January 2018
In This Issue
MCBP Receives CFES Grant!
The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES) awarded MCBP a $1,500 grant to enhance our website and digital communications. Look forward to a better website in early 2018! 
Maryland Farm Bureau Convention
MCBP Executive Director, Frank Piorko, attended the Annual Maryland Farm Bureau Convention in December.  The three-day convention featured presentations, awards, elections and discussions to educate members on Farm Bureau activities and the agricultural industry. 
Maryland Water Monitoring Council Conference
MCBP scientists were able to attend the 23rd Annual Maryland Water Monitoring Council Conference in December. T he conference was chock-full of presentations regarding stream restoration, our changing climate, and citizen science.
Education Corner
Tis the season for classroom lessons! Our Education team headed to Worcester Preparatory School mid-December to discuss the health of the Coastal Bays and the importance of crabs and horseshoe crabs to our local watershed. Thank you to Ms. MacWha and all her 6th graders for their energy and intelligence with our invasive crab game!
Snowy Owl Arrival!
Seals are not the only exciting visitor we see this time of year, our snowy owls are back! So if you're visiting Assateague this winter, keep your eyes open as you may be lucky enough to see one of our wintery visitors. Here's a link to a video from Worcester County. And remember, these guys need their space. So if you see one and it becomes agitated or starts making movements, you are too close.  
Check Out Our Calendar!  
Want to know what's happening in your Coastal Bays?  Check out our calendar  here.
Interested in volunteering?  Check out our list of 
volunteer events here! 
Recent Articles

2016 Report Card
The 2016 Report Card is now available!

Overall, the Coastal Bays received a grade of a C+, with no change in grade from 2015. Improvements in Assawoman, Isle of Wight, and Sinepuxent Bays were offset by declines in Chincoteague and Newport Bays, while the St. Martin River remained stable. Click on the Report Card to find out what specific issues and improvements are going on in the  Coastal Bays !

Thank you to all of our volunteers, partners, and supporters who showed up to our Report Card release! Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary, Mark Belton, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Dr. William Dennison, and MCBP Executive Director, Frank Piorko unveiled the 2016 Report Card. We would like to specifically thank the Marlin Club Crew of Ocean City for donating $1,000 to MCBP. 

2016 Gold Star Awards
Thank you and congratulations to our Gold Star Partners!

Our Gold Star Partnerships for 2016 were awarded to the Town of Ocean City, the Ocean City Reef Foundation, Audubon Maryland-DC (pictured), Worcester County Master Gardeners, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science for all of their great work in the Coastal Bays watershed.  To learn more about our Gold Star partners, check out our 2016 Report Card !
Seal Safety
Keep seals safe, give them their space!

We are excited to have 63 volunteers trained for this year's Seal Steward program. Although we are in our sixth year of this outreach program, this season's first haul out presented many challenges, including multiple dangerous human interactions - from petting, to allowing dogs to interact with the seal, to folks actually picking up the seal and tossing it into the water! Thankfully, no one was bitten by this stressed and exhausted animal, likely due to a serious jaw injury. Unfortunately, the seal kept hauling out and eventually washed up deceased.

There were witnesses that saw the seal several times and were upset that it was not taken into rehab due to the injury. However, the seal was still very active and by the time first responders arrived at the scene to assess the animal, it had already retreated into the water due to human interaction.

This seal was safely observed and photographed by  Judy Lubeski. 
Seals are federally protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Under this law it is illegal to harass, harm, or disturb a seal's natural behaviors. If a seal lifts its head to look at you, you are already too close. Should you spot a hauled-out seal, stay at least 150 feet away and call the stranding hotline at 410-373-0083 or the Ocean City Police Department at 410-723-6610.

These agencies reach out to the Seal Steward program so stewards can keep a watchful eye on a resting seal. This protects not only the seal, but also those beach and dog walkers that are unaware that our winter visitors bite and can carry some contagious viruses.
Bay Day at Ocean Pines
Save the Date! 

Join the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Ocean Pines Association for a day of fun, hands-on activities and educational talks about how watershed residents can make a difference right in their own backyards.  From bay-friendly backyard guidance to educational exhibits, this day is sure to entertain!  
This event launches a collaborative campaign to encourage residents to accept the challenge of improving the health of the local St. Martin River.  Mark your calendars for the OP Bay Day on Sunday, May 20, 2018 from 11:30-3:30.
| Maryland Coastal Bays Program | | kphillips@mdcoastalbays.org
8219 Stephen Decatur Highway
Berlin, MD 21811