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Bay Journal

Bay Journal is published by Chesapeake Media Service to inform the public about issues and events that affect the Chesapeake Bay. With a print circulation of 50,000, the Bay Journal is published monthly except for midsummer and midwinter and is distributed free of charge. To be added to the mailing list, fill out the online subscription form. Bundles of the Bay Journal are also available for distribution.

Below are some recent stories from Bay Journal.

Latest Issue

Poo powered tractor plows forward

We’ve written plenty about the power of manure, how innovators across the region are turning its excess into energy and even profits. But what if the power produced by a manure-to-energy plant was used to not only keep the lights on but also plow the fields? Enter the methane-fueled…

Scientists heartened by baywide underwater grass increases

The amount of underwater grass beds in Chesapeake Bay surged 27 percent last year, one of the largest single-year increases since monitoring of the critical habitat for fish and crabs began three decades ago. While a rebound was seen Baywide, much of the recovery in 2014 was driven by a huge…

MD hires 4 private oyster growers to plant oyster seed in Bay

For the first time in its 55-year history of planting oysters to help watermen with their harvest, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is hiring private oyster growers to help it seed the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to the change, the University of Maryland Horn Point Hatchery handled the…

Summer Fun: Great beaches on Virginia’s bayside eastern shore

Earlier, we talked about Maryland beaches. Now, we turn our attention south to Virginia. I haven’t spent as much time in Virginia, but I’m impressed by what I’ve seen of the state park and natural area system. Beautiful, well-managed parks, with kayaks and bikes to rent, and…

Summer Fun: Quick beach getaways

I admit it - I sort of dread beach vacations. Or, really any vacations to anywhere. When you have kids, vacations are more work than working. There’s no break time. And my kids, ages 10 and 4, are not fans of the long car trip. We always forget something important, like that extra pair…

Sugarloaf scamper

Hiking in the mountains of Maryland is a great way to spend an afternoon. Hiking with children? Well, choose your route carefully. Between tired toddlers who want to be carried and teens who can’t bear to tear themselves away from their phone for a couple of hours, a walk in the woods can…

Let’s not tax well-managed farmland; it already pays its way

“Well-managed” farmland and other working open spaces should not be taxed. These landscapes provide more services for the public than they receive from the public. In many states, including the Chesapeake Bay states, local governments already recognize the value of open lands and tax…

Proposed gas pipeline in VA called a threat to resources, economy

The last slide in Nancy Sorrells’ presentation about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline shows Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” split from top to bottom by a jagged tear — a graphic challenge to assertions by pipeline builder Dominion Transmission, Inc. that the pipeline will…

Bay council approves stream, land protections as cleanup progress lags

Leaders of the state-federal Bay Program partnership pledged new efforts Thursday to protect streams draining the Chesapeake watershed even as they acknowledged that their key pollution reduction efforts have fallen behind schedule. Meeting at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, the…

Bay Program working with feds to better document facilities’ TMDL efforts

The federal government is one of the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s largest landowners and manages an area roughly the size of Delaware’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, or 5.4 percent of the entire basin. The land and facilities it controls share little in common except that…

Summer Fun: Find a ferry

Summer can be tough on working parents. It’s hard to figure out what to do with your kids. Camps are expensive, and often, there isn’t space because you wait until the last minute to realize you need one. Movies? I took my family of four to see Minions in 3D and it cost $70! There are…

Dragonfly devotees

Dragonflies, like most insects that appear aplenty in the summer, flourish where there’s plenty of water, sun and perches for resting their wings. But, unlike the season’s other crop of insects that bite or buzz in your eyes, dragonflies actually diminish summer’s worst pests…

VDOT can help fix sediment problems if it is willing to shift gears

One of Virginia’s biggest pollutants is sediment in its waters. One of the two leading pollutants driving state stormwater ordinances is sediment. Virginia’s Total Maximum Daily Load initiative, under the Clean Water Act, cites sediment as one of the top three pollutants. And the…

Canopy plan for park has branched out into city of trees

When Anne and Carl Little first moved to Fredericksburg, VA, their backyard was mostly dirt with a couple of trees. The playground behind their house wasn’t much better, growing more poison ivy than shade for the children. “It drove me crazy, all those little kids on that hot…

