Chestertown – In Poisoned Waters, a PBS Frontline documentary showing at Washington College on October 28 at 7:00 PM in Litrenta Lecture Hall, veteran journalist Hedrick Smith examines threats to the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.
Two days later, at a lecture on October 30 at 5:00 PM at the historic Prince Theatre in downtown Chestertown, Mr. Smith will explore how these two iconic bodies of water are indicators of a larger national problem.
Drawing on interviews with scientists, fishermen, bureaucrats, chicken farmers, whale watchers and other people who rely on and care deeply about America’s waterways, Smith tells a fascinating and disturbing story about the steep decline of our country’s biggest bodies of water.
He interviews watermen who lament the loss of the Bay’s seafood abundance and tracks the Chesapeake’s “dead zone” back to its biggest source — the proliferation of chicken houses (and manure) across the Delmarva Peninsula. He also examines the perils to the Chesapeake and to Puget Sound from growth and development, as well as from the multiplicity of untested and potentially harmful chemicals that wind up in our waters.
Hedrick Smith is a Frontline producer and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, formerly with the New York Times. What’s shocking about his latest feature on the water crisis is how well-known the problems are. Scientists for years have been scooping up samples with chemicals, mostly from everyday household products. They’ve been pulling PCB-riddled salmon out of the water for decades. There are documented cases weirdly mutated frogs with six legs, intersexed fish (males carrying eggs), and drinking water loaded with contaminants— two-thirds of which are so new they elude modern filtration methods.
By focusing on the home of the blue crab and the playground of the orca, which aren’t overwhelmingly similar, Smith highlights a pervasive decline in the nations waterways and he takes us beneath the surface to see the terrible trouble caused by sprawl-related pollution and unregulated toxic industrial, agricultural and municipal runoff.
Both events are free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society, the Chesapeake Semester at Washington College, and Sultana Projects. For more information, visit www.ces.washcoll.edu or www.sultanaprojects.org or call 410-778-7295.