Text Size: A  A  A

Chesapeake Bay News

Archives: January 2010

Jan
28
2010

Bay Program Launches Education Website BayBackpack.com

The Bay Program has launched BayBackpack.com, an online resource for teachers and environmental educators to engage students in hands-on learning about the Chesapeake Bay and its local waterways.

Bay Backpack includes:

  • More than 500 books, lesson plans, curriculum guides and other materials to support classroom studies. Teachers can search by subject, location and grade level for the right resources for their students.
  • An interactive map that lists more than 300 outdoor educational programs throughout the six-state Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  • A training calendar with professional development opportunities for educators to learn about environmental topics.
  • A list of grant programs that provide funding to support environmental education, including field trips and projects such as schoolyard habitats.

Additionally, Bay Backpack uses a blog to feature new education initiatives and in-depth resources, such as ideas for classroom projects. Educators can share information with each other on the blog by leaving comments or writing guest entries about their own environmental education programs.

Bay Backpack provides educators with the necessary resources to give their students a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE), which are extensive projects that allow students to gain a deep understanding of environmental issues in the Chesapeake Bay and its local streams and rivers. Bay Program partners work with state and local education departments to ensure that all students in the Bay watershed receive three MWEEs before they graduate from high school.

To learn more about Bay Backpack, visit www.baybackpack.com or follow Bay Backpack on Twitter @baybackpack to receive additional education-related news and resources.



Jan
14
2010

Biofuels Could Create Jobs, Reduce Pollution in Chesapeake Bay Region, Report Finds

Homegrown energy could reduce millions of pounds of nutrients from entering the Chesapeake Bay’s streams, creeks and rivers and create more than 18,000 jobs in the region, according to a new report released by the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Chesapeake Biofuel Policies: Balancing Energy, Economy and Environment points out three major benefits of producing “next-generation biofuels” – energy derived from plant materials – in the Chesapeake region:

  • The region’s farms, forests and landfills could realistically produce about 500 million gallons of fuel -- equivalent to a six-week supply of gasoline for the Washington, D.C. metro area.
  • Raising the crops, refining the fuel and getting it to market would support about 18,559 jobs.
  • Raising switchgrass, willows and poplars for fuel on suitable land would reduce water pollution from fertilizers by millions of pounds.

The team of scientists, economists and other experts who wrote the report predict that by 2020, the region could produce 500 million gallons of biofuels per year, using only land and practices that improve the health of the Bay and its network of local waterways.

“A next-generation biofuels industry can create major advances for the Bay region in economic growth, renewable energy produced sustainably right here at home, and improve water quality by reducing runoff to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the only full-time farmer in the Maryland General Assembly.

Over the past three years, Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay Commission have worked to position the Chesapeake region as a national leader in the evolution to sustainable advanced biofuels. Two previous Chesapeake Bay Commission reports released in 2007 and 2008 set the stage for regional biofuel production by presenting scientific information and policy recommendations on next-generation biofuels.

Chesapeake Biofuel Policies presents several recommendations from a select Biofuels Advisory Panel:

  • Adopt a regional biofuels production target and set supporting state-specific production goals
  • Develop biomass harvest guidelines
  • Use winter crops as feedstocks
  • Avoid introduction of invasive species as biofuel feedstocks
  • Create a Regional Council for Bioenergy Development

Visit the Chesapeake Bay Commission’s website to download the full report.



Jan
14
2010

Virginia Permanently Protects 424,000 Acres of Land in Four Years

Virginia has permanently preserved more than 424,000 acres of land since 2006, surpassing Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine’s goal of 400,000 acres conserved during his term.

The 424,000 acres of land were conserved so they could be protected from development and used by Virginia residents and visitors for outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, hiking and birding.

“Virginians expect to be able to explore and enjoy those lands purchased with public funds,” Governor Kaine said. “We have been mindful of the fact that we are stewards of their lands and resources.”

