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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 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…

Bay cleanup effort could use a strategic plan like that for the Baltic Sea

It is hard to believe, but it has been 16 years since I contributed a commentary, “Bay has a lot to learn from European efforts to reduce nutrients,” to the Bay Journal (March 2000). I noted, in particular, the efforts of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, widely…

Pennsylvania parks development bill not dead yet

Legislation that would open the door to private development in Pennsylvania parks may get another life, even though it was killed earlier this week. The Pennsylvania House on Tuesday voted 123-77 to reject a bill that would have allowed development of hotels, golf courses and even amusement…

Maryland weighs delay, changes in farm pollution regulation

Maryland agriculture officials are weighing the delay or easing a 4-year-old regulation aimed at curbing farm pollution of the Chesapeake Bay after farmers and municipal sewage treatment plant operators said they need more time to comply – or want out from under it altogether.…

Passing health grade still out of reach for Anacostia River

The Anacostia River may no longer be “forgotten,” but it is still extremely degraded, according to a report released Wednesday by the Anacostia Watershed Society. The Society’s annual report card handed the river that runs through Maryland and the District of Columbia a failing…

Pa. lawmakers reject bill to open state parks to private development

The Pennsylvania House soundly rejected Tuesday legislation that could have led to state parks with privately developed and run hotels and even amusement parks. The proposal failed on a 77-123 vote, despite the sponsor offering a significantly watered down version of the bill late Monday.…

Fracking debate begins anew in Maryland

The debate over “fracking” has begun anew in Maryland. State regulators recently announced they were beginning to draft new regulations for extracting natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, which they plan to release this summer. That triggered an outcry, signaling a likely showdown…

Measures to curtail nutrients, sediment also removing toxics

A small rain garden in the yard or a big stormwater pond at a commercial site may both be doing double duty when it comes to making the Bay and its tributaries safer for fish and other aquatic life. Stormwater controls aimed at reducing nutrient and sediment pollution in the Bay can also curtail…

Trash effort taking its message to Baltimore streets, sidewalks

The mural painted on the sidewalk shouts, “Keep it Clean!” in bubble letters adorned with daisies. The sidewalk around it, though, is anything but. A giant cardboard box, which once contained a sofa lounge, obscures most of the mural. Plastic bags float into it with the wind. Trash…

John Smith Chesapeake Trail celebrates 10 years

As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of a national park we have right here in our collective backyard, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Winding through much of the Chesapeake region, I believe the…

CDC launches nationwide reporting system for harmful algae blooms

Saying that hazardous algae blooms seem to be increasing in frequency and severity, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a national registry for reporting outbreaks, along with tips on how people can spot them and protect themselves and their pets. “Harmful…

Cycling from Annapolis to York on the East Coast Greenway

Mid-morning, mid-April. Traffic’s crawling as we depart from Annapolis near U.S. 50. We can count on the Orioles home game later today to snarl roads as we pass through Baltimore. North of the city, homebound commuters will reliably choke Interstate 83 as we continue to our destination in…

MD bow-fishing tournament for cownose rays renews controversy

A New York-based hunting group is forging ahead this weekend with a bow-hunting tournament on the Chesapeake Bay for cownose rays, despite a public outcry over similar events. American Bowhunters, based in Pleasantville, vowed to keep their tournament scheduled for 6 a.m. Sunday at the…

High school students in college-level lab take on Bay-size studies

Originally, Virginia Pan wanted to see if horseshoe crabs would be bothered by having a bit of their blue blood drawn in a high school classroom. The 18-year-old at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA, had a soft spot for the shelled creatures and wanted to…

Entrepreneurs to build large private oyster hatchery in MD

A group of Maryland entrepreneurs is planning to build the state’s first large private oyster hatchery in decades, a move they say will both boost and diversify the burgeoning aquaculture industry. They have also agreed to work with Morgan State University, which has a small hatchery at…

You might never see DC’s official bird, but hearing it could be just enough

It’s breeding season, and the District of Columbia’s official bird, the wood thrush, is back in town. Its unusually beautiful call begins just before dawn and can be heard throughout the day in Rock Creek Park and other heavily wooded areas. It’s understandable if you think…

