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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

Delmarva fox squirrel no longer “endangered”

The Delmarva Fox squirrel, which has been listed as an endangered species since 1967, is coming off the list. The squirrel, which has slowly been reappearing in the forests and farmlands of the Eastern Shore after an aggressive transfer program, has recovered enough for wildlife officials to…

Bay Trust grants to transform city neighborhoods

Seven vacant parcels around Baltimore City will be transformed into community gardens, parks and urban farms, thanks to $300,000 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. More than a dozen organizations and community groups submitted proposals to turn blighted areas in city neighborhoods into community…

Verna Harrison, longtime Bay champion, is retiring but not quitting

Verna Harrison, the first director of the Campbell Foundation, a major supporter of Chesapeake region environmental work, is retiring at the end of this year. Harrison, who has directed the environmentally focused foundation since she left a long career in state government in 2003, said she…

Choptank study to assess benefits of restoring oyster reefs

With a whirring noise, a powerful winch began hauling 160 feet of line, weighed down by six fish traps, aboard the Bay Commitment. The first trap pulled from the soft bottom of this part of the Little Choptank produced an oyster toadfish and a white perch. “It is surprising to find an…

Botulism, virus, down birds on Poplar Island

Nearly 700 birds died or became very ill this summer at Poplar Island, a dredge-spoil island being built in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay that has become key habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl. More than half the birds were waterfowl that died of botulism, a nerve toxin created by the…

More adult sturgeon turning up on the Marshyhope

Groggy from a dose of anesthesia administered by biologists from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the large sturgeon nudged against my kayak on a beautiful late summer morning on Marshyhope Creek. It then swam along the surface, looking very much like the ancient species that it is…

Out & About the Chesapeake

Fossil Field Experience Did you know that the largest exposed seam of Miocene fossils in North America lies in the shoreline cliffs of Calvert County, MD? Would you like to find and identify your own fossils? Learn more through the Fossil Field Experience program at the Calvert Marine Museum.…

Aliases

Do you know the differences between a trout lily and a dogtooth violet? There are none—each is the name of the same plant. Here are two lists of what appears to be 32 plants or animals. But there are really only 16 species; each just happens to have more than one name. Can you match the…

Before we attack growth, it is necessary to define what it is

In his Growing, Growing, Gone series, Tom Horton identifies “growth” as the elephant in the room with respect to the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. Before one can either support or take issue with that contention, it is first necessary to identify what he means by…

Sonar gives scientists clearer picture of river herring runs

After spending years in the ocean, the alewives and blueback herring had at last found their way back to the Chesapeake, and were slowly working their way upstream against the Choptank River current. Like their ancestors for thousands of years, instinct drove their migration the spawning grounds…

Carved conundrums

In 1926, a team from the Maryland Academy of Sciences took a load of dynamite 10 miles up the Susquehanna River from Havre de Grace and blew up Indian Rock at Bald Friar’s Ford. They did it to save a piece of history. The rock, a mighty boulder nearly as big as an island and close to the…

Ghost fleet may go from wrecks to recreation

Don Shomette was about 10 years old in when he first encountered the “ghost fleet” of Mallows Bay. He was aboard a jon boat with his father and brother, coming down the Potomac River from a shoreline campsite in the mid-1950s. It was a gray morning. The water was churning and…

Biologists net ‘ripe’ sturgeon on Nanticoke tributary

When a crew of biologists from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hauled a gill net out of the Marshyhope Creek in late August, what they hauled in was more than the catch of the day: It may have been the catch of their careers. One of the nets contained two “ripe” —…

Bay dead zone made big comeback in August

The dead zone that largely disappeared from the Bay earlier this summer made a dramatic comeback in August when oxygen-starved water covered a much greater area of the Chesapeake than normal. Typically, the dead zone reaches its peak during early summer, when large amounts of nutrients flushed…

Scientists call for giving shad a boost – by tearing down dams

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is recommending that major investments be made for fish passages at Conowingo Dam as part of the requirements of a new license for the giant hydroelectric facility on the lower Susquehanna River. But a group of scientists say that migratory fish on the…

Intersex smallmouth bass found in all 16 PA sample sites

Smallmouth bass with eggs in their testes, a condition known as intersex, turned up at all 16 sites sampled in Pennsylvania from 2007–10, with the most severe cases coming from the Susquehanna River, according to a recent report by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. The results highlight…

Report proposes emergency management methods to deal with sea level rise

A report issued by a sub-panel of the Virginia Secure Commonwealth Panel recommended that the state adopt methods borrowed from disaster and emergency management to coordinate Virginia’s response and adaptation to recurrent flooding and sea level rise. The sub-panel’s report also…

Hop aboard history!

