The mission of ChesapeakeSTEM.org is to educate students about engineering solutions to the challenges facing the Bay. Existing programs that focus on ecology and biology have made great progress to help us understand the Bay’s ecosystem. However, some young people are more inclined to designing and building things – future engineers. Young adults who decide to choose technical careers focused on the Bay’s man-made problems will be the future advocates for a healthy Chesapeake Bay.
The Chesapeake Bay is one of the country’s most treasured waterways, with over 18 million people living on her watershed. The future of the Bay depends on tomorrow’s innovators.
Naval Architecture – the design of boats and ships
Boats have played an integral role in the development of commerce and recreation on the Bay. The challenge for today’s designers is to develop more efficient recreational boats and ferry systems that can compete with our overtaxed highway system. Basic naval architecture principles are explored, along with a history of boats on the Bay. Students will be introduced to careers in designing, building, operating and maintaining boats and ships.
Aquaculture – fish and shellfish farming
Wild fisheries on the Bay are increasingly being augmented with aquaculture systems to meet the demands for Chesapeake Bay seafood. New technologies are being developed worldwide to farm seafood in a sustainable manner. The unique challenges of designing aquaculture systems for the Bay are presented along with examples of working systems.
Civil Engineering – bridges, breakwaters, docks and floodgates
The infrastructure of the Chesapeake Bay is constantly trying to keep up with population growth in the area. Climate change creates the additional challenge of sea level rise and more frequent severe storms. Designing and building new systems as well as maintenance of existing structures, requires innovative solutions. Communities and entire cities are increasingly at risk from more frequent extreme weather events.
Renewable Energy - wind, sun and water
Maryland is committed to a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 40 percent by 2030. This is good news for the Bay and will spur the development of offshore wind turbines on the Atlantic Continental Shelf. Meanwhile, marine hydrokinetic energy from wave buoys and water turbines are being developed worldwide. Shoreside renewable energy projects will also help abate sea level rise and ocean acidification.
Pollution Remediation – water and air quality
Engineers are responsible for the design of water treatment plants and air pollution controls fitted to power plants and transportation systems. These efforts directly help the Bay and also serve to slow global temperature rise. Innovative solutions to limit stormwater runoff into the Bay are also needed.
Information modules have been developed focusing on engineering disciplines that directly and indirectly influence the health of the Bay. These include: