2017 Program Schedule and Descriptions
Distinctive Homes of the Chesapeake
Sunday, April 23 at 7pm
The lure of waterfront living still remains irresistible to many, with some enjoying a home of their dreams on the Chesapeake Bay year 'round. Distinctive Homes of the Chesapeake opens the door to Maryland's unique, historic and magnificent homes surrounding the Chesapeake Bay for intimate tours. Explore a colonial-era manor hand-crafted in the 1700s, an unusual houseboat with different waterfront views each day, and modern architectural marvels that blend the best of Bay living with gorgeous settings.
NEW Eatin' Oysters: Chesapeake Style!
Monday, April 24 at 9pm
The lowly oyster is a delicacy the world over, yet many people say enjoying one is an acquired taste. Here in Maryland though, home of the Chesapeake Bay -- the Chesapeake Oyster is King. Whether it’s slurped raw on the half shell or fried, baked, braised or roasted, it’s a favorite. Eatin’ Oysters: Chesapeake Style!, takes viewers around the Chesapeake region in search of who’s eating oysters, who’s shucking, why they love them, where to find the best of them, and the best ways to eat them.
NEW Keeping the Potomac
Monday, April 24 at 9:30pm
More than six million people live in the Potomac watershed. Whether they know it or not, some of the very infrastructure that supports their modern lifestyles is poisoning the Potomac River. It is the mission of three River Keepers to patrol the Potomac and do what they must to protect it.
In the Shenandoah River – a major tributary to the Potomac -- fish kills caused by algae are common in the Shenandoah—an obvious concern for an angler like Mark Frondorf. He is the River Keeper for the Shenandoah River and his job is to find sources of pollution on the river and try to stop them. One of the major sources of pollution in the Shenandoah is nutrient runoff from farms. Although Mark works tirelessly to encourage farmers to fence their animals out of waterways, many farmers do not engage in best management practices, which will protect the river from these dangers.
On the Upper Potomac river, River Keeper Brent Walls monitors the Upper Potomac River for the Potomac Riverkeepers Network. One of his greatest concerns is a pipeline in Westernport, Maryland, which pumps a foul smelling brown fluid into an otherwise pristine section of the river - 24 hours a day. The effluent comes from a nearby wastewater treatment plant operated by the Upper Potomac River Commission. Most of the waste treated by the plant originates at a paper mill located a short distance upstream. The effluent poses a danger for fish and wildlife in the river and increases the water temperature to unnatural levels.
As the Lower Potomac Riverkeeper, Dean Naujoks contends with many sources of pollution that threatens the condition of the river. One of these sources, the Coal Ash Disposal Ponds at Possum Point Power Plant, has not only drawn the attention of Naujoks, but also that of local residents, environmental activists, and state legislators. These groups are concerned with Dominion Power’s claim that their coal ash disposal program is safe. We follow Dean as he fights against what he sees as a serious threat to not only the Potomac River, but also the health of those who live near its banks.
Produced by graduate film students at American University’s School of Communication’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking as part of a partnership between AU and Maryland Public Television.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Spanning the Bay
Monday, April 24 at 10pm
Explore the far-reaching effects the Chesapeake Bay Bridge has had on everything from commerce to commuting. It helped fuel the growth of the tourism industry, transforming tiny beachside resorts like Ocean City into crowded summertime destinations. Come along for an exciting look back at the monumental creation of the Bay Bridge, plus a 3-D trip across the bridge!
Maryland Farm & Harvest Bay Week Special
Tuesday, April 25 at 7pm
This best of episode will feature segments from past episodes that highlight the innovations and adaptions Maryland’s Agricultural industry is making to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
Outdoors Maryland Bay Week Special
Tuesday, April 25 at 7:30pm
Enjoy the best and most beautiful of past Outdoors Maryland features on the Chesapeake Bay region.
NEW Chesapeake Bay Summit 2017
Tuesday, April 25 at 8pm
Will the Chesapeake Bay really be cleaned up by 2025? In a provocative forum moderated by Frank Sesno, The Chesapeake Bay Summit 2017 explores how far Chesapeake Bay cleanup has progressed since ground-breaking anti-pollution regulations were introduced in 2009. A panel of world-renowned Bay experts also looks ahead to see what work must still be done to meet federal clean water goals set for 2025.
Panelists on the program include:
• Tim Wheeler, Bay Journal
• Ann Swanson, Chesapeake Bay Commission
• Ben Grumbles, Maryland Department of the Environment
• Dana Aunkst, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
• Russ Baxter, Virginia Office of the Governor
Produced in association with
Conowingo Dam: Power on the Susquehanna
Tuesday, April 25 at 9pm
Second in size only to the massive hydroelectric works at Niagara Falls, New York when it was opened in 1928, the Conowingo Dam was celebrated worldwide as a miraculous engineering feat. Now, the dam’s unique story and place in Maryland history is told by Maryland Public Television in a one-hour documentary that recalls the drama and controversy that has swirled around the structure since its opening in 1928.
From the drowning of an historic Maryland village and rich valley farmland, to stories focusing on town life downriver, the Conowingo Dam’s story is rich in history and irony–a tale that has waited nearly 90 years to be told.
NEW FRONTLINE: The Fish on My Plate
Tuesday, April 25 at 10pm
Journalist and author Paul Greenberg (Four Fish; American Catch) spends a year eating only fish. From farmed fish in Norway to the biggest wild fishery in the world off Peru, he travels to investigate the health of the ocean - as well as his own.
"The Fish on My Plate" - Preview
Designing with Nature: The Plan for the Valleys
Tuesday, April 25 at 11:30pm
A vivid portrait of the Valleys Planning Council, a citizen-led non-profit organization, and the brilliant work of Ian Harg, a talented landscape architect. McHarg, along with a team of consultants, penned a landmark land preservation plan back in the early 1960s. The Plan for the Valleys was one of the first land planning documents to use ecology as the central theme. Vintage footage highlights the entertaining McHarg, as well as interviews with a variety of characters involved in the organization over five decades. The film skillfully and beautifully documents the success of smart growth: a stunning, rural countryside that supports outstanding agricultural and equine industries that pay enormous dividends to current and future generations in terms of both a healthy economy and healthy environment. The film also serves as a wonderful testament to citizen action and visionary planning.
Secrets of the Chesapeake
Wednesday, April 26 at 8pm
Secrets of the Chesapeake travels the Chesapeake region – east and west, north and south, from mountain to marsh – to ask locals for sage advice to discover and uncover the most unusual places to explore and things to do for the weekender. But these aren't ordinary tourist destinations. Instead, they're spots that only a native would point to: remote shorelines where beachcombers can find beautiful and rare sea glass; an island gem-of-a-seafood-shack; quiet crossroads where tragic local history comes alive. Secrets of the Chesapeake takes viewers to places they'll never forget where they'll meet people they've only read about.
NEW Search for the USS Scorpion
Wednesday, April 26 at 9pm
Hidden beneath the muddy Patuxent riverbed, a nearly forgotten tale of courage has slumbered… The War of 1812 hit the Chesapeake hard: Britain’s Royal Navy was the most powerful force in the world and her warships raided bayside towns with impunity. In Baltimore, Revolutionary War hero Joshua Barney could not sit idly by. To mount a counterstrike, he assembled a mosquito fleet dubbed The Chesapeake Flotilla … and from his flagship The USS Scorpion, Commodore Barney led a charge against the fearsome Royal Navy. After a series of daring battles, the Flotilla was chased up the Patuxent River and intentionally scuttled to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.
Any local would be happy to tell you about the shipwrecks – that their grandparents used to cast fishing lines into them – yet for those that went looking, the lost fleet always remained elusive. Was local legend and lore all that remained of the Flotilla? Search for the USS Scorpion is a documentary special that puts the viewer on the front lines of marine archaeology. Embedded with a team of scientists from the US Navy and State of Maryland, we travel over river and underwater to follow the clues and piece together a mystery of history. Could it be that we have finally found the lost flagship of Commodore Barney’s Flotilla? There is only one way to find out, so put on your scuba gear and dive into the deep with Maryland Public Television!
» Visit the Search for the USS Scorpion blog
Eatin' Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had
Wednesday, April 26 at 9:30pm
From G&M's goliath-sized crab cakes to tried-and-true recipes that have survived kitchen-based tests and trials of the ages, Eatin' Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had is the ultimate crab cake treasure hunt across the Chesapeake region. This follow-up to the popular Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style is a fun-loving, kitchen-hopping adventure that traverses the state in search of crabcake heaven.
Beautiful Swimmers: Revisited
Wednesday, April 26 at 10pm
Beautiful Swimmers: Revisited is a retrospective film on the anniversary of William Warner's 1976 exploration of Chesapeake watermen and the blue crab that looks at the present state of the crabbing industry.
