from hard surfaces such as rooftops, driveways and sidewalks.

A typical rain garden consists of native plants, loose soil, mulch, and sometimes gravel. Together, these elements collect, absorb, and clean runoff. The surface layer of mulch or gravel spreads water throughout the garden so that plant roots and soil mixture can absorb the water. As the runoff passes through the mixture, chemical and biological processes breakdown the pollutants before they can enter the bays.

Blazer has been the environmental engineer for the town of Ocean City for 10 years. Her education, training and enthusiasm for her profession have led her to promote and teach innovative methods to improve water quality and maintain the area’s natural beauty.

The CAC meeting will also include information about the Great American Backyard Bird Count coming Feb. 13 – 16. The annual four-day event is designed to get everyone involved in an effort to collect important information about birds for science and conservation.The Citizens Advisory Committee is comprised of recreational and commercial fishermen, developers, farmers, and other local business owners and citizens who meet monthly to discuss the goals and direction of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

Sunday's Sock Hop Cancelled

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sock Hop at 707 to raise money for MCBP

Break out your poodle skirt or blue suede shoes, and go back in time for a musical blast from the past to raise money for the Coastal Bays Program at the 707 Sports Bar and Grille Sock Hop on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and include a buffet, happy hour drink prices and entertainment by DJ Hey Mick. Twist and shout the night away to the sounds of Elvis Presley, Chuck Barry and Jerry Lee Lewis and at the same time help ensure the health of our bays.

Bill Rados, proprietor of 707, which also held a golf tournament to benefit the Coastal Bays Program last fall that raised more than $3,000, said he believes raising money to help keep our watershed clean is vital to us all.

“It is investment in the future,” Rados said. “If we don’t protect our natural resources and the beauty of this area, then we’ll all be out of business. The sock hop is a really fun way to do that. Everyone has a good time, and we can all give something to help protect the bays.”

The 707 Sports Bar & Grille is located at 12702 Old Bridge Road in West Ocean City. For tickets call 707 at 410 213-9507 or the Coastal Bays Program at 410-213-BAYS. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The 12th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count is Coming!

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event, this year scheduled for Feb. 13 - 16, that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds. We'll be adding updated 2009 GBBC materials as they become available.

Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they wish during the four-day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time. To report their counts, they fill out an online checklist at the Great Backyard Bird Count web site.As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported from their own towns or anywhere in the United States and Canada. They can also see how this year's numbers compare with those from previous years. Participants may also send in photographs of the birds they see. A selection of images is posted in the online photo gallery.In 2008, participants reported more than 9.8 million birds of 635 species. They submitted more than 85,000 checklists, an all-time record for the count.

Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.We need your help. Make sure the birds from your community are well represented in the count. It doesn't matter whether you report the 5 species coming to your backyard feeder or the 75 species you see during a day's outing to a wildlife refuge.

Your counts can help us answer many questions:
How will this winter's snow and cold temperatures influence bird populations?
Where are winter finches and other “irruptive” species that appear in large numbers during some years but not others?
How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?
Are any birds undergoing worrisome declines that point to the need for conservation attention?

Scientists use the counts, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to give us an immense picture of our winter birds. Each year that these data are collected makes them more meaningful and allows scientists to investigate far-reaching questions.

The above information comes from the Great Backyard Bird Count website at

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Save Money and Stay Warm this Winter

As the temperature drops and the economy continues to falter, it’s a good time to think about low cost and even no cost ways to save energy this winter. Individually, these changes may seem insignificant, but even small adjustments can make a big difference both economically and ecologically.
Before you turn up the thermostat, consider how well the heat you’re paying for is staying inside your home. Heat can escape through windows that are not properly sealed. A simple and inexpensive solution is to attach heavy-duty, clear plastic sheeting to the inside of your window frames. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows. Hanging insulating drapes or shades can also help keep heat inside.
At bedtime or while at work, lower your thermostat about 10 degrees and save about 10 percent annually on your heating bill. For a one-time cost as low as $35, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat that will automatically change the temperature based on your specifications.
A roaring fire is warm and cozy, but don’t forget to close the damper when it is not being used. Keeping the damper open when there is no fire in the fireplace is tantamount to opening a window allowing heat (and the dollars you pay for it) to go right up the chimney. Consider adding tempered glass doors to your fireplace and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room. If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
Another simple money saver is as easy as turning down the temperature on your water heater. Heating your water can account for up to 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home. Lowering the water temperature will also protect small children’s little hands from getting scalded.
Ok, these are just a few ways to help save energy, but there are numerous resources available on the internet designed to help lower fuel bills and also slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
For example, the U.S. Department of Energy recently launched the Stay Warm, Save Money campaign ( to help consumers be more energy efficient and thereby save on energy costs.
Another resource is, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The site is also designed to provide cost-saving ways to protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.
The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. These families save an average of $413 or more each year on their energy bills after their homes have been weatherized. Check their website to see if you qualify for assistance.
It’s cold out now, but in a few months we can enjoy the mild spring weather. Until then, live green and save some green.