Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paddling in the Land of Pleasant Living

In the late 1800s, Maryland was called "The Land of Pleasant Living." Now that millions of people live here, and the Chesapeake Bay is extremely polluted and overfished, that motto has been relegated to cans and 40oz bottles of National Bohemian beer. Regardless, there are still some relatively intact habitats around, partially because the state and many coastal counties passed strict....well....less laughable....wetland, forest, and shoreline protection laws in the early 1990s. On sunday, we paddled one of these spots, Dundee Creek in eastern Baltimore. The shoreline is relatively intact, and Phragmites occupies about 20% of the tidal freshwater wetland. The SAV bed shown above was pretty representative of the creek's shallows. It's amazing to think that historically, most of the shallow creeks that were not salty enough to support oysters, supported SAV beds like these. Think of the filtration!

We also found a few really nice stands of wild rice. Wild rice is a durable but sensitive plant, and it is one of nature's perfect bird foods. The tidal freshwater marshes of Maryland were covered with it 100 years ago....unfortunately one of the things it's sensitive to is cloudy, polluted water. Oops.

The marsh hibiscus can be used to treat urinary tract infections. SWEET!


The swamp princess was more interested in an even tan, than a diverse aquatic vegetation community.


Enough marsh hibiscus to go around! Both white and lavender forms were present & blooming.

6 comments:

{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...

Wild nature rox. That first pic was some nice clear fluid. Too bad we need the whole east coast to have thick marshes to soak, I mean previde a fix for the crapola enviro type situation.

{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...

Dang it, prOvide.

tugboatdude said...

Well that just goes to show you not every wetland law is motivated by money.

{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...

SWEETNESS! Check out this shiznit.

http://ytadditup.blogspot.com/

pinenut said...

Beautiful photos of a lovely trip. Can you recommend any places to paddle with kids on the western shore? One of mine can't swim yet.. . . Thanks.

Swamp Thing said...

The paddle off of Marshy Point (Baltimore County) is VERY shallow (6" to 4') and unless you paddle out of the small creeks, you are usually within 20' of (sort of) dry land.

Pick a day when the wind is light. DNR rents kayaks out of Hammerman Area at Gunpowder State Park, and it is also shallow, but lots of open water out there (the windsurfers love it).

It may also be possible to rent kayaks at Triadelphia Reservoir and I believe you can rent them at Loch Raven.

I bet there are also some opportunities through DNR down in St. Marys County.

I would not suggest river kayaking in the Gunpowder or the Patuxent if you have a kid who can't swim yet!