For the past 26 years the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) has conducted a watershed study for Calvert County Government. The water quality survey was initiated due to the rapid growth in marinas and residential dwellings in the county.
Originally called the Solomons Harbor Water Quality Study, the probe was renamed the Mill Creek Water Quality Study and this year was listed on the county commissioners’ April 15 agenda as the “Tidal Creeks Water Quality Study.”
The study has expanded a few times in its history to include three, and later six creeks draining into the Lower Patuxent River; and in 2011 three additional creeks on the Chesapeake Bay side of the county were added.
The CBL’s proposal calls for the monitoring of Mill Creek from mid-May to mid-September, while the monitoring of the other 10 creeks takes place in June, July and August.
During this year’s report to the county commissioners, the CBL’s Dr. Walter Boynton announced he is passing his title of lead investigator on to his colleague Dr. Lora Harris.
In summarizing the CBL’s report, Calvert County Department of Community Planning and Building Principal Environmental Planner Dr. David Brownlee stated, “the most important water quality parameters—chlorophyll-a and oxygen—in the Mill Creek system appears to be negative but the degradation rate is slow.”
Boynton presented a series of charts showing the data culled from the months of monitoring and along the way offered some optimistic news.
He noted that while Maryland waterway locations saw a spike in non-cholera vibrio in 2013, it was “not so in Calvert.” The county reported no cases of the scourge, which Boynton described as “limb-threatening and life-threatening.”
Boynton also commended the Southern Maryland Oyster Cultivation (SMOC) project participants for their work in oyster reef restoration, calling the project “a very positive effort. I give this effort high grades.”
When Commissioner Susan Shaw [R] asked why Calvert wasn’t given credit by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in the Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) for the oyster reef restoration work, Brownlee stated that the project has been submitted and “the state’s looking into it.”
In addition to co