Volume 13, Issue 41 ~ October 13 - October 19, 2005


Big Ideas on the Bay, Part II

For all that’s changing in Chesapeake culture, it seems our best ideas still come from our connection to the water.

Over the two weeks of the U.S. Sail and Powerboat Shows in Annapolis, we devote much of Bay Weekly to just such links. Again this year, we’re tickled by how many good stories there are to write about people who make their living off the water in ways that give us good times while conserving — or adding new dimensions — to our culture.

By good times, we mean smart solutions that sustain the quality of life in Chesapeake Country and that bring us pleasure here and now.

Could it just be that smart ideas are born on the water?

Last week, we celebrated the creative entrepreneurship behind the boat shows, a pride of the Annapolis region. The extravaganza continues from Thursday to Sunday this week as some 500 powerboats — from classic runabouts to gaudy yachts, in fine woods to molded plastics, from thousands of dollars to millions in value — show us how water makes wealth in Chesapeake Country.

This week, we shift to the local level with one story about a potentially Bay-saving idea and another about one of the Bay’s many charterboat captains, who have figured out how to make a living doing what they love.

The Bay-saving idea takes you deep in Calvert County to Chesapeake Ranch Estates. There, in the county’s largest community, civic-minded people have borrowed the technology of bivalve entrepreneur Richard Pelz to clean up their recreational lake.

Pelz, of St. Mary’s County, has demonstrated how to raise disease-free oysters suspended in floats in the water. As they grow and breathe, they perform magic by filtering toxins, bacteria and other impurities out of the water.

In Calvert County, they’re trying clams in hopes of giving Lake Lariat a living water purification system. The Lake Lariat Clam Project is forging ahead in this experiment with the appropriate permits of government but with none of government’s money.

If it works, we just may have a new solution for cleaning up our troubled waters. If it doesn’t work, well, that’s how science evolves.

Meanwhile, Randy Dean who fishes out of Rod ’n’ Reel in Chesapeake Beach, is a prototype of the modern waterman who is succeeding by using a business-smart financial model to realize everybody’s dream of quitting their day job to do something they love.

The story by Russ Barnes, a novice fisherman, is also about a day of pleasure on the Bay. You’ve read about the dead zones, ailing rockfish and disappearing menhaden. Well, forget the woes and grab a pole.

Watermen tell us that the drought has been great for water quality (and clarity) thanks to little or no runoff during all of September and much of August.

Keeper rockfish and bluefish are growing more plentiful by the day and will continue to flourish this fall as the uncommonly warm water drops a few degrees each week and the fish travel in bigger schools.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.