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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

VA, Dominion agree to extra pipeline construction oversight

Virginia regulators and the energy company Dominion have agreed to tighter state oversight of construction of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Critics of the project, however, are calling it a “smokescreen,” which they say hides a lack of strict controls to prevent sediment…

VA advances plan to reduce marine debris, from bits to boats

Attendees at the Second Virginia Marine Debris Summit watched in horror as the man in the YouTube video showed how to apply glitter to his beard. Rather than marvel at this flashy new fashion fad, they focused on how thousands of bits of shiny plastic glitter would be washed down the drain,…

Liberality for all; exploitation by none

“To live in right relation with natural conditions is one of the first lessons that a wise farmer, or any other wise man learns.” So wrote Liberty Hyde Bailey 100 years ago in his masterful work, “The Holy Earth” (free to all courtesy of the Gutenberg Project). The chair of…

Hogan vetoes renewable energy bill, lets pesticide curb, oyster study become law

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a bill Friday that would have required the state’s electricity suppliers to get more power from renewable sources, but allowed two other environmental bills — one restricting pesticide use and another requiring a study of oyster harvests — to…

PA state senator predicts a ‘greener’ future for GOP

Like many Republicans in Pennsylvania, Richard Alloway believes in smaller government, the sanctity of the Second Amendment and the promise of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. But the GOP state senator representing South Central Pennsylvania also believes in clean water. He has…

EPA chief calls Pennsylvania’s lagging Bay cleanup “discouraging”

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged Wednesday that Pennsylvania had not done enough to control pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, and said that her agency needed to coordinate with agriculture officials to change the course. Pennsylvania’s lack…

If you like plants, bee grateful for pollinators this month

Pollination occurs when pollen grains from a flower’s male parts (anthers) are moved to the female part (stigma) of the same species. Once on the stigma, the pollen grain grows a tube that runs down the style to the ovary, where fertilization occurs, producing seeds. Most plants depend on…

Let’s drink to brewery’s plans to help restore the Chesapeake

The town of Burton-on-Trent in England stands in a broad river valley carved out of ancient rock, covered with layers of sand and gravel up to 60 feet deep. Water has trickled through these beds for tens of thousands of years, depositing minerals in the gravel and sandstone. In terms of quality…

Anacostia Park, once planned as an urban oasis, still more of a mirage

Just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, begins a swath of riverfront green space about 1.5 times the size of Central Park. Here, a short walk from homes that sell for more than half a million dollars each, geese outnumber people. The river is quiet, with scarcely a boat in…

After decades of shellacking, river’s slow return to life showing up in mussel hunt

It was hard to hear Jorge Bogantes Montero above the din of traffic helicopters circling over Washington, DC, as he described the handful of muddy shells he and a small team had just dug from the mucky bottom of the Anacostia River. In a couple hours of combing through the thick mud exposed at…

Prehistoric Native Americans harvested Bay oysters sustainably, study finds

Native Americans around the Chesapeake Bay may have lived hand to mouth in prehistoric times, but they apparently never got so desperate or greedy that they depleted a readily available food source: the estuary’s once-abundant oysters. That’s the upshot of a new study looking at Bay…

Forget “the right people”: Everyone deserves to see special places

Not long ago, the Bay Journal posted an article I wrote about Savage Neck Dunes, a wonderful preserve on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The article, which was written for Bay Journeys, has been shared online. I also wrote a blog post about it last year, after the visit, and shared some cool…

PA environment secretary resigns amid email flap

Pennsylvania Environment Secretary John Quigley abruptly resigned late Friday in the wake of a controversy over private emails sent to environmental activists said to be critical of the state legislature. The emails reportedly sparked the office of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, to announce an…

Wye Island is a great place to explore by land, water

Wye Island in Queen Anne’s County, MD, is one of my favorite places in the world. In the mid-1970s, this beautiful place was nearly lost to the public. Plans to turn the island into a housing development failed to come to fruition because the state purchased the land with Program Open Space…

Tolerance took root in St. Mary’s City

Historic St. Mary’s City, an archeological and heritage center at the site of Maryland’s first capital, features an extensive collection of American Indian artifacts, true-to-the-time replicas and re-enactors in period costume. But the original city nearly became lost, a footnote…

