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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

Loss of tax incentives could doom super-efficient heating/cooling system

Getting a household, school, office building or any other enclosed structure comfortably heated and cooled can be an energy-intensive proposition in the mid-Atlantic states, where winter temperatures can fall well below freezing and summer days can feel like a steam room. But a little known type…

Changes loom for Maryland’s oyster management

Maryland is preparing to change the way it manages oysters in its portion of the Chesapeake Bay – though what changes state managers will make and where they will make them remain to be seen. Next week, the Department of Natural Resources is expected to release its assessment of the…

Dominion seeks to build VA gas pipeline across preserved lands

A natural gas pipeline proposed to cross Virginia could cut through 10 different conservation easements set aside in the state. Dominion, the Richmond-based energy company, is leading a group of four firms in seeking federal approval to build a 600-mile pipeline to supply gas to utilities in…

Can what’s good for the Chesapeake reap benefits for farms?

If Trey Hill ever gets bored managing more than 10,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and a range of cover crops, he can cue up footage of the farm’s resident ospreys on his MacBook Pro. Hill did just that as he entered his sparsely decorated office during a recent visit, more proud of the…

Robins & blossoms & snakes, oh my! A natural garden has room for all

Providing habitat for numerous species of wildlife is a critically important to keep the environment functioning properly. And, it’s absolutely crucial to our well-being. Without the variety of services provided by wildlife, the environment simply cannot work as it should. For example,…

Dolphins making a splash in rivers near Annapolis

Dolphins are a frequent sight for summer beachgoers along the Mid-Atlantic coast, but they’ve been spotted recently far up the Chesapeake Bay – farther, in fact than many can recall seeing them in quite some time. As I reported in the July issue of the Bay Journal, the marine…

Dolphins more common in Potomac than previously thought

A waterfront house on Virginia’s Northern Neck promised to be a getaway for Janet Mann from three decades of studying dolphins, primarily in Australia’s Shark Bay. But the day after Mann and her husband closed on the place in Ophelia, VA, four years ago, she spied an all-too-familiar…

Soak in the charm of West Virginia’s Berkeley Springs

Hundreds of visitors come to Berkeley Springs, WV, every year with empty water jugs, rolled-up pant legs and plans for relaxation. Here, they “take the waters” by drinking or dipping in the 74-degree springs that drew George Washington here for quiet colonial era retreats.…

As wavyleaf basketgrass spreads, scientist urges prevention, rapid attacks on new toeholds

Hikers and hunters who visit forests in the late summer and fall beware: If you encounter wavyleaf basketgrass, the extremely sticky seeds of the invasive forest floor plant can hitch a ride on your socks, denim and fleece, and be redeposited in the next forest you visit. And your clothing could…

Reporters wanted to cover Chesapeake Bay issues, especially those affecting local governments

The Bay Journal, a monthly newspaper specializing in Chesapeake Bay issues, is looking to expand its coverage, especially of Bay issues as they relate to local government and community involvement in Chesapeake cleanup and restoration efforts. We are seeking reporters to find and write about…

House votes to restrict EPA oversight power in Bay cleanup

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to take action against states that fall short of meeting their Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals. The Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill includes an…

Bay ‘dead zone’ was second smallest on record for late June

Fish, crabs and other aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay are literally getting more breathing room this summer. Recent monitoring shows that the size of the oxygen-starved “dead zone” in late June was the second smallest since 1985, when the Baywide monitoring program began. The…

MD Natural Resources Police face increasing duties without budget to match

Brandon Davis doesn’t like something about the boat cruising through Kent Narrows. The Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer First Class has noticed the small craft has no fishing gear on board. It’s a cloudy, on-and-off rain day. The only other boats out are fishing charter…

Charles County Board OKs new comprehensive plan with better protection of Mattawoman Creek

The Charles County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday narrowly approved a new comprehensive plan aimed at providing more protection to the Mattawoman Creek, regarded as one of the Maryland’s healthiest waterways. Much of the once-rural county has been developed over the last 25 years as…

More sturgeon turn up in Bay, raising new questions – and worry

For years, scientists thought there might not be any native Atlantic sturgeon in the Chesapeake Bay. That idea changed in recent years, as biologists began netting hundreds of adults in the James River, and others began turning up in other tributaries. Now, genetic analyses show the Chesapeake…

