Last days of Chesapeake Bay Paddle 2021, plus the Chesapeake Conservancy. Learn about the Oyster Recovery Partnership, and meet Goldman Environmental Prizewinner, Peruvian Liz Chicaje!
Last Days of 2021 Chesapeake Bay Paddle, The Chesapeake Conservancy, Oyster Recovery Partnership, Goldman Climate Champ Liz Chicaje!
THE GREAT CHESAPEAKE BAY PADDLE
What the heck is the Chesapeake Bay Paddle? The Chesapeake Bay Paddle is a staged relay adventure for SUPs, kayaks and canoes (both single and multi-person) covering all 200+ miles of the Chesapeake Bay from Havre de Grace, MD to the Atlantic Ocean, over 8 days.
The event will benefit Chesapeake Conservancy’s efforts to designate the Chesapeake Bay as a National Park and Oyster Recovery Partnership’s work to plant 10 billion oysters in the Bay. No, It’s a journey to challenge one’s physical and mental endurance on one of the most spectacular, diverse and scenic bodies of water on the planet.
On a 14’ paddle board?
Whose wild idea was this?
Glad you asked that question. Chris Hopkinson. He wanted to create a unique way to support both the Oyster Recovery Partnership. On September 26, 2020, Hopkinson arrived at his destination, and became the 1st person to stand up paddle board the entire length of the Chesapeake Bay. And he raised $190K for Oyster Recovery Partnership.
Says Hopkinson of his 9-day trek, “It was an unforgettable experience. I was in some of the most spectacular and remote parts of the Bay, areas most boats can’t get to because of the depth. I felt like an explorer navigating uncharted territory.”
This year, it’s bigger and badder than ever. Nine teams have signed up. Money raised will help two organizations now, the Oyster Recovery Partnership and the Chesapeake Conservancy.
It’s too late to sign up, but not too late to donate. The event started on a Friday (August 27th) and is scheduled to finish on a Friday (September 3rd). Paddle on over to www.theclimate.org/episodes and click on the link at the bottom of the transcript for this story to find out more.
DEEPER DIVE: Bay Paddle
THE CHESAPEAKE CONSERVANCY
Thanks to your story, we found out about the Chesapeake Conservancy. You know, Sediment and nutrient pollution, development, infrastructure expansion, climate change and limited public access threaten the unique ecological, scenic, recreational, and cultural resources of the Chesapeake.
So, the Chesapeake Conservancy was created to protect it. It’s a non-profit organization based in Annapolis, Maryland, that calls itself a team of conservation entrepreneurs. The Conservancy believes the Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure that should be accessible for everyone and is a place where wildlife can thrive. They use technology to enhance the pace and quality of conservation, and help build parks, trails and public access sites.
Through its partnerships with the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Chesapeake Conservancy has helped create 153 new public access sites and permanently protect some of the Bay’s special places like Werowocomoco, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, and Fort Monroe National Monument.
The organization sponsors webcams around the bay, and some of their programs and initiatives include the Land and Conservation Fund, the Delaware Open Space Program and the Pennsylvania Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.
OYSTER RECOVERY PARTNERSHIP
Their headline says it all: Everyone benefits from a healthy Chesapeake Bay. Poor water quality and declining habitats can be reversed. Oysters are the answer. This is really cool. I’d heard a lot about a group up in New York City that was working with a STEM school to reclaim the oyster beds in the Hudson River, but not about this one, closer to home.
The Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) is the nonprofit expert in Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration. We’re restoring the Bay’s native oyster population by building sanctuary reefs, rebuilding public fishery reefs, supporting the aquaculture (oyster farming) industry, recycling oyster shell, and getting the public involved through hands-on volunteering and events. Since our founding in 1994, and with the support of major partners like the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Lab, ORP has planted more than 8.5 billion oysters on 2,500 acres of reef and recycled more than 200,000 bushels of shell!
How do they do it and why does it matter to us? A single, healthy adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day! Imagine the impact of billions of new oysters on the Bay’s health.
GOLDMAN ENVIRO PRIZEWINNER, PERUVIAN LIZ CHICAJE
In January of 2018, as a result of the efforts of another GOLDMAN ENVIRO PRIZEwinner Liz Chicaje Churay and her partners, the Peruvian government created Yaguas National Park. Comparable in size to Yellowstone National Park (2.1 million acres), the new park protects more than two million acres of Amazon rainforest in the northeastern region of Loreto. Its creation is a key step in conserving the country’s biodiversity—safeguarding thousands of rare and unique wildlife species and conserving carbon-rich peatlands—and protecting Indigenous peoples.
Yaguas National Park is home to some 3,000 species of plants, more than 500 species of birds and 550 species of fish. Liz Chicaje is a member of the Bora indigenous community which lives just outside what is now Yaguas National Park, in the north-eastern Loreto region of Peru, near the border with Colombia.
38-year-old Chicaje was nominated for the award along with Benjamín Rodríguez, a leader from the Huitoto indigenous group, who died last year from complications after contracting the coronavirus.