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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

Public access authorities preserving coastal access in VA

State Road 110 in Gloucester County ends in a small parking lot, crowded in between modest homes to one side and Belvins Seafood warehouse on the other. There’s parking for eight cars, a boat ramp and a commercial wharf that’s recently been expanded to accommodate up to 15 boats.…

Virginia Environmental Symposium gives Bay Journal writer optimisim

Every April for the last 25 years, environmental professionals have gathered at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA, to get current with conservation efforts, policies and regulations, industry innovations, academic insights, and restoration activities that affect the…

Cherry blossoms bring tourists, loads of trash to D.C.

My husband and I had just flown back into Reagan National Airport in Alexandria on Sunday afternoon to be greeted by the cherry blossoms — and tourism season — in full bloom. It's a lovely sight, if you're not stuck in a taxi trying to get home.  When we did finally make…

Virginia attorney general backs EPA in Bay cleanup

Virginia has become the first state to side with the Environmental Protection Agency in the ongoing legal challenge of the agency’s authority to establish the Bay cleanup plan. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Feb. 9 filed a friend of the court brief saying that the agency had…

Rein in the Rain!

April showers bring May flowers, but they can also bring stormwater runoff. With a little effort and planning, though, those flowers can help to stem runoff when planted in a rain garden. It is estimated that a rain garden can absorb 30 percent more water than a conventional lawn of the same size.…

Core sediments reveal when a wetter Bay was wildly healthier

It’s common knowledge that the healthy Chesapeake Bay described by John Smith in 1608 was greener, its forest extending across more than 90 percent of its six-state watershed. Less appreciated is how much soggier, boggier, swampier and wetter that good, green watershed was. Beavers that…

Upper James Water Trail

At the request of their guide, John Mays of Twin River Outfitters, the paddlers pulled over to a scrap of beach on the James River just below a short cobble-strewn rapid. Across the river, a floodplain abutted the steep rise of a mountain. Buchanan, VA, was only a few bends upriver, but it…

With river in his blood, Fred Tutman stands his ground wholeheartedly

Fred Tutman’s office’s backyard features a postcard-perfect view of his beloved Patuxent River. Clumps of brown spatterdock are turning tan, creating a lovely marshy look as the late afternoon sun dips. Boats glide through the channel, their captains waving as they pass. The first…

Maryland’s Program Open Space takes cuts, avoids a cap

Maryland’s Program Open Space limped out of state legislature conferences on Monday after it avoided a cap that would have restricted how much the state would have to spend on land conservation, but with a 50-percent cut to its potential funding. The program is funded by a…

Crawling toward infections

Ah, Fourth of July in a small town. Fireworks. Parades. Tasty treats. The spread of disease from amphibian to amphibian. Come again? Every year, towns across this great region used to have a frog and turtle derby. Kids and adults would go out into the wild, catch turtles, and race them.…

Potomac Watershed Roundtable Considers Fracking in the Taylorsville Basin

Last minute cancellations from two of the presenters on hydraulic fracturing in the Taylorsville Basin at the April 4, 2014, meeting of the Potomac Watershed Roundtable transformed what was to have been a panel discussion into a one-woman slide presentation  from one of its members, Ruby…

Scientists: New Bay goals should be based on results, not numbers

Over the last year, Bay Program officials have been immersed in setting quantifiable objectives to include in a new Bay agreement. How many acres of wetlands should be restored? How many acres of forest buffers planted? Even how many blue crabs should be in the Bay. But scientists advising the…

Nature’s magic transforms a wasteland

When I was girl, I played in a strip mine, a place I  walk in my dreams to this day. It was a small mountain of industrial waste, but I didn’t see it that way. The crumbling heap of coal spoil rose like a steep wall across the road from my great grandparents’ cabin in western…

Out & About the Chesapeake

Carvers at the Crossroads The stories and connections between early 20th-century carvers of the Chesapeake’s Susquehanna Flats will be told through artifacts, photographs and decoys at an exhibit opening April 12 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD. The Susquehanna…

Snowy egret’s feathers much more beautiful on their heads than ours

A single, lacy, white plume drifted past on the gentle current, aided by a wisp of wind. A glance downstream revealed its owner, an elegant wading bird with a dagger bill and stilt legs. As I lifted my gaze even higher, I could see a pair of idle gray smokestacks above the trees that lined the…

