A Meaningful Watershed Education Experience Field Investigation in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

November 04, 2016 by Andrew

Do you like catching fish while enjoying a beautiful view of Baltimore’s cityscape and learning about restoration activities currently being implemented in the Inner Harbor?

On Friday, October 28th, I had the delight of accompanying Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Baltimore Lab School on CBF’s Snow Goose workboat for a journey down the Patapsco River. CBF’s Baltimore Harbor Program offers kids a unique opportunity to see Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from a different viewpoint. From observing mechanisms that pick up trash to trawling for secret critters that roam the seafloor, we encountered both pleasant and disturbing sites. Trip highlights included visiting an oyster reef beside Fort Carroll and pulling up clusters of shells that sheltered anenomes and other inhabiting macroinvertebrates. We spotted Mr. Trash Wheel who resides at the headwaters of the Inner Harbor and collects incoming debris from the Jones Falls River upstream. There are plans for another wheel to be built that will further increase the capacity to remove trash from the Harbor.

The last activity we did was collect a bottom sample to see what other critters might be present. We were surprised to catch not a single organism… Instead, we brought up a pile of soft and slick black mud that had accumulated oil. The concept of a green filter and gray funnel put everything into perspective and reminds us how activities on land directly impact fish and plant life across ecosystems. It takes a watershed-wide effort to implement best management practices for restoring threatened ecosystems and ensuring a viable habitat for years to come. Is it out of the question that we will one day experience a swimmable Inner Harbor? We can begin by taking action in our own backyards and local streams, picking up litter and pet waste, planting more trees, and engaging communities in this life-long effort.

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