view counter

Bernie Fowler’s 32nd Annual Patuxent River Wade-In

47-inch visibility is half-century record


photo by Patuxent Riverkeeper Fred Tutman

     “It was a wonderful day,” said 95-year-old Bernie Fowler of the most challenging Wade-In of his 32 years testing the water clarity of the Patuxent River. A nor’easter had set in with light rain, fog, 90 percent humidity and wind up to 20mph.

     “It was pouring down rain when we left the house. Still raining when we got down to Jefferson Patterson Park. Then all of a sudden it lightened up, and we had no more rain until after the wade-in,” Fowler said. “I’m wondering if Betty,” he added, referring to his late wife, “had any influence over that.”

     Still more remarkable in such weather was this year’s measurement of 47 inches, a half-century high in water clarity.

    “The wind was offshore at Patterson Park with no turbulence coming in,” Fowler said. 

     That was the good news. The bad news is his beloved river’s enduring D-level environmental health grade.

     “If I had taken a D home, my mother would have spanked my rear end,” the river champion said. “I’m not going to do any spanking, but I don’t want you to think I’m walking away happy.”