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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

Gas export plant wins key federal approval

A plan to put a liquefied natural gas export terminal in the Chesapeake Bay just overcame its last major hurdle. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last night announced it was giving Dominion Resources permission to site, construct and operate the Cove Point liquefied natural gas export…

Heavenly landscapes

Newtowne Neck is one of those places where there is still far more land than people. The priests who settled here in 1668 came for just that reason. The club-shaped peninsula of Newtowne Neck protrudes from the north shore of the Potomac River about six miles south of Leonardtown in St.…

Science, not politics, should guide Clean Water Act clarification

Fresh water is our most precious natural resource, as essential to life as the air we breathe. Fortunately, most of us in the United States don’t have to give it much thought. But news of several water emergencies this year should shake us out of complacency. On Aug. 2, nearly a…

Wildlife is closer than you think when you know where to look

The Chesapeake Bay watershed encompasses 64,000 square miles where more than 17 million people live and work. That translates into roads, parking lots, malls, schools, houses and office buildings. In this increasingly concrete world, we need wild places to explore and discover nature. These…

Bays’ blue crab harvest picks up momentum after late start

The blue crab harvest, which was dismal in April and May when the season began, appears to be improving. Restaurants in the Chesapeake Bay region are reporting they have crabs to serve in September, and expect the run will continue until the season ends in early December. Steve Vilnit, seafood…

State regulation of animal feeding operations remains uneven

The change from state permits for large animal feeding operations to more comprehensive federal ones has not been easy for states in the watershed. The difficulty stemmed from a 2008 regulation, long in the works at EPA, that changed the definition of a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.…

States commit to specific Chesapeake restoration goals

Bay cleanup leaders in June agreed to sweeping goals to improve habitat, reduce pollution, protect land and better engage citizens throughout the region. Now, they are figuring out how to make that happen. The first step came in September, as each state and federal agency decided which of the…

Delmarva fox squirrel removed from endangered list

The Delmarva fox squirrel, which has been endangered since 1967, is coming off the list. The squirrel, which has slowly been reappearing in the forests and farmland along the Eastern Shore after an aggressive transfer program, has recovered enough for wildlife officials to declare it no longer…

Deep, dark secret paradise

I’ve always favored sinuousity, the curve in the path, the bend in the river, the course less straightjacketed. With Chesapeake creeks like the one we’re paddling today, it’s the meanders that give us marshes and beauty, infuse our travels with what philosopher George Santayana…

Latin is alive & kicking in the natural world

The bird known as the great blue heron in English-speaking countries is known as the grand héron bleu in areas of the world that speak French. But to scientists all over the world, the bird is known by its Latin name, Ardea herodias. Each living organism is given a two-part Latin name…

Sport, commercial fishermen differ over striped bass options

For years, striped bass were a textbook example of successful fishery management. After a dramatic population crash in the early 1980s, a painful harvest moratorium was put in place. As hoped, the population rebounded. By 1995, it was declared “recovered” — and even then the…

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…

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