The Port Tobacco Eagles Have Hatched Their First Eaglet!

Photo of nest showing eaglet and two eggs

The Port Tobacco eagles, Chandler and Hope, have hatched their first eaglet! The eggs were laid on January 31, February 3, and February 5, so we hope the other two eggs will hatch in the next few days. Watch the nest live at wildstreaming.com.

This nest is located in Charles County, Maryland next to the Port Tobacco River at Port Tobacco River Park. It has successfully fledged two eaglets for the last two years. The Port Tobacco River Park Bald Eagle Nest is a wild eagle nest. Please know that there are scenarios that some viewers may find difficult to watch. Interactions with other wildlife, sibling rivalry, and weather can affect the eggs or eaglets. While we hope for a successful season, remember, anything could happen.

Straws publicity photo

STRAWS – PLASTIC POLLUTION IN OUR WATERWAY

Straws publicity photo

March 6 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Port Tobacco Courthouse
8430 Commerce Street
Port Tobacco, MD 20677

Join us for a 30 minute powerful documentary about plastic straws and other forms of plastic pollution that inundate our waterways and oceans. The film illustrates how individuals, groups, and businesses around the globe are reducing plastic straw use through education, collaboration, policy development and utilization of non-plastic alternatives. With colorful opening animation narrated by Oscar winner Tim Robbins, STRAWS is entertaining as well as educational.

This is a joint program hosted by Southern Maryland Audubon Society and the Port Tobacco River Conservancy.  The event will also feature our local Ocean Guardian students from J.C. Parks Elementary, further emphasizing the harm plastics are causing to our environment. Information about our recent Charles County ban on plastic straws will also be made available. Light refreshments and mingling start at 7 p.m. Public invited. Free event. Inquiries to Lynne Wheeler at somdaudubon@yahoo.com or 301-751-8097 (prefer text).

Invasive Plant Control at Chapel Point State Park

Volunteers removing Invasive Plants

Join us Sunday, November 25, at Chapel Point State Park, 8160 Pisces Rd., Port Tobacco MD 20677, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a new invasive plant control program focusing on English ivy and Japanese honeysuckle. Invasive plants compete for nutrients and space with native plants that provide food and habitat for wildlife.

After entering the park go left where the road forks and park in front of the gate. We will meet you on the other side with bags, gloves, and trowels. Feel free to bring your own favorite tools.

Come out to enjoy the park and help make our river more beautiful.

Love the Eagle Cam? Join Us on November 15

Two eagles on nest

The eagles must love it too — here they are on their nest Sunday morning in Port Tobacco River Park. If all goes well we will be able to watch them through their upcoming breeding season. They successfully raised two chicks in each of the last two seasons! You can watch the nest at wildstreaming.com

Join the Port Tobacco River Conservancy and Southern Maryland Audubon Society on Thursday, November 15, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at a public program for everyone who wants to learn about the new eagle cam, and especially for anyone who wants to volunteer to be a nest monitor.

Chris Eberly, Director of the Bird Conservation Partnership, will explain why nest monitoring is important and describe the statewide eagle nest monitoring program he leads.

John Snow, Charles County Chief of Parks, will tell us about the support the County is providing for the project.

Ryan Abrahamsen, President of Terrain360, who installed the eagle cam, will describe how it works and how we can capture, record, and post the thrilling events in the life cycle of the nesting eagles during the coming months.

And Lynne Wheeler, President of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society, will explain how you can be a monitor and help capture the moments that will make the eagle cam a wonderful educational experience for everyone in Charles County and beyond.

The program will be held at the Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse, 8430 Commerce St, Port Tobacco MD 20677. Complimentary light refreshments, beer, wine, and soft drinks will be served. The program is free and open to the public.

Is There a Solution for Failing Septic Systems in the Port Tobacco Watershed?

Join us Thursday, March 15, for a public program on funding sources such as the Bay Restoration Fund that may be available to address failing septic systems in the Port Tobacco River watershed. The program will feature speakers from the Charles County Office of Planning and Growth Management, the Town of La Plata, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Port Tobacco River Conservancy conducted surface and groundwater studies several years ago, http://porttobaccoriver.org/about-the-port-tobacco-river/surface-and-ground-water-study/ Sampling and analysis of soil sediment cores, groundwater, pore water and surface water showed how septic contaminants in groundwater could move through soil layers, discharge to intermittent streams in ravines, and be transported to the Port Tobacco River. These contaminants included enterococci bacteria, nitrates, ammonium and organic wastewater compounds. Soil conditions in many areas are such that septic pumping and nitrogen removal retrofits are not long-term solutions. Many of these communities are not near sewer mains, so homeowners in those communities cannot take advantage of current programs to connect individual homes to existing sewers.

The program will take place on Thursday, March 15, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse, 8430 Commerce St, Port Tobacco MD 20677. The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

PTRC Supports Legislation to Restrict the Sale of Foam Food Packaging

Trash at Chapel Point State Park

Every year, the Port Tobacco River Conservancy hosts a Potomac River Cleanup at Chapel Point State Park. This year’s cleanup is Saturday, April 14, and is a great opportunity for volunteers to make a difference in the community. Every year, foam packaging makes up a substantial portion of the trash we collect.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food packaging is a major component of the litter recovered during stream cleanups throughout Maryland’s waterways. Unlike other forms of packaging, EPS foam is impossible to fully clean up once it is thrown away. It is a petroleum-based product that does not biodegrade. Instead, it crumbles and breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces each time it is touched or disturbed. Once in the water, it will absorb 10 times more pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals than other kinds of plastic, increasing toxin exposure to fish and other aquatic animals, and potentially making its way into the food chain. It is not capable of being recycled in an environmentally effective or economically feasible manner.

PTRC supports a bill that has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly to restrict the sale and use of EPS foam packaging in Maryland. Beginning January 1, 2019, HB 538 and SB 651 would prohibit food service businesses and institutions from serving food in EPS foam packaging (cups, plates, clamshells). The bill would also prohibit the retail sale of these products in the state. Grace periods for using up existing stock and state outreach programs would help businesses through the transition.

A 2017 study of retailers of varying sizes in Washington, D.C., after similar legislation was passed in 2016, found that retailers were able to offer other types of packaging at a comparable price, and did not experience ill effects due to the legislation.

Now is the time to encourage our legislators to reduce trash and litter pollution in our neighborhood streets, communities, and waterways, including the many Charles County streams, creeks, and rivers that flow to the Chesapeake Bay. Click here for contact information for Charles County Delegates Sally Y. Jameson, Edith Patterson, Susie Proctor, and C.T. Wilson. Click here for contact information for Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton.

Don’t Miss Painter and Local Historian Don Zimmer on Thursday, January 18

Local historian and painter Don Zimmer returns to present his latest research, “Three Stories from the Port Tobacco River in the Mid-18th Century: Trade, the quest for religious freedom, and the slave trade.” Don will display four new paintings inspired by his research. Don’s presentation last year was standing room only! Complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and light refreshments will be served. The program is free and open to the public.
Thursday, January 18, 6:30  to 9:00 p.m.
Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse
8430 Commerce St
Port Tobacco MD 20677

Meet La Plata Mayor Jeannine E. James

La Plata Mayor Jeannine E. James

Thursday, November 16, 2017
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse, 8430 Commerce Street, Port Tobacco

Please join us as we welcome La Plata Mayor Jeannine E. James. Ms. James will discuss the Town’s efforts to protect water quality and improve public spaces in the Port Tobacco Watershed. A brief question and answer session will follow.

The event will be free and open to the public. Complimentary snacks, soft drinks, beer, and wine will be served.

For more information contact ptrc@porttobaccoriver.org or call (301) 934-2025.

This Month’s Shoreline Cleanup Is Sunday, October 22

On Sunday, October 22, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., we will hold our next shoreline cleanup at Chapel Point State Park, 8160 Pisces Rd., Port Tobacco MD 20677. Meet us at the parking lot for the boat launch area, where we will provide bags, gloves, water, and snacks. Come out to enjoy the park and help make our river more beautiful.

Weather permitting, some of us will be taking our kayaks out after the cleanup. Feel free to join us even if you can’t participate in the cleanup.