IN BRIEF

Southern Maryland News Briefs

Sunday, April 5, 2009

NRC to Hold Open House On Calvert Cliffs Safety

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting an open house Tuesday to discuss the safety record of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby. The session will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express in Solomons.

Residents will be able to speak with NRC staffers about safety and other concerns. Information about the plant's safety record is available at http://www.nrc.gov.

Chesapeake Bay, Rivers Graded in Health Report

The Chesapeake Bay was recently given a C-minus for water quality, aquatic life and ecological conditions because it showed no significant improvements from 2007 to last year. The rating was given by scientists from the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science and others.

Fifteen areas along the bay received grades ranging from B-minus to F. The highest was given to Maryland's Upper Western Shore; the lowest went to the Lower Western Shore, near Annapolis.

The Patuxent and Severn rivers were also graded. The Patuxent received a D-minus; the Severn, a C-minus.

For information about the 2008 Chesapeake Bay Health Report Card, including regional data and downloadable graphics, visit http://www.eco-check.org/reportcard/chesapeake.

Patuxent River Group Awarded for Oyster Work

The Patuxent River chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland recently received the Joe Penfold Memorial Award from the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association for its oyster restoration project.

Last year, chapter members planted 64,000 oysters in two creeks feeding the Patuxent River. In its Hellen Creek project, the chapter worked with 27 homeowners in placing oysters in floats from their piers.

The chapter also planted 31,000 oysters in floats at the Thomas Creek oyster farm as part of a research project with Virginia Commonwealth University. After planting the oysters in March, volunteers flipped floats every three weeks during the summer to kill algae.

"Chapter members devoted more than 660 volunteer hours to oyster restoration in 2008," said Scott McGuire, president of the chapter. "While we understand that our efforts will not restore the bay's oyster population, we are doing our part in our local area. Plus, we are helping people see the value of these bivalves. A single adult oyster can filter and cleanse up to 50 gallons of water a day."

The chapter will expand its restoration program this summer with support from a $25,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources. Dominion operates the Cove Point liquefied natural gas facility in Lusby.

Calvert Library Branch Gets New Computers

The Calvert County Library's Southern Branch has installed four new desktop computers. The purchase was made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and matching funds, which together totaled $13,000.

The library sponsored several fundraising efforts to raise the matching funds. Local photographer Bill Conway donated two of his prints for a raffle, and students at Patuxent Elementary School held a penny drive that raised $100.

Residents Urged to Join Tree-Planting Initiative

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) launched a tree-planting program last week as part of a statewide initiative to involve Maryland residents in creating a more sustainable future.

Under Marylanders Plant Trees, state agencies hope to plant 1 million trees by 2011, and residents are asked to plant 50,000 by 2010.

The program is part of the Smart, Green and Growing initiative.

"Forests are our most strategically important natural resource," said John Griffin, secretary of the state Department of Natural Resources. "In addition to protecting water quality, cleaning our air and providing wildlife habitat, one large tree can eliminate 5,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from our beloved Chesapeake Bay each year. Well-placed trees can also help reduce energy costs for citizens by 15 to 35 percent."

To encourage residents to participate, the state is offering $25 discount coupons for the purchase of native trees that cost $50 or more. For information, visit http://www.trees.maryland.gov.


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