Volume 12, Issue 20 ~ May 13-19, 2004
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Chesapeake Outdoors
by C.D. Dollar

Lend a Hand to Help a Friend — the Bay

The old saw if you want something done right, you should do it yourself has application to restoring one of the world’s greatest resources.

If you’d tired of dead water, irritated at the scarcity of local hard crabs as well as prices so high only the area’s noveau riche can afford them … yet you still have the optimism to envision what a healthy Bay could be like if the pollution pipe were turned down, think about spending a weekend lending a hand.

There are several public and private groups in our area offering fun and effective ways to help make the water cleaner, the fisheries healthier and the underwater grasses, oysters and other natural filters more abundant.

Want to fish while helping out? Then DNR’s yellow perch study to assess the location of yellow perch in the Severn River — where 650 yellow perch were tagged and released during 2003 and 2004 — during the summer months might be the ticket.

The Fisheries Service is asking anglers who catch tagged yellow perch from the Severn River to report their catches and the number printed on the tag. (Call 410-643-6785 or email rlukacovic@dnr.state.md.us.) Bear in mind that all parts of the Severn, Magothy, West and South rivers are closed to the harvest of yellow perch. You’ll receive a DNR hat and knowledge you’re providing good data for a troubled fish for your efforts.

Private organizations working to protect the state’s fisheries include the Coastal Conservation Association (www.ccamd.org) and Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association (www.mssa.net).

A non-profit group, CCA works mainly through the legislative and regulatory process to conserve and enhance coastal fishes for recreational anglers, but to their credit is increasingly becoming more involved in habitat restoration as well.

MSSA, which calls itself the “voice of the recreational fishermen,” also lobbies and informs legislators on fisheries issues — the Freedom to Fish Act and the Flush Tax being two of its priorities this session. The group also educates the fishing public and works to restore fish habitat. Members and partners built and placed concrete reef balls, mini habitats, on the state’s Memorial Stadium oyster reef in the upper Bay.

Local watershed champion South River Federation (410-295-5122) offers numerous opportunities to clean up this embattled river. Stream cleanups, building natural buffers to curb shoreline erosion and oyster-reef plantings are some of the good work these folks do.

The oldest and most influential of the Bay saving groups is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Whether you have a little or a lot of time, you can help make a difference for the Bay. Volunteer opportunities are available online at www.cbf.org/volunteer.

So give a day for the Bay; it’s good for you, too.

Fish Are Biting
By most accounts, it’s been a banner year for trophy rockfish, with charter and recreational boats getting limits of healthy and robust spring-run stripers.

Last week, an Associated Press story told of the reemergence of the snakehead, after a bass angler caught the 12-inch fish in the Potomac River near Mount Vernon. In 2002, this foreign eating machine received worldwide attention after it was found in a Crofton pond. State biologists poisoned the pond and two others to stop the spread of this walking fish that has no natural predators in the U.S. They recovered more than 1,000 juveniles and six adult fish.

Hey wildlife hobbyists, do us a favor: Keep your silly exotic pets out of our waters. We’ve got enough problems to fix.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last updated May 13, 2004 @ 1:30am.