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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

Big changes in the air over little menhaden

Big changes are being weighed for Atlantic menhaden, the little, oily fish that no one eats but that stirs such passion. At least one of the possible shifts could reverse recent increases in the allowable commercial catch. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates…

Blackwater refuge expands to deal with rising water

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, already vast at 27,000 acres, is becoming even larger. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that it has acquired 410 acres of new land for the refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore from The Nature Conservancy. The expansion will provide…

Soft shell clam making a modest comeback in Bay, on menus

Most years, Moochie Gilmer scoops up little more than razor clams from the sandy Chesapeake Bay bottom near Kent Island. The 62-year-old waterman has been selling his catch from there as bait to crabbers since the late 1980s. But in the last three years, the hydraulic dredge aboard his boat,…

Let your grave enter the circle of life, not a dead zone

“On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death.” —John Muir Where do we go after dying? The ancient spiritual question has also become a practical, ecological one today. Where should our remains go in a world increasingly crowded by human effects?…

Dead manatee found in Baltimore harbor

A dead female manatee turned up last week in Baltimore’s harbor, and state officials said the cause of its death remains undetermined. A citizen called the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on Nov. 21 to report the deceased marine mammal. It took two days, and the help of staff at…

New flood maps show what goes under when the District gets wet

What would it take to flood the National Mall, Ronald Reagan National Airport or Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling? According to the first interactive flood maps of their kind, recently released for the Washington, D.C. region: a lot, a little less than a lot and not much, respectively. The new…

Elect to protect Eastern Shore

Thank goodness the election is finally over. I heard the term “election stress disorder” this fall and it immediately resonated with me and many others I know. Part of the stress for me related to the continuous news cycle and overwhelmingly negative tone of the presidential race this…

After 10 years, Smith Trail slowly coming together

Along the James River, an outfitter in the Richmond area now weaves tales of the 17th-century Chesapeake Bay into paddling tours and fishing trips. Farther north, in Virginia’s Caledon State Park on the Potomac River, kayakers can stay overnight at paddle-in campsites where none existed…

National parks

The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. There are almost 100 NPS sites in the Chesapeake watershed, ranging from national parks and trails to historic sites and farms to military parks and memorials. Activities at them are equally diverse. Here is a list of scrambled…

New VA plant promises cleaner way to make paper

Construction is under way on a Chinese company’s $2 billion manufacturing plant on the James River in Virginia’s Chesterfield County. Though state officials recruited what the governor called “the largest greenfield project ever done in the United States,” environmental…

Theodore Roosevelt Island, a forested DC memorial hidden in plain sight

From the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, it’s hard to tell that the swath of trees blocking a view of Virginia across the Potomac River is an island. It’s even harder to figure out how to get there, unless you’re leaving the Georgetown waterfront in a kayak — and ready to…

We must count our numbers as well as actions we’re taking to be sustainable

In a classic case of confusing root causes with symptoms, an environmental report on the United States’ rising contribution to climate change over a recent 15-year period was titled The Carbon Boom. It should have been titled The Population Boom, as virtually the whole increase measured in…

Federal protection sought for Savage River

Mike Evans stood on a rocky bank of the Savage River and cast his fly forward. Behind him were his home and several log cabin guesthouses that he and his wife manage for vacationers. In the quiet autumn dusk, he waited for a bite from the wild brown and book trout that make this 30-mile frigid…

Maryland looking at Virginia’s oyster management method

As Maryland watermen seek to shake up their state’s management of the Chesapeake Bay oyster fishery, they’re looking south, where landings in Virginia’s public fishery last year were six times what they were a decade ago. Maryland’s wild harvest has actually surpassed…

Brace for impact: What will Trump do for - or to - the Bay?

There was a symposium in Baltimore earlier this week on the future of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. It was titled “Halftime for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL,” a sports-related allusion to the upcoming “midpoint assessment” of the pollution diet imposed six years ago on…

Eels returning to Susquehanna; will mussels, water quality follow?

