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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

Governor proposes giving Alexandria more time to fix sewage overflows

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has proposed giving the city of Alexandria three additional years to fix its chronic sewage overflows into the Potomac River.   The Northern Virginia city has been working for several years to reduce the amount of rain-diluted waste that pours untreated…

MD Assembly votes to block opening oyster sanctuaries to harvest

Maryland lawmakers voted Tuesday to temporarily block any changes to the state’s oyster sanctuaries, effectively halting a move by the Hogan administration to open some of them to commercial harvest next fall. By a vote of 32 to 14, the Senate gave final approval to a bill barring…

End the food fight so we can attend to business of cleanup together

Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bay Journal, its board or staff. Recently, Perdue Farms had the opportunity to participate in two panels focused on agriculture and the Chesapeake Bay environment: the…

MD Senate gives final approval to fracking ban

Maryland’s Senate gave final approval Monday night to a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, making the state the second in the nation with known gas reserves to ban the practice. By a vote of 35 to 10, the Senate sent the bill banning “fracking,” as…

Mallows Bay sanctuary dodges a bullet

The proposal to establish a national marine sanctuary around Mallows Bay dodged a bullet of sorts earlier this week, when the Potomac River Fisheries Commission declined to take a position, despite urging from Maryland and Virginia watermen to oppose any of the options now on the table. After…

Court rules that Dominion’s coal ash polluted Elizabeth River

A federal judge ruled Thursday that Dominion Virginia Power’s storage of coal ash at a now-closed plant near the Elizabeth River has been illegally polluting groundwater and the river for years. The decision could impact Dominion’s plans to permanently store ash in pits at other plants…

VEE marks 40 years of supporting the environment by looking to the future

This year, the Virginia Environmental Endowment, a nonprofit, independent grant-making foundation based in Richmond, celebrates its 40th anniversary. Although its grants and leveraged matching gifts have resulted in more than $80 million of environmental improvement, many Virginians are unaware of…

Virginia governor proposes moratorium on coal ash permits

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday proposed a moratorium until 2018 on any new permits for coal ash disposal until a study is finished of its risks and possible alternatives. McAuliffe announced that he was proposing amendments to a bill passed by the General Assembly that requires…

Warm air masks coldwater dangers for paddlers

Parts of the Chesapeake region experienced expectedly warm weather recently, with some days in February feeling more like April. For paddlers, those first bursts of warm weather awaken the call of the kayak. If you count yourself among them, Moulton Avery, director of the National Center for Cold…

Fences and trees for clean, clear rivers

Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bay Journal, its board or staff. The Shenandoah Valley’s Middle River, which begins its winding journey to the Chesapeake Bay in the farm country west of Staunton, Va., is one…

Plan to protect ‘ghost fleet’ on Potomac River hits rough water

The “ghost fleet” sunk in the mud of Mallows Bay never saw action in World War I. But nearly a century later, the decaying wrecks of more than 100 wooden steamships built for that war and left to rot in the Potomac River have triggered a new conflict. A proposal by the National…

Maryland governor throws support behind permanent fracking ban

In a stunning reversal, Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday called for lawmakers to pass legislation permanently banning the natural gas drilling technique known as “fracking” in Maryland. Speaking at a press conference in the State House in Annapolis, Hogan said that since the…

Chesapeake watershed’s early bloomers first to usher in spring

April showers may bring May flowers, but begin looking for early blooming flowers now. Plants are often the first notable indicator that the seasons are changing. Tightly packed buds are already beginning to slowly unfurl their treasures. One of the earliest plants, skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus…

Climate change in the Bay, Washington, DC

Climate change in the Bay, Washington, DC In our last issue, I reported about how climate change might make achieving nutrient and water quality goals for the Bay a bit more difficult. This month, we have a couple of articles about how climate change will also make it tougher for a couple of Bay…

Trump bid to axe Bay restoration funding draws fire

President Trump’s budget outline proposing to defund the Bay Program and slash other programs aiding the Chesapeake restoration drew expressions of dismay Thursday from those engaged in the long-running effort, along with vows from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to resist…

