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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

The birding novice

The first time I wrote about birding for a local newspaper in Washington State, my friends were scared to ride with me for a few weeks. Every time I saw a bird from behind the steering wheel, I would point and exclaim its breed, “Peregrine falcon! Ferrari of the flats!” while nearly…

Bay scientists report smallest July ‘dead zone’ on record

Unseasonably cool temperatures and an Independence Day hurricane teamed up to produce the the smallest July “dead zone” in 30 years of Chesapeake Bay monitoring, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Department scientists reported earlier that the amount of…

DC youth get of taste of fishing, water ecology, shad roe

Twelve-year-old Natalie Bacchus cast her line like a fly-fishing pro into a freshly stocked section of the C&O Canal. But that didn’t mean she wanted to touch the one-pound catfish she reeled in. “It’s exciting when you catch one,” Bacchus said as she let Matt…

Toxic conversation: Panel addresses contaminants in local waterways

Chemical spills in West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia this year have brought toxics to the forefront of discussions about common pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay, even though each of them occurred just outside the watershed. A panel discussion on toxics and water quality at the Choose…

Islands of wilderness in Chesapeake region offer escape

Anyone who’s walked along a quiet Bay shore or felt miles away from others while on a deep forest hike or long river kayak paddle knows the subtle thrill of feeling far from civilization. These tiny glimpses of wilderness in the Bay region may be rare and fleeting, but for the hiker or…

Terrapins view crab pots as playgrounds, not death traps

If it were a reality show, it might have been called “Real Terrapin Behavior in Virginia.” For weeks this spring, biologists filmed and watched the 24/7 exploits of groups of diamondback terrapin turtles that were rotated through one-week stints in an 18-foot water tank. Fortunately,…

Lawmakers urge Obama administration to act against deceptively labeled crab meat

A bipartisan group of Virginia and Maryland lawmakers is urging the Obama administration to protect the Bay blue crab industry from deceptively labeled seafood. President Obama on June 17 issued a memorandum creating a Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated…

Figures show continued growth in Virginia oyster production

Preliminary estimates put Virginia’s oyster harvest during the last year at 504,000 bushels, a 25 percent increase over the previous year and the most harvested since the 1987–88 season. Estimates from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission show that harvests on public oyster…

A cookout for a cause

It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re eating a soft-shell crab coated in cornmeal and Old Bay. Or a scoop of fresh lemon ice cream from Prigel Creamery, where the cows roam on the range just outside the Baltimore Beltway. Or fried goat cheese atop a salad of local pears and…

Despite higher score, Baltimore waterways still get failing grade

Baltimore’s harbor and the streams that feed into it again merited a failing grade on their 2013 annual report card, indicating the waters around the metro area suffer from continued loads of nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and garbage. The report card, which is part of the Healthy Harbor…

Bay had smallest ‘dead zone’ on record for early July

Hurricane Arthur may have produced a rainy 4th of July for beachgoers, but its winds brought some good news for Chesapeake Bay water quality. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported that the oxygen-starved dead zone observed in early July was the smallest for that period seen in…

Urban Waters grants going to Anacostia, Patapsco watersheds

Three projects benefitting the Anacostia Watershed in the District of Columbia and Maryland will benefit from $1.2 million in EPA grants to revitalize urban waterways. A project in Baltimore that benefits the Patapsco Watershed also will benefit from this round of urban-focused grants. In the…

Dog Days

Ever heard the phrase, “the dog days” of summer and wondered what it meant? In the time of the ancient Greek and Romans, dog days referred to the time of the year when the star Sirius (or Dog Star) — the brightest star in the night sky and part of the Canis Major (or Large Dog)…

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Once called the Chesapeake Bay ducking dog, today’s Chesapeake Bay retriever has expanded its reputation and is noted for its intelligence and skills in field trials, hunt tests, conformation, obedience, agility and tracking, as well as being a protective family pet. How much do you know…

Setting the Record Straight on Waters of the US

There’s been some confusion about EPA’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule under the Clean Water Act, especially in the agriculture community, and we want to make sure you know the facts. We know that we haven’t had the best relationship with the agriculture…