The land will be used to create five state forests, three state parks, three wildlife management areas and 13 natural area preserves.

Some of the protected parcels of land include:

  • 5,340 acres of land added to Dragon Run State Forest in King and Queen County. This is now the third-largest state forest in Virginia. Dragon Run flows to the Piankatank River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay, and provides habitat for 90 species of birds and 55 species of fish.
  • Moore’s Creek State Forest, a 2,353-acre area in Rockbridge County that is habitat for deer and black bears.
  • Biscuit Run, a 1,200-acre area that was slated to be the largest planned residential development in its county until the project was halted by the economic downturn. The property will now become a state park.


Jan
05
2010

EPA Administrator Voted Chair of Chesapeake Executive Council

January 2010 -- The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been named chair of the Chesapeake Executive Council, assuming responsibility for the Chesapeake Bay Program’s policy-setting committee from outgoing Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine.

During a meeting of the Executive Council in Arlington, Va., EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson promised to continue the Bay Program’s positive momentum and lead the regional partnership into a new era of progress and accountability as Executive Council chair.

“It’s an honor to chair the Executive Council at this moment of unprecedented opportunity,” Jackson said. “Chesapeake Bay communities have spent years calling for cleaner water and a healthier environment. We have a renewed opportunity to show them real progress.”

Administrator Jackson noted that 2009 was a historic year for the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort, with the states’ commitment to two-year milestones for implementing pollution controls and President Obama’s Executive Order on the Chesapeake Bay.

2010, however, could be a turning point for the Chesapeake Bay through the completion of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and a new restoration strategy required by the Executive Order. The six states and District of Columbia will also receive $11.2 million in federal funding – more than double 2009 levels – to increase permitting, enforcement and other regulatory activities.

“Success in restoring the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways hinges on the collective effort of all stakeholders, and this partnership provides a vehicle for federal and state governments to collaborate and ultimately reach our common goals,” said Jackson, who also serves as chair of the Federal Leadership Committee established by the Executive Order.

Governor Kaine held the position of Executive Council chair since November 2008. His gubernatorial term ends this month.

"Last year, we charted a new, more effective course for improving the health of Bay waters by establishing critical two-year milestones that will serve as the foundation for future success," said Kaine. "I am pleased with what we've been able to accomplish by working together, and I have no doubt that Administrator Jackson will build on our progress in 2010."

As Governor of Virginia, Kaine permanently conserved nearly 400,000 acres of land, worked with Maryland to better protect the blue crab population, strengthened stormwater regulations, and launched climate change planning.

As chair of Executive Council, Kaine led the effort to create two-year milestones, which represented a fundamental shift in goal-setting, and worked with the White House on the Executive Order, the most significant federal action on the Chesapeake Bay in 25 years.

(Learn more about Governor Kaine’s environmental accomplishments.)

“The health of our Chesapeake Bay is critical to the environmental and economic future of the states that surround it and the people who enjoy it, and these regional partnerships have been invaluable to these efforts,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, past chair of the Executive Council. “Adding to these efforts the passion, partnership and authority of EPA Administrator Jackson will guide us through a new era of progress and accountability.”

“The Chesapeake Bay Commission looks forward to continuing the strong partnership we have established with the Bay Program and working closely with Administrator Jackson in finding new and innovative ways to clean our Bay and preserve this national treasure for generations yet to come,” said Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair, Virginia Delegate John A. Cosgrove.

Video from the Executive Council meeting

Virginia Governor and outgoing Chesapeake Executive Council Chair Timothy Kaine

Maryland Governor and past Chesapeake Executive Council Chair Martin O'Malley

Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair and Virginia Delegate John Cosgrove

EPA Administrator and incoming Chesapeake Executive Council Chair Lisa Jackson

Media Question and Answer Session (two parts)



410 Severn Avenue / Suite 112
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY / Fax: (410) 267-5777
Directions to the Bay Program Office
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
©2012 Chesapeake Bay Program | All Rights Reserved