Life Outdoors

In the afternoon of December 9, many Marylanders experienced a sensation rare for the region when, for a few brief seconds, the ground beneath us moved. It was the type of thing where people turned to one another, not sure if what we felt was real or imagined. “Did you feel that?” we asked one another and found comfort when told, yes, others had felt it too.

a photo of Secretary FranksWhat we felt was a relatively minor tremor based in central Virginia. No damage was reported in Maryland, and everyone promptly returned to his or her respective business. However, it left many of us feeling a little less secure about the stability of the ground beneath our feet.

For many of us, experiencing life on shaky ground served as a wake-up call: We should not be complacent, naively assuming that earthquakes just don’t happen around here. For a long time, this is also how many viewed the state of the Chesapeake Bay. We naively assumed there would always be plentiful fish and crabs and oysters; sure, the Bay was sick, but not that sick.

Until now. With the bottom having fallen out of our native oyster population – as evidenced by this year’s harvest, which came in at about one-tenth of one percent of historic highs –- and the continuing decline of the Bay’s water quality, it is well past the time for each of us to wake up and take responsibility for what is going on in our environment. Each of us must now step up to the plate and join in the efforts of all those public and private partners that are steadfastly working to protect and preserve our natural resources.

As you peruse these pages, which include articles on earthquakes in our region and Bay restoration, you will notice another shake up: The Maryland Natural Resource has been redesigned and now appears in full color. Speaking for all who strive to provide our readers with a quality product, we hope you enjoy our new magazine more than ever before.

Sometimes a little shake up is necessary to rattle us out of the comfort of complacency. When it comes to managing and restoring our natural resources, we can all afford to stay a little rattled.

C. Ronald Franks' signature

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