Map: Chesapeake Bay manure use vs. the rest of the country

Compared to the rest of the nation, the Chesapeake Bay region is a heavy user of manure as fertilizer. That’s largely because of the Delmarva Peninsula’s large chicken industry, and because animal agriculture is a staple of both Pennsylvania and Virginia. Because of the mix of animal…

Map: Chesapeake Bay chicken legacy intact

This map shows that a key part of the Chesapeake Bay’s agricultural legacy remains intact: chicken broilers on the Delmarva Peninsula. The map shows one dot for every 2 million broiler chickens in the country left the middle and western parts of the country almost entirely blank and showed…

Census: Farmland growing in Bay states

After decades of decline, one resource in the Bay watershed is making a comeback — farmland. Figures from the most recent agricultural census from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that the Bay watershed gained about 125,000 acres of agricultural land between 2007 and 2012,…

DC’s hatchery seeks to restore shad to Anacostia

On a warm afternoon in early May, a group of biologists from the District of Columbia’s Department of the Environment could be seen leaning over the side of a boat, tipping the contents of a clear bag into the Anacostia River. The bag was filled with tiny shad larvae, freshly spawned and…

The Chesapeake Bay’s pollution diet, and my own

Tomorrow’s Midday on the Bay show is going to be a little bit different. I’m going to be getting personal with the thousands of people who listen every month. I’ll be talking about how I lost 40 pounds. Twice. What does that have to do with the Chesapeake Bay? For decades, we…

Halfway house for hikers

The Appalachian Trail was conceived in the 1920s as a getaway that would allow East Coast city dwellers to flee to the trail, and trailside communities, to recover from their stressed lives. Nearly a century later, it appears that’s needed more than ever. Between 2 million to 3 million…

War of 1812’s ghost battlefields

Everyone lives on the landscape, in one form or another. Some pause long enough to look at it; a few spend their lives looking deeply through its surface to see what others miss. Ed Seufert is in the last category. I met Ed during my latest wanderings on the Star-Spangled Banner National…

From urban eyesore to awesome escape

The driver of our pontoon boat cut the motor as we ducked into a marsh branching off the Anacostia River. Here, the murmur of the city gave way to chirping birds and the greening landscape of Kenilworth Marsh, the only freshwater tidal wetland on the river that has remained largely intact over…

Slow steam ahead

Drive up to Schnaitman’s Boat Rentals in Wye Mills, MD, and it’s as if you stepped back in time. Even on a windy day, the Wye River is calm. Couples from New Jersey and Pennsylvania idle away the day in skiffs and rowboats, crab traps and lines overboard, hoping to catch some dinner.…

Swell shells

If you pull a fan-shaped shell from a stream in southeastern Virginia this summer — especially if that stream lies east of Interstate 95 — pay attention. You may have found the trace of an ocean ecosystem that covered the Virginia coastal plain 4.5 million years ago. Officially…

Fones Cliff-hanger

Capt. John Smith may, or may not have been the first “tourist” to see Fones Cliffs on the Rappahannock River; there were Spaniards in the Chesapeake before him. But he was the first that we know of who wrote about them. On Aug. 19, 1608, Smith and a dozen crewmen sailed up the river…

Not enough done to curb phosphorus in water, reports say

Pollution from agriculture — particularly phosphorus from chicken manure — continues to choke several Eastern Shore rivers, and regulators are not doing enough to monitor concentrations coming from farms, according to two new reports released Monday. The reports are called…

Rappahannock River Valley

Visitors to the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge may experience this linear refuge in any number of ways, depending upon who — or what — they are. For some, the refuge represents outdoors recreation opportunities for all ages and all abilities provided by the access…

She’s a mother hen when it comes to defending chicken rights

Washington, D.C.—The young mother passing the White House stopped to read the arresting big posters spread along the grassy edge of adjacent Lafayette Park. “Be glad you’re not a chicken,” she said to her child. It was a perfect, mid-Atlantic spring day, trees freshly…

Getting a handle on slippery eel’s population can help Bay’s

When you hear the word “eel,” what comes to mind? For many, eels are repulsive, slimy creatures to be avoided. But to fishermen and crabbers, eels are an important commodity, either as bait or exported as a delicacy. Whatever you may think of them, eels are extraordinary fish,…

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