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Picture this: Photogs RAVE on the Bay

Many, maybe most, folks picture shining watery vistas, boats and blue crabs when they think of the Chesapeake Bay. Some talented photographers concerned about the environment have been exploring the bay this summer and zooming in on scenes of the bay's resilient beauty - and its distress at the hands of human abuse and neglect.

The International League of Conservation Photographers, in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been conducting a Bay RAVE since July.  That stands for "rapid assessment visual expedition."  In essence, green-oriented photogs blitz an ecosystem over a short period of time to take its pulse visually and to document the issues or threats facing it.

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Photographers have focused so far on the Anacostia River in Washington, Hampton Roads and the James River in Virginia and eastern Pennsylvania, where acid mine drainage fouls streams that ultimately drain into the bay. They've got a blog, and one Washington photographer, Krista Schlyer, whose pictures on the Anacostia are shown here, has even shot a video explaining her involvement in this RAVE. 

(She produced some striking pictures in a similar multimedia project I blogged about before documenting the collateral impact on wildlife migration of the wall erected along the US-Mexico border to deter illegal human immigrants.)

Working with the foundation, the photographers plan to mount an exhibit in September on Capitol Hill in Washington, where they hope their visual media will garner support for passage of new Bay cleanup legislation.  Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md, has shepherded his bill out of committee, where it awaits a full Senate debate, possibly this fall.  Farmers oppose his bill, though, as do some environmentalists, who contend it was watered down to win Republican support. The foundation, though, still strongly supports the bill.

More on that later.  Whatever the issues with the legislation, the images you can see here and on the website are compelling visual evidence of the vital but troubled relationship between the bay and the people who live around it.

(Photos by permission Krista Schlyer)

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