Bay leaders to outline next steps for Chesapeake restoration

After signing its landmark Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement last summer, the Chesapeake Executive Council will meet this week to announce the completion of plans showing how the region will achieve the agreement’s sweeping goals to preserve land, restore water quality, improve habitat, and…

Virginia court rejects CBF’s livestock exclusion suit

A Circuit Court judge in Richmond last week rejected the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s lawsuit aimed at getting Virginia to do more to keep livestock out of the state’s streams. The Bay Foundation told the Associated Press that it will review the decision before deciding on a next…

Lancaster, PA, farm’s future depends on nutrient management

Roger Rohrer hasn’t committed any crimes, but he runs his farm as though he’s a man on probation. Standing outside one of his chicken houses in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, he points to a small fenced area down a grassy slope. “That is a Strasburg Borough municipal…

Maryland Changing its tune?

Maryland doesn’t feel like a southern state -- until suddenly it does. You’re driving along two-lane road and you see a small Confederate flag, a monument to soldiers who starved to death in the prison camp at Point Lookout. Or you’re talking to an Eastern Shore farmer and he…

Poultry mega-houses forcing Somerset County residents to flee

When Thomas Kerchner married his wife, Sherri, he promised to build her dream home for their retirement years. She had always wanted a log home, so they purchased a lot on a back-country road in Princess Anne, MD, and he designed a home perfect for hosting grandchildren and enjoying country…

Corps begin rebuilding Great Wicomico sanctuary reef

This summer, the Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, is rebuilding 12 acres of sanctuary reefs in the Great Wicomico River that failed because they were not tall enough and suffered losses due to poaching.  Restoration reefs totaling 85 acres, were built in the Great Wicomico in…

EPA needs to act on states’ inability to reach nutrient goals

Since 2010, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has applauded the transparency, accountability and consequences built into the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. But like any three-legged stool, take one leg away and it falls. It is the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council’s job to establish the…

Watermen are icons, too

It’s a moist, mid-July morning, still an hour until sunup. First light is tinging the eastern sky and coaxing color and texture from the dark, Smith Island marshes as we follow a crabber through the winding marsh guts leading out to Tangier Sound. Young ospreys peep as we pass, and great…

Agreement will smooth the way for more public access in Virginia

At a ceremony at a Gloucester Point public boat ramp, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday directed three state agencies to identify new potential public water access locations, particularly at bridge crossings and along roads. “Expanding public access to state waters is a concrete…

Court ruling backs lease for oyster farm in Chincoteague Bay

A landmark oyster lease case in the coastal bays could turn the tide for aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. In April, Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals ruled that Donald Marsh, a Harvard Business School graduate-turned-oyster farmer, could have a lease to farm…

Groups fight to save James River views from overhead power lines

The James River makes a long lazy arc around Hog Island before it enters Burwell Bay on its way to Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay. Opposite Hog Island and just downstream from Jamestown Island, Carter’s Grove plantation house, like earlier colonial era and American Indian settlements…

DC Water overflow project counting on ‘green’ being the new ‘gray’

Even as hulking machines bore water-holding tunnels under the nation’s capital, the city’s water authority is pivoting toward a more nuanced solution to its polluted overflow problem — one that would exchange some underground tunnel boring for greening above the ground. In May,…

Remembering Libby Norris

Libby Norris was in her element the first time I met her three years ago: on a farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. She was introducing me to a farmer-turned-friend who, with her help, had implemented conservation practices across his landscape. As the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s…

Appeals court upholds Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal Monday upheld the EPA’s authority to require an expansive Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, firmly rebuffing challenges by farm groups and a coalition of states. The court in its 60-page ruling stated that the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily…

Clever American crow appeals to the bird in each of us

The shade of the gazebo provided a modicum of relief during one of our countless hot and humid summer days. A wood duck hen and her chicks drifted idly on the lake, apparently as sapped of energy as we were. The stillness was broken by five big, black birds mobbing a red-tailed hawk. The assault…

Keep off the grass – let nature take the lead in your landscape

My quibble with Barbara Ellis’ new book, “Chesapeake Gardening & Landscaping,” is that she didn’t write it six years ago when I began transforming my yard, and the way I looked at yards. Her book, profusely illustrated by Neil Soderstrom’s photos, would have…

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