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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

Get the steamer ready!

I got a call yesterday from a friend on Smith Island. He wanted to tell me that crabs are looking good. We already sort of knew that - the winter dredge survey results have come out, as the Bay Journal reported. As you can see from this news story, the news was pretty good. Given that crabs…

All aboard! Travel down the James’ history

As river trail maps and smartphone apps continue to pop up around the Chesapeake, the river atlases produced by the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society at first glance seem anachronistic. But what makes these atlases special is their devotion to the era when the craft of choice to move…

Enacting rules for poultry litter has been as easy as pulling hen’s teeth

The Bay just got an important “win,” with Maryland’s agreement to end the spreading of poultry manure across sections of its Eastern Shore. Everyone should be happy about that. Controlling farm runoff in many Eastern Shore rivers and streams is critical because they deliver a…

Magnolia warbler kindles spark of life in visit to ancient cemetery

Cemeteries often make great local birding hotspots. Migrating birds, in particular, like these relatively undisturbed areas. To a tired flier, the big swath of open space amid a concrete landscape can be a godsend. We were up on the eastern side of the ageless Allegheny Mountains, where tiny…

Potomac Conservancy crowd-funds to preserve WV’s White Horse Mountain

This spring, the Potomac Conservancy entered into uncharted territory — and not just because it’s buying land in West Virginia. The nonprofit, focused on the health of the Potomac watershed, has never purchased land before, and certainly not $3 million worth of a forested mountain.…

Ownership, sharing of data raises issues

Acoustic technology has allowed scientists along the Atlantic Coast to work together to track the movements of thousands of fish in ways unimaginable only a decade ago. But it has also created some sticky questions: Who “owns” the data — the researcher who inserted the tag in…

Follow that fish!

It took more than two years — and endless hours of frustration — before biologists found their first sturgeon on Marshyhope Creek. Week after week, they went to the river and placed 100-yard gill nets, only to pull them out empty. Then, last fall they finally caught eight adult…

Little-known Kingman Island draws big bluegrass crowds

There's very little not to like about the Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival — even with a lot of people in attendance. In its sixth year, the festival perched on a manmade island along the Anacostia River drew 10,000 people outdoors April 25 despite overcast weather that eventully turned…

Company suspends plans for wind farm on MD’s Eastern Shore

The company behind an Eastern Shore wind farm that has been in development for nearly five years has decided to pull the plug. Adam Cohen, president of Pioneer Green Energy, wrote a letter to Somerset County’s commissioners to inform them that plans for the wind farm have been suspended.…

Mid-Atlantic offshore drilling moving forward despite opposition

The Obama administration’s proposal to open parts of the Atlantic Coast and other areas to offshore oil drilling has drawn more than 50,000 public comments that show, among other things, a split among Bay state leaders over the idea. The Interior Department in January proposed a five-year…

Region not on track to make nitrogen reduction goals

An analysis When the Bay region went on a pollution diet in 2010, it was touted as a game changer. After repeatedly missing past deadlines, the new, more enforceable diet was intended to ensure that pollution reduction goals would not only be met, but progress would be accelerated. Instead,…

Blue crab population up thanks to nature, management

The Chesapeake Bay’s overall population of blue crabs increased 38 percent over last year, with high numbers of juvenile crabs that will likely be ready to harvest by late summer, according to the annual Winter Dredge Survey. Maryland and Virginia use the survey to count crabs burrowed in…

Billion-year-old show still draws crowds

This spring, re-enter a more elemental time. Rising moon, May or June, a third of a billion years ago. Sunset gleams in the lap of saltwater on sandy shore. Today’s continents have not formed. Birds and trees, even dinosaurs are 100 million years or more in the future. The tide swells,…

‘Feeling blue’ might just be the cure for all that ails us

“Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being near, in, on, or under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do” By Wallace J. Nichols. Little Brown & Company, New York, 2014. What if there was a way to scientifically describe the…

Brown pelicans becoming more common in Bay area

I was in North Carolina the first time I saw a brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) and was immediately taken by this odd bird. Brown pelicans may look gawky on land, but when they take to the skies, they fly with elegance. Browns are the smallest pelicans. They range in size from 42–54…

Summit offers new approaches to Bay restoration

Nutrient limits for individual farms. Better environmental enforcement. More technical assistance for farmers. An honest discussion about population. Greener development. Those were among the ideas proposed by a panel of Bay experts on Tuesday about policy changes that could lead to greater…

MD officials, environmental groups, ratepayers protest merger between Exelon, Pepco

Maryland’s attorney general, several environmental groups, some local governments and ratepayers are protesting a merger between Exelon and Pepco that would create one of the mid-Atlantic’s largest power generation and transmission utilities but could also stymie efforts to make energy…

Eggs!