Downee Ocean, Hon!
Wednesday, April 26 at 11pm
Ask a Marylander where they're headed this summer, and chances are you're bound to hear "downee ocean" (down the ocean). That can only mean one place: Ocean City. "OC" is the major beach destination in the state, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors and millions of dollars to the place where land meets water each year. Downee Ocean, Hon! is a vividly shot one-hour trip to the beach, filled with loads of fun, sun and salt water taffy. From the beach to the boardwalk, from the Ferris Wheel to Fager's Island, from sunrise on the beach to nightlife by the bay, Downee Ocean, Hon! captures the OC experience - from the rich history, family traditions, and small-town charm that's kept Ocean City as one of the East Coast's top vacation spots.
Thursday, April 27 at 8pm
Tilghman Tales shares the stories of a few of the island's notables recounted by colorful storytellers, local experts, self-taught historians, innovative boat builders, "jacks-of-all-trades," self-reliant women, and indefatigable octogenarians. Through them we meet several generations of legendary Tilghman boat builders and some intrepid women who love the water and the waterman's life as fiercely as the men.
NEW Watermen 1967 & 2014
Thursday, April 27 at 9pm & 10pm
Watermen: Then and Now. Two films are showcased that capture the lives of Chesapeake Bay watermen and offer unique perspectives on the challenges they have traditionally faced in their work on the Bay.
Watermen (1967) at 9 pm: Shot in the mid-1960’s, a historic time capsule in which the lives of Skipjack-sailing watermen and their families living on Deal Island, Maryland were captured.
Watermen (2014) at 10 pm: Three independent watermen on the Eastern Shore of Virginia struggle to ply their trade in a food economy dominated by corporate interests, and an environment beset by over-fishing and the rapidly accelerating threat of climate change.
Thursday, April 27 at 10:30pm
A sentimental look at the history of an iconic Maryland fishing vessel, the Skipjack, through the eyes of Deal Island locals who have sailed these "Mack Trucks of the Chesapeake" for decades in search of the once-ubiquitous Maryland oyster.
Potomac by Air
Friday, April 28 at 9:30pm
Shot from above in amazing High Definition, the program explores incredible natural and man-made history along with our nation's remarkable collection of monuments and memorials, from the Washington Monument, to The U.S. Capitol, the White House, Jefferson Memorial, the National Cathedral, and more.
Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style
Friday, April 28 at 10:30pm
We've roamed the state in search of the greatest stories of the blue crab and tell all in Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style, MPT's rollicking foray into the world of the blue crab, from dockside to table. From Baltimore's busiest harborside districts and most famed crab shacks to beloved and isolated locales from Ocean City to Oakland, Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style captures the world of crab-loving, a uniquely Maryland slice of life and cracks it open for all to see.
Saturday, April 29 at 9:30pm
As one of the important centers of the U.S. seafood industry, the Chesapeake Bay has for centuries supported watermen, businesses, and communities all along its shores. But catches of Chesapeake seafood are down, mostly due to poor water quality, and some bayside towns now face an uncertain future. Chesapeake Villages tells the stories of three such villages and their residents: Deal Island, Crisfield, and Hoopers Island.
• Deal Island: For the community of Deal Island, life happens on the water. Roy Ford and his son Ryan are continuing the village's watermen tradition, catching oysters and crabs year round. However, with the overall decline of the Bay, the number of watermen on Deal Island is dwindling. Roy is concerned about the future of the industry not only for his son and grandson, but also for the whole community.
• Crisfield: Once called "the seafood capital of the world", Crisfield has seen its prominence as a seafood exporter shrink with the decline of the bay fisheries. Mayor Kim Lawson and other residents have witnessed a transformation of the town and its waterfront. Despite hardships, watermen like Sam Marsh continue the tradition of harvesting the Bay. Casey Todd, CEO of Metompkin Bay Oyster Co., has been forced to adapt to changing times to keep Crisfield on the map as a seafood exporter. Times are changing but local pride remains strong and residents are hopeful for the future.
• Hoopers Island: Hoopers Island is a place where new ideas and innovation have led to newfound opportunities for watermen. Ricky Fitzhugh and Johnny Shockley, co-owners of Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company, see promise for the future through the practice of oyster aquaculture. By raising oysters in their facilities and on the Chesapeake Bay, they have adapted to declines in the traditional oyster fishery. Johnny's father, Dorsey, and son, Jordan, all work alongside each other in this family-oriented business.