Wearing a battery-powered electro-shocker on his back, Josh Newhard came up short as he waded knee-deep in Buffalo Creek to probe for any eels lurking under rocks or along its banks. “Well, that’s something we haven’t seen before,” he said. Just ahead, a herd of cows…

Heroes are at the heart of these memorials

November 11 is Veterans Day, which honors Americans who have served in the U.S. military. The National Park Service operates four sites in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that honor those who served in specific wars: the African American Civil War Memorial, The Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War…

Only clever observers realize just how intelligent fish crows are

“Hey, Mike, look at this.” My friend was peering out her window overlooking the river. “It looks like something out of Hitchcock,” she added. Coming upriver were hundreds of large black birds. It was dusk and the birds were headed to some common roosting area to spend the…

MD eyes curb on bowfishing for cownose rays

Marylanders have a chance this week to make their voices heard. No, this is not about the election of the next president or a U.S. senator. It is about the protection of the cownose ray, the big kite-shaped marine creature that scientists say has gotten a bad rap as a scourge of the Chesapeake…

Dominion pulls back from draining coal ash lagoon at Chesapeake site

Dominion Virginia Power no longer plans to discharge water from a coal ash lagoon at its power plant in Chesapeake, VA, into the Elizabeth River, but now says it will pump and transport it off-site for disposal. Though the company was seeking the Virginia Department of Environmental…

PA’s lagging Bay cleanup gets fiscal transfusion, but needs more

Pennsylvania’s lagging Bay cleanup got a much-needed fiscal transfusion when restoration leaders met in early October and pledged $28 million to fund conservation efforts in the commonwealth. But as lawmakers in Harrisburg were reminded a couple of weeks later, the Keystone State still…

Getting to know Michaux Forest will rock your world

The boulders of Hammonds Rocks, in Pennsylvania’s Michaux State Forest, are literally ancient history. But they explain a good bit about the present, too. Michaux State Forest, and the South Mountain ridges on which it rests, is a landscape first formed by shifting continents, later by the…

Poultry zoning restrictions tabled in MD county

The drive to put some zoning restrictions on large new poultry farms on the Delmarva Peninsula has hit a speed bump, even as advocates press for more local action to safeguard the health of residents living near the facilities. Maryland’s Worcester County commissioners last month tabled…

As storms overwhelm Hampton Roads, CBF’s Brock Center shines

This year’s rough weather has battered Virginia’s Hampton Roads region. It’s not just the summer’s long brutal heat wave. It’s the deluge of seven inches of rain that fell in just two hours in July, the high waters that surrounded buildings when Hurricane Hermine hit…

Got brook trout? Then you’ve also got a healthy stream

“A wild trout in its native habitat is a compact example of the Earth working well.” — Christopher Camuto The brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a small, brilliantly colored freshwater fish native to clear, cold streams and rivers in the headwaters of the Bay watershed.…

Dominion fined $260,000 for two spills in Virginia

Dominion Virginia Power has agreed to pay a $260,000 fine for two mineral oil spills earlier this year, including one that fouled a stretch of the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. The state Department of Environmental Quality announced Oct. 31 that it had negotiated a “consent…

Pennsylvania stormwater: There’s an app for that!

The November print issue of the Bay Journal has gone to press, so we will be putting the stories online over the next week or two. One of the first to go up is a piece I wrote about Pennsylvania localities beginning to tackle their polluted runoff.  The story was inspired by a presentation…

Solar energy runs into resistance in Maryland

Until recently, the future for solar energy in Maryland and Virginia looked blindingly bright — with the vast, flat farmland of the Eastern Shore seemingly fertile ground for planting thousands of photovoltaic arrays. Solar panel prices had come down, state and federal incentives had ramped…

Museums, trails, river lure visitors to Port Royal, VA

Looking out over the Rappahannock River from a new 100-foot fishing pier in Port Royal, VA, Cleo Coleman sees more than a good place to cast a line. She sees the town’s past, present and future. “You are looking at the primary fact that the town is here,” Coleman said. The…

New monitoring cooperative aims to expand role of citizen science

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has been involved in many innovative efforts and programs in the 45 years that we’ve been working on Chesapeake Bay issues. We have participated in the creation of new projects and programs that have shaped our approach to engaging the public in the Bay…

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