Letters to the Editor

Vol. 8, No. 41
Oct. 12-18, 2000
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Trading the Bay for Green Lawns

Dear Bay Weekly:

While reading Bill Button's comments regarding the decline of the Chesapeake's aquatic life ("Sad Reflections on the State of the Bay," Vol. VIII, No. 39: Sept. 28-Oct. 4), I had a few thoughts I would like to share. As a child, I fished and crabbed the South River. At that time, the early 1970s, the region had abundant sea grass. I can remember pulling a net through the grass and scooping up an array of sea life with one swoop. My net filled with eels, shrimp, fish, minnows, crabs and more. Now, nearly all the grass is gone. So are the resident critters and increasingly so the aquatic life that feeds on them.

It is clear to me that while over-fishing is injuring an over-stressed ecosystem, it is not the root cause of the problem. I would like to suggest something I have long believed to be an overlooked cause of the decline of grass populations in the Chesapeake. I am convinced that the tens of thousands of tons of lawn fertilizers (especially the weed-killing type) Marylanders spread on their lawns yearly are literally killing our Bay.

Why is farm run-off a problem, while large volumes of high-nitrate lawn fertilizers mixed with herbicides are never mentioned? Many people who fertilize their lawns follow the philosophy that "more is better." This only contributes to excessive run-off and the resulting nitrification of the Bay and its tributaries.

Is having a lawn with a more uniform shade of green really worth the destruction of the Bay and its ecosystems?

I do not consider myself an environmentalist; however, I have seen first-hand before and after our impact the liquid desert we call the Chesapeake. We need to stop the decline before we lose an irreplaceable resource.

-Jerry Ballman, Glen Burnie

Help Offered Deale-Shady Side Seniors

Dear Bay Weekly:

The Alliance for Rural Business has actively opposed the Safeway Strip Mall because we are convinced that it is bad environmentally for Rockhold Creek and bad economically for Deale.

The "Deale Marketplace" talks of bringing Deale a bakery, flowers, cards, deli, pharmacy and dry cleaners, plus video shop, restaurant and hair salon. We already have all of these within one block of the proposed strip mall. And our stores are locally owned, run by friends and neighbors who live here. Many would not survive the arrival of this strip mall.

However, we have heard the concerns of several citizens at the meetings over the last several months that they cannot get various items without driving to Edgewater.

As a community organization, we will help any senior citizen or disabled resident in the Deale-Shady Side Small Area with transportation or delivery at no charge, giving priority to medically related needs. Write to us at P.O. Box 275, Deale, MD 20751, and give us the details.

-Mark Hackett and Ann Wolfe, Directors: Alliance for Rural Business

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly