Will Little Marshy Rafts Take Us Closer to a Fishable, Swimmable Harbor?

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Who knew that the path to a “fishable, swimmable harbor by 2020” would include tying up a bunch of empty soda bottles and chucking them in the water? Well it does… sort of.

Empty soda bottles are just one ingredient in a batch of floating artificial wetlands to be installed in the Inner Harbor on April 20. It’s an expansion of a program begun two years ago with just eight wetland frames, which were found to successfully pull excess nitrogen out of the water, a necessary step toward cleaning up the harbor.

Not only do the floats clean the water, but they also provide habitat for wildlife, including crabs, eels, barnacles, and the occasional fish. And not only that, but the building of the floats has been a great learning experience for student volunteers from the Living Classroom Foundation and Fresh Start. And not only that

Despite the visible benefits, the net effect on water quality has not been easy measure. But even if that effect is marginal compared with the monumental task of rehabilitating the Chesapeake Bay, the wetland floats will be a visible symbol of that effort. And they look nice.



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  1. It’s probably more about reminding the public that the Harbor has life in it and that it’s connected to the Chesapeake. Cleaning the Bay means starting close to home!

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