EcoMovie 2017: Beautiful Swimmers Revisited

First published in 1976, William Warner's Beautiful Swimmers is a seminal book about watermen, crabs, and the Chesapeake.  But today's bay is not the same as Warner's.  Award-winning writer Tom Horton picks up where Warner left off 40 years ago and revisits the book's storied haunts. 

If last Sunday was too beautiful a day to spend indoors watching a movie, we understand!  We encourage you to take some time and watch this inspiring documentary online at


12 Things You Can Do to Clean Up Your Rivers, Streams, and the Chesapeake Bay

     from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (

  1. Properly dispose of hazardous household items. Oils, anti-freeze, paint, solvents, cleaners, preservatives, and prescription drugs should not be poured down a household or storm drain. Check with your county waste management service to find out what hazardous materials they accept.

  2. Reduce or eliminate use of fertilizers and chemical herbicides and pesticides. Learn to live with a dandelion or two. Lawn fertilizers and chemicals are a big source of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and toxic runoff.

  3. Make an appointment to service your septic system. Septic systems should be inspected yearly to ensure proper functioning. Waste from failing systems can leak into the groundwater and eventually end up in local waterways and the Bay.

  4. Landscape with native plants. Bay-friendly landscaping reduces stormwater runoff. In addition, native grasses and other plants don’t require the amount of watering or fertilizing necessary for non-natives. Consider involving and educating your community by using Bay-friendly landscaping on community property near your home. Find out more about gardening with native plants.

  5. Eliminate bare spots in your yard. Bare spots are places where vegetation (such as plants, shrubs, grasses, flowers) no longer exists in the soil. The outcome of having any type of bare spot is the same: stormwater hits the ground and is not able to soak in to the soil. Use our step-by-step guide to fix the bare spots in your school or home yard.

  6. Make a rain garden. Rain gardens are special gardens placed in low-lying areas that typically receive a lot of runoff during storms. Planted with native species that can handle wet soil, these gardens help reduce flooding and erosion and filter runoff. Learn how to build your own rain garden. If you have a really wet area or one with heavy clay soil that drains slowly, you might want to consider a backyard wetland.

  7. Install a rain barrel (or two). Placed at the base of a downspout, a typical rainbarrel can hold 55-75 gallons of stormwater runoff from a rooftop, reducing flooding and erosion. They can be bought from garden supply centers or easily built. Learn how to build and install your own rain barrel.

  8. If you live on the water, build a living shoreline. Living shorelines prevent erosion, allow wildlife access, and beautify your waterfront. This is another great community project. Learn more about living shorelines.

  9. Resurface with permeable pavers. Time to replace that crumbling driveway? Consider using permeable pavers that allow runoff to soak into the ground and be filtered naturally rather than runoff into the nearest storm drain.

  10. Participate in a local training or certification program. Programs such as CBF's Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards (VoiCeS) teach citizens how to engage their communities in identifing and solving environmental problems. Look for a local program near you. CBF offers programs in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Several states also offer Watershed Stewards Academy or Master Watershed Stewards programs.

  11. Scoop the poop. Make your neighbors happy and keep harmful nutrients and bacteria out of waterways by always cleaning up after your pet.

  12. Don't litter. Reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the Bay.