Their mouths say all there is to say about these birds’ diets

A bird’s beak and mouth say a lot about the bird without uttering a single tweet. Can you match each bird here with the description of its beak or bill? Answers are below. NORTHERN CARDINAL HOODED MERGANSER NORTHERN SHOVELER RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER RED CROSSBILL RED-TAILED HAWK…

Nitrogen pollution reductions lagging, EPA warns

The Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort has fallen behind by almost 25 percent in reducing a key pollutant because of lagging progress in Pennsylvania and New York, federal regulators warned Friday. The Bay cleanup plan imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency at the end of 2010 had called for…

Pups and circumstantial evidence

For a lot of Bay region schools, Friday was Graduation Day. So it was for Rider, Ruckus and Harbor, the first to finish the Maryland Natural Resources Police’s new canine training program. The dogs perform crucial work. Over the years, NRP spokeswoman Candus Thomson said, they have…

Study finds legacy of leaking among coal ash ponds

Inactive coal ash impoundments are leaking toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater and surface waters in five Southeastern states, according to a new study. Duke University researchers reported that data show high levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic and selenium, in the surface water…

Dominion assures draining of ash ponds will protect local waters

As planned, Dominion Virginia Power has begun a months-long draining of coal ash lagoons into a tributary of the Potomac River and into the James River after agreeing to enhanced treatment of the water discharged at both sites. The company began drawing water on May 9 from its impoundment at the…

Virginia governor pressed on support for gas pipelines, offshore drilling

Environmental and social justice activists, frustrated by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s support for new natural gas pipelines in the state, are pressing him to change his mind, and vowing to stage a protest march next month to the governor’s mansion in Richmond. Chesapeake Climate…

Long slog ahead for new attempt to move shad past Conowingo, other dams

Leon Senft remembers a time when he and other fishermen lined the shore of the Susquehanna River below the Conowingo Dam and hooked American shad almost as fast as they could cast their lines in the churning water. “We really had a bonanza there for a while,” recalled Senft, 85,…

Swim in rivers, streams at (mostly) your own risk

Before you take a dip in a stream or river to cool off this summer, be aware that a conservation group is warning that virtually none of those freshwater bodies in the Bay region or nationwide is being adequately checked for bacterial and other contamination. While officially designated swimming…

Average ‘dead zone’ expected this summer, despite clearer water

Recent dry conditions have helped produce clearer water in many areas of the Bay, but it appears they won’t make it much easier for fish, crabs and other aquatic organisms to breathe in the Chesapeake this summer. Scientists predict that the low-oxygen “dead zone” will affect…

Bernie’s feet lead the way in another Patuxent River wade-in

Bernie Fowler’s 29th annual Patuxent River Wade-In began Sunday with great optimism. There were prayers, the National Anthem, a beautiful sunny day and a crowd of more than 200 relatives, friends and legislators on hand to see firsthand how clear the water was. The news has been good…

Paddlers rally in Baltimore to press for harbor cleanup

They came by canoe, kayak, dragon boat, even paddleboard. More than 250 people paddled from different parts of Baltimore to meet in the Inner Harbor and rally for clean water. “Fix the pipes, fix the pipes,” they chanted. Drones circled overhead to photograph the same message,…

Finding the best restoration project can be upstream battle

“This is Reedy Creek,” Bill Shanabruch said, idling his stick shift on a bridge that overlooks a 50-foot-wide concrete channel covering the path where a stream once bent. At its center, lush grasses and cattails were springing from the sediment that had collected since the city of…

Raising awareness about the Bay

The calendar is chock-full of weeks designated to honor teachers, secretaries, nurses and firefighters; other weeks have been set aside to raise awareness about everything from air quality to the zika virus. But when some Chesapeake Bay region lawmakers discovered there was no official week…

It’s a zoo out there, but to the black-crowned night heron, it’s home

We pulled off congested, six-lane Connecticut Avenue and less than two minutes later found ourselves in an unexpected oasis. The National Zoo in Washington, DC, is just steps from one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, but its 163 acres sit adjacent to the 1,754-acre Rock Creek Park. It is…

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