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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

Virginia announces new Oyster Trail — wine included

If Virginia wasn’t already synonymous with the oyster that bears its name, state officials hope it will be soon. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced this week the creation of a Virginia Oyster Trail, a major tourism initiative that aims to connect travelers in the state to its fast growing…

Successful sign-ups for stream fencing leave Virginia looking for funds

The focus among conservationists in Virginia is shifting from getting the word out about the full funding that’s available for two years to fence livestock out of streams to ensuring that money is availabe to follow through on the promise. Jack Frye, Virginia director of the Chesapeake Bay…

Virginia agencies agree to share oversight of natural gas development in coastal plain

Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe announced that two agencies – each under a different cabinet secretary – have signed a memorandum of agreement to ensure a coordinated review of applications for permits to drill for natural gas and oil in Virginia’s coastal plain. The…

Shark Week provides opportunity to rethink past experiences with sharks

National Shark Week just concluded — an annual week-long shark programming bonanza initiated by Discovery Channel in 1989 and still going strong. Though much of the footage is sensational, with dramatic narration and spine-tingling musical background, some segments highlight important…

VA natural resource professionals ponder increasing minority participation in natural resource field

In the middle of last night, my husband woke me so that I could hear the sounds of screech owl in the woods behind our house. The owl’s trilling call was answered, I thought, by another – farther away. It was worth waking up for. After 17 years in another home in Charlottesville,…

2014 shad run varied widely across the region

American shad showed up in Virginia tributaries in their strongest numbers in years this spring, but their struggles on the Susquehanna River continued as biologists reported the lowest-ever shad count at the Conowingo Dam. In between, biologists on the Potomac and Nanticoke rivers reported…

Algae problems in the Shenandoah River may bring suit by Riverkeeper

The Shenandoah Riverkeeper has filed notice of intent  to sue the EPA for failure to address problems caused by algae in the Shenandoah River. The Riverkeeper's letter came at the same time as news reports about Toledo, Ohio having to shut off its water system due to pollution from an…

Balloons are no cause for celebration if you are a marine animal

Christina Trapani pulled a metallic-coated balloon, ribbon still attached, from the sandy beach on Fisherman’s Island — one of 22 that eventually were recovered from a quarter-mile of beach she and her team survey for Virginia’s marine debris program. Trapani, from the Virginia…

D.C. simplifies stormwater fee discount for green infrastructure

The District Department of the Environment is working to simplify its process for providing discounts on stormwater fees to smaller property owners who are implementing green infrastructure. Projects that manage less than 2,000 square feet of impervious area with green infrastructure to help…

VA’s marine debris program strives to change trashy behavior

At low tide on Fisherman’s Island, ghost crabs scurried in and out of holes on a beach still wet from the receding tide, their travels periodically interrupted by a small group of people walking slowly and peering intently at the sand. The people were a team of marine debris surveyors…

Community responds quickly to Anacostia fish kill

Jorge Bogantes was one of the first officials to come across the sight while on a bike ride near his home in Hyattsville, MD, over Memorial Day weekend — hundreds of fish floating belly-up in a pool of water near the Northeast branch of the Anacostia River. After a week of heavy rains,…

Pennsylvania fish agency calls for stepped up efforts to control agricultural phosphorus runoff

The head of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission last week called for the EPA to crack down on phosphorus, particularly from agriculture, which is producing algae blooms that he said are harming fish populations in the the Susquehanna River. In a July 28 letter to EPA Regional Administrator…

Too much algae means no water — or coffee — in Toledo

After a visit to Michigan last week, I stopped in a convenience store outside Toledo Sunday morning to purchase a cup of coffee for the drive home. But a sign on the coffee counter warned: “Due to water issues, no coffee will be sold until water advisory is lifted.” It turns out…

The birding novice

The first time I wrote about birding for a local newspaper in Washington State, my friends were scared to ride with me for a few weeks. Every time I saw a bird from behind the steering wheel, I would point and exclaim its breed, “Peregrine falcon! Ferrari of the flats!” while nearly…

Bay scientists report smallest July ‘dead zone’ on record

Unseasonably cool temperatures and an Independence Day hurricane teamed up to produce the the smallest July “dead zone” in 30 years of Chesapeake Bay monitoring, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Department scientists reported earlier that the amount of…