This summer, I decided to detour from the straight line of U.S. 13 on the way from Baltimore to Crisfield, MD. Instead of staying on the interstate, I remained on business Route 50 through Salisbury and made a right onto Nanticoke Road, then a left onto Whitehaven Road. I meandered through…

Because it is common, blue jay’s qualities are often overlooked

I pulled into the driveway and was greeted by the raucous calls of several blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) as they shied away from the car. The interruption lasted for just a moment. As I emerged from the vehicle, I could see two of the jays return to our neighbor’s yard and its towering…

Bay’s destiny will continue to spin out of control unless we take action

Losing farmland. For decades around the Chesapeake Bay that’s been as sure a bet as death and taxes. It’s a significant part of how Virginia and Pennsylvania figure to meet EPA-mandated pollution goals — because to our sorrow, modern, intensive agriculture remains a water…

Task force looking for ways to control invasive blue catfish

People may not learn to love blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay, but perhaps they will learn to love them on their plate. A draft report from a task force that spent more than a year looking for ways to deal with the large, voracious — and rapidly expanding — blue catfish population…

Proposed natural gas pipeline slices through Virginia, national forests

Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and AGL Resources announced on Tuesday the formation of a joint venture that plans to move forward with a 550-mile natural gas pipeline across Virginia and parts of two national forests. Governor Terry McAuliffe called the Atlantic Coast…

Tool would significantly cut phosphorus runoff in MD

Maryland’s proposed, but controversial, Phosphorus Management Tool would help achieve significant nutrient reductions from the state’s agricultural lands if implemented, according to an analysis by the Bay Program. The phosphorus tool, which was proposed by the state Department of…

The row less taken Maps chart paddles on small Potomac creeks

Brent Walls is the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, dedicated to helping people enjoy and protect the Potomac and the waters that flow into it. He spends a lot of time outdoors, but he has also spent time inside a mall near Martinsburg, WV, staffing an information booth during a home show. “We…

Monarch butterfly needs public’s help in its life journey

The monarch butterfly, one of the few butterflies that migrates, is easily recognized by dark orange wings with black veins and white edge spots. As the days grow shorter, the fall migration begins and millions of monarchs make their way south. This 4-inch butterfly is found throughout the…

Consider all factors before moving forward to achieve Bay goals

The Bay Program has taken the first big step toward accountability and adaptive management with the new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, in which the partners have clearly stated what we hope to accomplish. Now we need to specify how we intend to achieve these goals. We are at the point where…

Letters to the Editor

Where’s eel fishing data? I read with interest “Scientists find shockingly good news about eels in PA river,” (October 2013) by Karl Blankenship. It was typical of the high level of reporting in the Bay Journal, which I have read for years, and which I value. I was dismayed,…

Public comment critical to draft Bay pact

Development of a new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement is moving into the final phase, as jurisdictions were to submit their input regarding the latest draft of the document in December. Officials hope to have a revised agreement that will go out for 45 days of public comment in late January or…

Draft of next Bay agreement omits toxics goal, mention of climate change

Next year, 20 years after approving a strategy that called for a “Bay free of toxics,” the Chesapeake Executive Council might settle for something else: a Bay agreement free of any reference to toxics. Controlling toxic pollution has been an issue for the Chesapeake since the EPA…

Bay crabs disappearing in the water – and on restaurant plates

Recently, I had lunch with a chef friend of mine, one of the very best, who thinks keenly and constantly about the relationship between environmental sustainability and the way we eat. This chef has a strong commitment to sourcing foods locally —and has kept at it even as that notion has…

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