Here’s a quiz to work on while eating the chocolate and jellybean eggs that the Easter Bunny brought you. Match the animal with the description of its egg. American robin Bald Eagle Black Rat Snake Bullfrog Clearnose Skate Monarch Butterfly Wood Turtle 1. Before laying my eggs…

Liberality for all; exploitation by none

“To live in right relation with natural conditions is one of the first lessons that a wise farmer, or any other wise man learns.” So wrote Liberty Hyde Bailey 100 years ago in his masterful work, “The Holy Earth” (free to all courtesy of the Gutenberg Project). The chair of…

Oyster, clam aquaculture harvests make record gains in VA

Virginia continued to see record gains in aquaculture for 2014, with a combined $55.9 million worth of oysters and clams sold in the state. Oysters, which have been on the rise in the state over the past decade, increased 33 percent. Clams, which have suffered from a market glut and lower prices…

Experts explore what ails Bay restoration on public television Tuesday

Maryland Public Television is presenting a special program Tuesday, “Chesapeake Bay Summit: Charting a Course,” that will explore vexing issues facing the estuary with experts from around the region. The hour-long discussion airs live at 8 p.m. It is moderated by former CNN Anchor…

Phosphorus reg, fracking, stormwater fees, plastics all win General Assembly action

In the end, the most significant environmental legislation to come out of the Maryland General Assembly in 2015 wasn’t legislation at all. It was a compromise worked out between the Governor and the legislature on a regulation known as the phosphorus management tool that had been developed…

Forest garden bearing fruit as both food producer, water filter

To reach the patch of land he manages near Bowie, MD, Lincoln Smith crosses a cul-de-sac and a soggy cornfield left bare in winter but for the tender shoots of a cover crop. This is what most food-growing fields in the Chesapeake Bay watershed look like in late winter, he noted as he slushed…

Oyster growers plant seed during Senator’s farm-to-table conversation

When Sen. Ben Cardin called Spike Gjerde and asked if the Baltimore chef would like to host a roundtable discussion with small food producers about the farm-to-table movement, Gjerde readily agreed. But Gjerde, who has been a pioneer in the local food movement in Baltimore for the past decade,…

There’s lots to find at Lost River

Lost River State Park was almost lost, a near casualty of Colonial era land speculation and Depression era hard times. Thankfully, West Virginia stepped in and bought this beauty in 1934, making it available for all to enjoy. Today, the 3,712-acre state park in Mathias features 19 trails,…

Unsung volunteers take up the causes of babbling brooks

Warm Springs Run begins in a logged-over marsh near a trucking terminal in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. Eleven miles later it empties into the Potomac River, 170 miles northwest of the Chesapeake Bay. The creek, hardly more than a dozen feet wide, will inspire no poets, and it supports…

Best strategy in Blackwater’s sea level battle may be sounding the retreat

This is the sixth in a series of articles — produced by the Bay Journal and Chesapeake Quarterly, the magazine of Maryland Sea Grant — that explore the impacts of, and policies related to, sea level rise around the Bay. The observation deck at the edge of Lake Blackwater in the…

The chicken’s egg came first, says Smithsonian

When it comes to the history of edible chicken products in this country, eggs did indeed come first. That’s what Peter Liebhold, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, said as he opened up a discussion on the subject during an “After Hours” event last…

Energy Works in PA turning waste into watts

Turning chicken waste into energy is not easy. It requires expensive systems, a high degree of mechanization, and an astute business sense to use every part of the manure. And it probably won’t pay for itself, at least not in the near future. Patrick Thompson is doing it anyway. His…

Anacostia River festival offers hands-on family fun

The first-ever Anacostia River Festival is planned for this Sunday as part of the broader Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. Nate Adams, spokesman for the National Park Service’s National Capital Region, said this first-of-its-kind festival represents a new level of recreation and…

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