DC youth get of taste of fishing, water ecology, shad roe

Twelve-year-old Natalie Bacchus cast her line like a fly-fishing pro into a freshly stocked section of the C&O Canal. But that didn’t mean she wanted to touch the one-pound catfish she reeled in. “It’s exciting when you catch one,” Bacchus said as she let Matt…

Toxic conversation: Panel addresses contaminants in local waterways

Chemical spills in West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia this year have brought toxics to the forefront of discussions about common pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay, even though each of them occurred just outside the watershed. A panel discussion on toxics and water quality at the Choose…

Islands of wilderness in Chesapeake region offer escape

Anyone who’s walked along a quiet Bay shore or felt miles away from others while on a deep forest hike or long river kayak paddle knows the subtle thrill of feeling far from civilization. These tiny glimpses of wilderness in the Bay region may be rare and fleeting, but for the hiker or…

Terrapins view crab pots as playgrounds, not death traps

If it were a reality show, it might have been called “Real Terrapin Behavior in Virginia.” For weeks this spring, biologists filmed and watched the 24/7 exploits of groups of diamondback terrapin turtles that were rotated through one-week stints in an 18-foot water tank. Fortunately,…

Lawmakers urge Obama administration to act against deceptively labeled crab meat

A bipartisan group of Virginia and Maryland lawmakers is urging the Obama administration to protect the Bay blue crab industry from deceptively labeled seafood. President Obama on June 17 issued a memorandum creating a Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated…

Figures show continued growth in Virginia oyster production

Preliminary estimates put Virginia’s oyster harvest during the last year at 504,000 bushels, a 25 percent increase over the previous year and the most harvested since the 1987–88 season. Estimates from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission show that harvests on public oyster…

A cookout for a cause

It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re eating a soft-shell crab coated in cornmeal and Old Bay. Or a scoop of fresh lemon ice cream from Prigel Creamery, where the cows roam on the range just outside the Baltimore Beltway. Or fried goat cheese atop a salad of local pears and…

Despite higher score, Baltimore waterways still get failing grade

Baltimore’s harbor and the streams that feed into it again merited a failing grade on their 2013 annual report card, indicating the waters around the metro area suffer from continued loads of nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and garbage. The report card, which is part of the Healthy Harbor…

Bay had smallest ‘dead zone’ on record for early July

Hurricane Arthur may have produced a rainy 4th of July for beachgoers, but its winds brought some good news for Chesapeake Bay water quality. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported that the oxygen-starved dead zone observed in early July was the smallest for that period seen in…

Urban Waters grants going to Anacostia, Patapsco watersheds

Three projects benefitting the Anacostia Watershed in the District of Columbia and Maryland will benefit from $1.2 million in EPA grants to revitalize urban waterways. A project in Baltimore that benefits the Patapsco Watershed also will benefit from this round of urban-focused grants. In the…

Dog Days

Ever heard the phrase, “the dog days” of summer and wondered what it meant? In the time of the ancient Greek and Romans, dog days referred to the time of the year when the star Sirius (or Dog Star) — the brightest star in the night sky and part of the Canis Major (or Large Dog)…

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Once called the Chesapeake Bay ducking dog, today’s Chesapeake Bay retriever has expanded its reputation and is noted for its intelligence and skills in field trials, hunt tests, conformation, obedience, agility and tracking, as well as being a protective family pet. How much do you know…

Setting the Record Straight on Waters of the US

There’s been some confusion about EPA’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule under the Clean Water Act, especially in the agriculture community, and we want to make sure you know the facts. We know that we haven’t had the best relationship with the agriculture…

Map: Chesapeake Bay manure use vs. the rest of the country

Compared to the rest of the nation, the Chesapeake Bay region is a heavy user of manure as fertilizer. That’s largely because of the Delmarva Peninsula’s large chicken industry, and because animal agriculture is a staple of both Pennsylvania and Virginia. Because of the mix of animal…

Map: Chesapeake Bay chicken legacy intact

This map shows that a key part of the Chesapeake Bay’s agricultural legacy remains intact: chicken broilers on the Delmarva Peninsula. The map shows one dot for every 2 million broiler chickens in the country left the middle and western parts of the country almost entirely blank and showed…

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