“If you are lucky enough to live on the water, you are lucky enough.” How many times have you heard or read this and thought: Yes, that’s right! We in Ocean Pines are that lucky. The St. Martin’s River and our surrounding bays are a gift and likely the primary reason most of us chose to live here. Even if you don’t go out on the water often, you know its there to enjoy any time you like. But how long will it be enjoyable if we fail to take care of it and continuously work to improve it?
Maryland Coastal Bays just issued its 2013 Coastal Bays Report Card. Once again, the St. Martin’s river “achieved” the lowest grade, a D+. Some of the river’s issues emanate from agricultural runoff but residential communities located near the river (and bays) must acknowledge their culpability as well. Each of us can do more to help improve the quality of our most-valued resource. Over the years since its inception, Green Street has provided any number of suggestions to Ocean Pines homeowners, such as: planting native plant gardens, reducing fertilizer use, setting up rain-barrels, picking up pet waste, minimizing impervious surfaces by using pavers/gravel in lieu of asphalt or concrete, making sure ditches are cleaned out and not dug too deep, being careful to use eco-friendly cleaning products when washing cars and boats; and the list goes on.
The Environment & Natural Assets Advisory Committee urges OP residents to read the Coastal Bays Report Card (available on line at: mdcoastalbays.org or at the library in hard copy). It provides a wealth of information on what nutrients are overloading our waterways and the damage they can cause to sea grasses and wildlife. If a D+ is acceptable for the water where you crab, fish, water-ski, paddleboard, etc., then don’t bother to read the report or to consider actions you might take to improve the river’s grade. However, we should all remember that these waters contribute not only to our quality of life but also to the monetary value of our homes. Surely, everyone is interested in this!
OP Environment & Natural Assets Advisory Committee