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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

Oil sheen on Potomac near DC under investigation

Federal, state and local authorities are investigating an oil sheen first reported Wednesday that at one time covered an 8-mile stretch of the Potomac River just south of Washington, D.C. The oil sheen does not pose a health threat at this time, but responders are on the lookout for wildlife…

Latest ‘Bay Barometer’ shows uneven restoration progress

Migratory fish have more rivers in the Bay to swim, and underwater grass beds are growing, but streamside forest plantings and wetland restoration have lagged badly in recent years, a new report from the state-federal Chesapeake Bay Program shows. Its Bay Barometer, an annual assessment of the…

Corps shifts funds for halted MD oyster project to VA

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted the Hogan administration’s request to halt an oyster restoration project in the Tred Avon River, risking future federal funding for an ambitious effort to carry out a large-scale revival of the Chesapeake Bay’s iconic but depleted…

Chart your route with a virtual tour

Outside, the wind is rattling cold rain against my windows. But inside, I’m warm enough and thinking of my kayak, spring breezes, a serene stretch of river and the next section of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail that I want to explore. But which section? I’m…

MD, VA lawmakers grapple with Bay-related issues

From poultry manure to menhaden, coal ash to climate change, Maryland and Virginia lawmakers are grappling this year with a bevy of touchy issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay. In Maryland, activists’ top legislative priorities include several bills that failed to pass in prior years,…

Maryland court revives water pollution lawsuit against state

Property owners may be entitled to compensation if the state government fails to act to halt pollution that is a “known and longstanding public health hazard,” Maryland’s highest court has ruled. In a case that advocates say puts the state on notice to enforce environmental…

EPA posts draft 2016-17 milestones on website

Bay Jurisdictions have started submitting their draft  2016-17 “milestones,” which establish nutrient reduction goals and program activities they plan to undertake through the end of next year, to the Environmental Protection Agency for review. The EPA is posting the draft…

Sen. Middleton named Bay Commission chair

Maryland Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton was recently elected as chair for 2016 of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, an advisory panel that represents the state legislatures of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Middleton takes over leadership from Virginia Del. Scott Lingamfelter, a…

US Fish and Wildlife Service creates urban internships

In an effort to diversify both the staff and visitors to national wildlife refuges, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has partnered with the Hispanic Access Foundation to fund seven internship positions this summer. The positions will be based at wildlife refuges in the northeast region close…

Maryland moves toward suing oil industry over ground water contamination

Following the lead of several other states, Maryland is preparing to sue the oil industry for the costs of cleaning up a one-time gasoline additive that’s contaminated   water across the state. Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved Wednesday a plan by Attorney General…

Getting Livie About Oysters

From Jonathan Swift to M.F.K. Fisher, Ernest Hemingway to Anton Chekhov, writers of the world have long been enamored with the oysters of the world. What is it about these morsels of the sea that so captivates us? As Swift once famously said, “It was a bold man who first ate an…

Hoover slept here; FDR slept there

The stress of being president has driven our nation’s leaders to places of privacy and renewal since the earliest days of the nation — and in many cases, these places have been in the woods, or by fields and streams, where the land and vistas nourish and revive. Camp David in the…

The long and short view of Chesapeake Bay’s inhabited islands

A few autumns ago, I took the students in my Chesapeake Bay class at Salisbury University to Smith Island to discuss how rising seas, accelerated by a warming climate, will threaten such low-lying communities before the end of this century. I didn’t have to teach much that day. An…

Frostbite

The weather outside is frightful, but snow is so delightful to play in! Be sure to dress properly. Warm, dry mittens or gloves on one’s hands and footgear will help to prevent frostbite and related conditions. Take this quiz and you’ll learn why you should take these conditions…

MD’s tough phosphorus tool may be joined by revisions of other Bay states

Maryland’s Phosphorus Management Tool imposes the toughest restrictions on how farmers apply and handle manure on their fields of all the Chesapeake Bay watershed states. But maybe not for long, as the other states are looking at revising their phosphorus limits as a result of new research…

Precision conservation: mapping the watershed meter by meter

A handful of young computer professionals, most fresh out of college or graduate school, work at stand-up workstations, or sit, using ergonomic ‘balance balls’ as chairs. They peer intently at screens checkered with aerial images of farms, forests and subdivisions. Here, in a…