A day of service can lead to a lifetime of benefits for the Bay

Working for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay the last few months, I have had a chance to experience how local watershed and citizen groups and volunteers work together to respond to a cause like Project Clean Stream. This April will be the 11th year that the Alliance has coordinated Project…

Boat rental service could boost access on the Bay

Boatbound, the fastest growing peer-to-peer boat rental company in the country, plans to officially launch its service in the Chesapeake Bay region this summer. The addition of similar rental operations could improve boating access in the region while making boat ownership more affordable.…

Clean Stream projects this Saturday

Looking to get into your waders this spring-like weekend — and go fishing for trash and pollutants in Chesapeake Bay rivers? I thought so. Several local organizations are hosting cleanup events this weekend that offer you just the chance to kick off a series of such opportunities through…

Where have all the frogs gone?

I went out the other day looking for frogs, but I didn’t find any. For the past two weeks, I've been hearing reports that the spring peepers are peeping. They're calling to each other from across vernal pools and temporary ponds, singing out for a mate. Friends have posted…

Many say draft pact for Chesapeake comes up short

With the work to craft a new Chesapeake Bay agreement entering its final stage, hundreds of people and organizations have offered widely varying views over what should be in the guiding document for the restoration of the Bay and its watershed. Some who submitted comments characterized the…

Local actions leading to better water quality in some watersheds

When one looks at the Bay as a whole, the picture is often grim. Water clarity is worsening, underwater grass beds are declining, and oxygen-starved dead zones aren’t going away. But when taking a broader look at the rivers that feed the Chesapeake, a new report points out, there are…

Shoring up Civil War troops

In 1864, Union and Confederate armies endured a long winter on opposite sides of the Rapidan River in Virginia. But spring was not a welcome thought, as the Civil War entered its fourth year. The thaw would mean battle and bloodshed, not warmth and spring blooms. When Union troops, under the…

Draft of new Bay agreement undermines, not advances, cleanup

I joined 26 other Chesapeake Bay environmental leaders calling for substantial changes in the Jan. 29 draft of the new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement that is supposed to guide Bay restoration efforts. Our group found serious shortcomings in the draft of the first Bay agreement in 14 years,…

Early spring blossoms add color, wildlife to landscapes

Although it seemed as if this stubborn winter would never lose its hold on us, spring has finally arrived. Nothing is more gratifying than to see the glimpses of color finally splashed on the landscape. Even before any leaves have emerged, flowers have finally burst forth. Two early spring…

The birds are back in town: Ospreys on the Anacostia

After a sunny vacation in South America, the iconic ospreys are coming home to the Chesapeake Bay. Of particular interest — at least to bird-deprived city dwellers — are the ospreys that have for years made their home in D.C. along the Anacostia River. The birds come back like…

Plan to export liquefied gas at Cove Point divides community

When Keith Lavender tells his Southern Maryland neighbors that he works at the Cove Point liquefied natural gas plant, most have no idea where it is. No, not the nuclear plant at Calvert Cliffs; that’s two miles away. No, not the coal-fired plant at Chalk Point; that’s in the next…

Shell shortage leaves some oystermen unhappy with their options

Oystermen on Maryland’s Eastern Shore are upset with their options when it comes to purchasing oyster shells from the state. The shells are becoming an increasingly scarce and costly commodity throughout the region. An article that ran in The Star Democrat of Easton, Md., last week…

D.C. mayoral candidates take their stances on the environment, Anacostia

D.C. voters had the chance to hear from six mayoral candidates on Friday night about their stances on environmental issues at a forum arranged by the city’s growing sustainability community and held not far from the Anacostia River. Topics ranged from the culpability of coal power in the…

Taste panel takes guesswork out of oysters’ taste

There was a time when most restaurants in the region served one kind of oyster: one harvested by a water-man from somewhere in the Chesapeake Bay. No more. In addition to a bevy of name-brand options from outside the region, diners can now choose from a slew of different Chesapeake Bay oysters.…

Healing waters

The paddling trip is like any other. There’s orientation, a scramble for gear and boat checks as everyone readies for a trip on the James River from the Hardware River down to New Canton, VA. But the van for the shuttle carries more than changes of clothes and car keys. It’s full of…

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