When an Eastern phoebe is hungry for insects, it just wings it

I stood off to the side, leaning against the car, while Pat chatted at the wash station after picking up our weekly share of vegetables. She was focused on friends and fresh produce, but my eyes were on the bird that sallied off a fence post and back again, its tail constantly flicking. The hot…

Wastewater treatment plants meet Bay goals 10 years early

The challenges facing the Chesapeake restoration effort often seem daunting, but recent data provide some good news: One group of polluters has done more than its share so far to clean up its act. Sewage treatment plants in the watershed have upgraded their operations so much that they are…

Maryland bans sale of 3 ornamental invasive plants, more to come

Maryland is stepping up the fight against ecosystem-altering nonnative plants by banning the sale of three aggressively spreading ornamentals and requiring that warnings be posted next to retail displays of five others sold in garden stores and nurseries. The sales bans for shining cranesbill,…

Hogan calls for innovative ideas to address Conowingo Dam dilemma

Maryland officials are turning to the public for innovative ideas they may have about how to solve one of the region’s most vexing problems — figuring out what to do about the sediment stored behind the Conowingo Dam. Gov. Larry Hogan last week announced the formation of a working…

Bay grasses make a comeback but annual survey is in jeopardy

It is still early, but scientists’ hopes are high that this year will produce a bumper crop of underwater meadows in the Chesapeake Bay. After last year’s aerial survey documented a record 91,631 acres of submerged grasses spread over the Bay bottom, many think a new record for one…

Susquehanna petroglyphs find a home near their original site

Five fragmented stones, with shallow carvings made by American Indians, were given a new home this spring at Susquehanna State Park in Havre de Grace, MD. Their arrival at the park is a reunion of sorts, but not for the stones themselves. The fragments, or petroglyphs, were once part of a large…

Living on the edge amid ever-changing landscape where land, water meet

Some days, you hit it right. I offer into evidence Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Towing a fine-mesh net for plankton in a Virginia inlet, our apparatus was fairly clogged with red-fringed clam worms, bottom dwellers summoned by the new moon from their homes in the dark sediments to wriggle and mate, then…

Keep current on lightning!

Time for a brainstorm. Take this quiz to enlighten yourself about lightning. 1. Which is the study of lightning? A. Astralogy B. Brontology C. Fulminology D. Nimbusvoltology 2. Who is seven times more likely to be struck by lightning? A. Females B. Males 3. Which of these is the fear…

Crediting agricultural non-cost share practices in the Bay Program’s watershed model

Have you heard the terms “voluntary agricultural practices” or “non-cost-shared practices?” They refer to agricultural conservation practices that are neither paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Farm Bill programs nor state and county agencies through…

Crabbers, scientists seeing more, larger blue crabs this spring

C. J. Canby nosed his dead-rise, the Miss Paula, from its berth in Bodkin Creek toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Even though it had rained for almost three weeks, the water was like glass. In a few hours, he would touch seahorses. In a couple of days, he would see a baby crab — fairly…

Second Western Maryland town council OKs fracking ban

Citing concerns that Maryland’s ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas might be lifted in 2017, the town council of Friendsville, MD, voted 5-1 Tuesday to prohibit fracking within its borders. The town is the fourth locality in the state to ban fracking and the second to do so in…

Hogan administration eyes relaxing Maryland farm pollution regulation

Maryland agriculture officials said Tuesday they are looking to relax a four-year-old regulation aimed at reducing farm runoff pollution into the Chesapeake Bay after farmers and some municipal sewage agencies complained about the costs of complying. The regulation, which took effect July 1,…

Iconic Indian site on Bay purchased by National Park Service

An important American Indian site on the York River in Virginia, lost to historians for centuries, has been purchased by the National Park Service as part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The 264-acre tract on Purtan Bay in Gloucester County — where more than…

Paddling on the Sassafrass River shows off the Bay that was

If Capt. John Smith could come back to retrace his Chesapeake journeys in the early 1600s, he might find portions of Foreman Creek much as he saw it four centuries ago. On this murky tributary of the Sassafras River, trees hug the shores, and lush green beds of wild rice blanket the shallows.…

Delmarva down to its last few nutria thanks to eradication project

There is a light at the end of the tunnel as the fight to eradicate nutria from the Delmarva Peninsula nears the final phases. Nutria, South American aquatic rodents about the size of small beavers, were introduced to the Maryland part of the peninsula in the 1940s for fur trading. Since their…

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