‘Months not weeks’ before Dominion drains coal ash ponds, and lawsuits likely

Dominion Virginia Power could begin draining two coal-ash ponds into Chesapeake Bay tributaries any day now, following a state board’s approval last week. But officials from the power company say it will be months, not weeks, before designs for treating and dewatering the ponds will be…

CBF,  U.S. Justice ask Supreme Court to rebuff challenge to Chesapeake pollution diet

The Obama administration and environmental groups want the Supreme Court to rebuff a legal challenge to the Chesapeake Bay “pollution diet,” arguing that lower courts have properly backed federal regulators in setting cleanup goals for the six states in the Bay watershed. The…

Land cover data getting closer to the real world

In 2011, regional planners in Virginia found that the way the Bay Program’s computer models assigned land use often didn’t reflect what they saw when they looked out the window. For example, the model said that there were confined animal feeding operations in the resort city of…

Turning kayakers into happy campers

Ralph Heimlich is a kayaker and Chesapeake Bay enthusiast who hates to put down his paddle. So when the cold days of the new year stall his watery sojourns, Heimlich does the next best thing: He plans paddle trips for spring. “We call it armchair paddling,” Heimlich said. As…

It’s time to put more focus on watershed’s healthy streams

Most people understand, intuitively, that the ability to clean up the Chesapeake Bay is dependent on what we accomplish in its 64,000-square-mile watershed. The watershed is the primary focus for the improvements (best management practices) that make up the complex strategies that government…

Chill out this winter – but not too much!

Hypothermia isn’t cool! If your body loses heat faster than it can produce it for a prolonged period, vital organs and the nervous system start to malfunction. If symptoms are allowed to go too far, death will result. Here is a quiz that includes symptoms to recognize hypothermia when it is…

Trading ideas on how to trade pollution

Nutrient trading is likely coming to Maryland soon. Federal and state regulators are hoping that the state will have the most robust and well-verified program in the country. It will, they hope, serve as a model for other states and regions interested in nutrient trading. At a nutrient trading…

Breaking: Dominion’s permit to drain coal ash ponds into local waters approved

The Virginia State Water Control Board approved Thursday Dominion Virginia Power’s permits to drain defunct coal ash ponds into nearby waterways at two sites in the state. The Possum Point power station is near Quantico and will be drained into a tributary of the Potomac River and the Bremo…

Watermen seek, win, halt in Tred Avon oyster restoration project

Maryland’s ambitious effort to restore its depleted oyster population has hit a snag, as watermen critical of the effort succeeded in at halting construction of new oyster reefs this winter in an Eastern Shore river. Acting after three watermen met with Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford,…

Food, forests, shade, carbon, and rain—Trees are good for all

In 2015, the Bay Journal took a close look at agroforestry, one of many promising practices aimed at planting and maintaining more trees in the Chesapeake watershed. Agroforestry is a land use in which trees or shrubs are planted in conjunction with crops or pastures, often as a way of growing…

Loch Raven stuns close to home

So this is embarrassing. I’ve lived in Baltimore for 15 years. Until last weekend, I’d never been to the Loch Raven Reservoir. Oh, I’d driven by it, many times. I’ve watched people bike over the Dulaney Valley Bridge, fish over its banks, photograph the beautiful…

Gardens & getaways, mills & museums

After a long holiday with big meals and lots of lounging about, it is good to get out on a clear winter’s day and take a walk. One place you might not consider is along the Anacostia River and its many feeder streams. But you would be missing out. There are few other places in the…

The marketplace: good for widgets, bad for our waterways

Robert Wieland’s recent forum piece, “Amount of pollution, not cost should determine trading’s worthiness,” (December 2014) supported the use of market-based water pollution trading approaches in the Bay, arguing that paying his widget factory neighbor to reduce pollution…

Unseen, unheard – ghostly barn owls haunt nocturnal fields

We were headed back to the city after another day on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The road was pitch black, wet with the rain that had pushed through the Delmarva earlier in the day. Dark shapes of leafless oaks and looming pines, pierced by our headlights, quickly reverted to silent sentinels…

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