Don’t let menhaden become a case of could have, should have, would have

Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bay Journal, its board or staff. Here we go again. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has held hearings up and down the East Coast on what to do about menhaden: Should we…

Hampton Roads treating wastewater till it’s good enough to return to aquifer

Little more than a day before, the water pouring from a tap outside the York River Treatment Plant had been wastewater: a mix of sewage flushed down toilets, soapy water drained from bathtubs, food wastes washed down the sink and industrial waste piped into sewer lines. Now, the water coming out…

MD House passes cownose ray fishing contest moratorium

Maryland is getting closer to at least a temporary moratorium on the killing of cownose rays in bowfishing contests, a summer pastime that has angered animal-rights groups and as well as many fishermen. By a vote of 119 to 21, Maryland’s House of Delegates passed HB 211 Wednesday, which…

West Virginia’s Dolly Sods: If wind doesn’t take your breath away, the view will

Far down a dusty dirt road, atop an Appalachian mountain ridge, vehicles were jockeying for any available piece of dirt on which they could park their cars. A fierce wind was blasting across the Dolly Sods, stirring dust and rocking the vehicles. We finally pulled into an ad-hoc parking space…

We need to recognize the many faces that make up the Bay watershed

In an effort to create a better environment for everyone, the conservation world takes a vital step: including everyone. The Chesapeake, the largest of more than 100 U.S. estuaries, is a trove of biodiversity. The Bay’s watershed stretches from New York to Virginia and boasts more than…

Sea cucumbers

There are more than 1,200 sea cucumbers in the world’s oceans and their bays. The Chesapeake Bay is home to two of these creatures, the common sea cucumber and the pale sea cucumber. Take this quiz to learn more about these amazing creatures. Answers are below. 1. Sea cucumbers are…

MD lawmakers grill Hogan administration over crab manager’s firing

Hogan administration officials refused to answer lawmakers’ questions Monday about why the state’s longtime blue crab manager was fired after watermen had complained to Gov. Larry Hogan about a crabbing regulation they wanted eased. Appearing before an unusual joint hearing of House…

Black rail population sinking fast as rising sea level drowns its habitat

Getting to know the Eastern black rail has always been tough. The sparrow-size bird lives deep in marshes that are hard to access, and it is most active in the wee hours of the morning. Even then, it tends to scamper through dense vegetation, rather than fly — some call it a…

Tell your legislators you support efforts to clean up water, Bay

The Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint is working. By all metrics we are seeing progress. Citizens, businesses and governments are working together to reduce pollution. You can actually see the progress in the clear water. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Bay…

Experience Alexandria’s maritime past

The developers of a luxurious waterfront hotel in Alexandria, VA, put construction on hold for several months last year after their shovels struck the wooden hull of a ship. The city’s team of archaeologists sprang into action, unearthing part of a 50-foot vessel scuttled into place around…

O say can you sea cucumbers in the Bay?

There are two species of sea cucumbers in the Chesapeake — the hairy sea cucumber (Sclerodactyla briareus) and the pale sea cucumber (Cucumaria pulcherrima) — but they may be hard to spot. Let’s see how well you do in a quiz about these curious sea creatures. Answers are below.…

MD House approves fracking ban, stormwater funding plan

Maryland’s House of Delegates voted Friday to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, while also approving a Hogan administration bill that would let the state invest in potentially less costly ways of reducing stormwater pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay. The fracking ban, approved…

Northern Virginia county wants alternatives to coal ash storage fully considered

Northern Virginia elected officials have called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Dominion Virginia Power to stall the utility’s plans to store millions of tons of coal ash by a Potomac River tributary until other options are studied further. The Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted…

MD lawmakers call hearing on DNR crab manager’s firing

Maryland lawmakers have scheduled a special hearing to investigate the Hogan administration’s firing of the state’s longtime manager of the blue crab fishery. The House Environment and Transportation Committee and the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee plan…

Project Clean Stream engages businesses, makes a splash locally

Every spring, local waterways and woodlands receive a clean start as thousands of volunteers come together for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Project Clean Stream, the largest annual volunteer cleanup event in the Chesapeake Bay region. This year, Project Clean Stream officially…

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