APL Colloquium

April 17, 2009

Colloquium Topic: The Chesapeake Watershed – Past, Present, and Future

The Chesapeake Watershed spans the entire eastern edge of the North American continent, literally from the mountains to the sea. The underlying geology reveals a dynamic past and influenced the settlement and growth of our nation. The retreat of the Laurentian Ice Cap had a profound effect on the morphology of the watershed and evidence suggests that it continues to impact sea levels throughout the Bay. Other major impacts to the Bay today are the result of human activity. Erosion rates range from 50 to 400 times normal rates causing siltation and over fertilization of the Bay waters. Legacy sediments are being mined from the old slack water mill ponds by increasing rates of storm water runoff, causing further oxygen depletion within the main stem of the Bay. The Bay is also at greater risk than most other parts of the country as sea levels rise from global warming. Increasing regulations and behavioral changes will be required to keep the ecosystems of the watershed in balance with our unchecked population growth.

Colloquium Speaker: Ned Tillman

Ned Tillman is a lifelong resident of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and an active environmentalist. He’s enjoyed a long career in the environmental industry, and advises organizations on how to become more sustainable. He serves as chair of the Howard County Environmental Sustainability Board and past chair of the Howard County Conservancy. He received a BA from Franklin and Marshall College and a MS from Syracuse University in earth and environmental sciences. He was on the staff here at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the late 1970s. He founded and served as president of Target Environmental and Columbia Technologies. Ned is the author of The Chesapeake Watershed which helps create a Sense of Place in the reader and offers them a Call to Action to help save the Bay and our planet from a range of human impacts, including global warming. It is a timely book. Blending natural history and personal narrative, the author takes the reader into the murky shallows of the Bay to chase crabs, onto the Eastern Shore to hunt quail, and into the Piedmont to paddle through white water.