It’s hard to see the forest when counting trees for harvest

If you walked alone and untutored through the tall pines, century-old oaks, big beeches and sweetgums of the forest, near where the Eastern Shore’s Wicomico River carves a bend known as Pirates Wharf, I’m pretty sure the need to begin cutting it down as the best way to protect its…

It’s everyone’s business to help restore the Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay’s health is inextricably linked to our own, and our collective impact on the land and streams of the Bay’s watershed has been tremendous. We can try to point our fingers at one segment of society or another but the difficult truth is, if we live and do business…

Fearsome ‘frankenfish’ now called ‘pork of the Potomac’

The northern snakehead was already starring in horror films like "Frankenfish" and "Snakehead Terror"  by the time it showed up in the Potomac River in 2004. They didn’t have to be blockbusters to send the message: This fish is to be feared. A native of China, the Channa argus had…

Celebrate 100 years of bird conservation by helping migratory species

May is an explosive month. As the landscape greens up and trees and flowers blossom, there is an explosion of worms, spiders and insects. And right on their heels are migratory birds — species that travel from one place to another at regular times, often over long distances. Many migratory…

2010 food poisoning cases linked to Asian bacteria in raw oysters

A 6-year-old outbreak of food poisoning linked to eating raw Chesapeake Bay oysters has left behind a lingering mystery. Scientists seeking to identify the water-borne pathogen that sickened a pair of Baltimore restaurant patrons have tracked the culprit to Asia. How a potent strain of Vibrio…

Broad gains in Bay health seen in 2015

Aided by favorable weather, the Chesapeake Bay’s ecological health made modest but widespread gains last year, according to a new assessment. The Bay’s condition earned a middling “C” grade for the fourth straight year in the 2015 report card issued Tuesday by the…

Air emissions from farms a growing source of water pollution, study finds

Air pollution regulations on smokestacks and tailpipes have sharply reduced atmospheric deposition of nitrogen in the United States over the past two decades, but future improvements will likely hinge on the ability to control emissions from agriculture, a new paper suggests. Over the past half…

Officials vow VA will protect watershed if pipeline goes ahead

As Dominion presses ahead with plans to build an interstate natural gas pipeline across Virginia, state officials vow to have new regulations and staffing in place to limit the massive project’s environmental impact. Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward said the state will ensure that…

Bay Commission has quietly pushed region’s environmental agenda for 35 years

The Chesapeake Bay region is filled with environmental groups and government entities that have worked to stop pollution, preserve forests and farmland, and save endangered places from rampant development. These groups tend to put out press releases that tout their accomplishments and work hard to…

Eaglets look to soar in big birding tournament

UPDATE: The Eaglets have landed -- as World Champions of birding.  The five-student team from Centreville Middle School on Maryland's Eastern Shore earned the title May 14 by collectively spotting 103 bird species in the Carbon Free Kids-Division D of the World Series of Birding. That…

Farm Bureau can choose to be a sore loser or part of the solution

The long and expensive fight by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Fertilizer Institute and their allies to derail the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is finally over. The Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal of a lawsuit that they had lost in both the U.S. District Court for the…

Discover heirloom plants, practices at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum

The houses at the Landis Valley Village in Lancaster, PA, span building styles of nearly 200 years. They are crafted from logs, brick, lumber and stone. Some are modest and others handsomely made with decorative trim or hinges. But there’s a practical presence, too, with boot scrapers by…

Silt at Fletcher’s Cove could help fix Dyke Marsh’s erosion woes

On a springlike afternoon in early March, rowboats and oars gleamed with fresh coats of paint, waiting for the anglers that would soon arrive in droves to rent them, as they have for decades at Fletcher’s Cove. Though the boats are likely to be ready for fishing season, the…

Study finds fish face double whammy from acidification, low oxygen

Fish in the Chesapeake Bay and other estuaries face a greater risk from climate change than previously suspected, a new study suggests, as they’re more likely to become disoriented and die in water that is both starved of oxygen and has become more acidic. Scientists with the Smithsonian…

Baltimore harbor water quality still failing, but advocates see progress

The 5-year-old campaign to make Baltimore’s harbor swimmable and fishable has yielded only slight improvements in water quality so far, according to a new assessment.  While it’s increasingly unlikely the initiative will make the harbor safe to swim and fish by its self-imposed…

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