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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

Power line across James River one step closer to approval

A new transmission line that would carry electricity across a four-mile span of the James River has received a federal agency’s long-awaited nod of approval. But the $270-million undertaking still needs to earn permits at the state and local level this summer, and it is expected to continue…

Washington diplomats plant grasses in the Potomac, earn bragging rights 

Representatives from about a dozen nations got a lot more than their feet wet recently when they waded into the Potomac River to plant Bay grasses they had personally cultivated. But after a six-month competition only one country got to claim the esteemed prize for raising the “best…

Feds interview Tangier watermen, look into oyster sales records in Crisfield

Officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visited several watermen on Tangier Island and seafood businesses in Crisfield last week as part of an investigation they are conducting related to oysters. The federal officials interviewed watermen on the Virginia island, asking for records…

Smith Island losing land, population and now its shepherd

They stand in a tidy church graveyard in the main town of Ewell, adorned with U.S. flags and fresh wreaths, their shiny coatings a rebuke to the battering winds and rising tides. The headstones bear the surnames of Smith Island: Bradshaw, Somers, Evans, Corbin. Hardy stock, all. Their descendants…

Yorktown museum puts Revolution in context

Anyone who paid attention in school can probably recall at least a few names, places and maybe a date from the Revolutionary War: George Washington, Lexington, Valley Forge, the Declaration of Independence, 1776. Now, a newly enhanced museum at Yorktown, VA, the site of the final battle in that…

Take a pollinator to lunch: Plant a native garden

June is packed with opportunities to interact with wildlife and the outdoors. But can you imagine what the outdoors would be like without pollinators? Pollinators — bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles are nearly as important as sunlight, soil and water to the reproductive success of…

Critics say pipeline would excavate 38 miles of ridgetops

Environmental groups opposed to the construction of a natural gas pipeline across Virginia and West Virginia have raised a new concern, charging that the project will require the excavation of 38 miles of ridgetops through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, leading to severe erosion, runoff…

Terrapin park shows importance of access to the Bay

The Terrapin Nature Area in Stevensville, MD, reminds me why I’ve committed my career to conservation. This gorgeous park hides in plain sight on Kent Island, waving to everyone traveling eastward over the Bay Bridge, and offers so much to its visitors. Managed by Queen Anne’s…

Why cut a $73 million program that provides billions in benefits?

The views expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect those of the Bay Journal. There is more good news for the Bay this spring. There is clear consensus in the scientific community that the health of the Bay is improving. In the last five months, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s…

Franklin Point’s beauty plain as the eye can see

In Walter Neitzey’s four decades as a flight instructor and operator of Deep Creek Airport on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay 10 miles south of Annapolis, he probably never once looked down from his cockpit at the bucolic airfield below and thought it might some day be part of a nice state…

Aquaculture reviving oyster industry – as well as watermen

Decades ago, Wingate Harbor was full of working oystermen in the late fall and winter, plying the Honga River’s thick oyster bars and bringing their catch to the dock. But when diseases took hold and the harvest plummeted, the oystermen hung up their dredges and tongs and left this lower…

Bay’s ‘dead zone’ expected to be bigger than average this summer

A year after experiencing its best water quality in decades, the Chesapeake Bay is expected to have a larger than average “dead zone” this summer, where fish, crabs and shellfish will struggle to breathe. Researchers with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science…

Shad program hatching next generation of environmentalists

The science lab at Key Elementary School in Northwest Washington, DC, buzzed with energy as the fourth graders hunched over tables. They peered into Petri dishes at the tiny, pearl-shaped blobs floating in them. Carefully, they wielded eyedroppers to separate the clear ones from those that…

Take a hike! Pennsylvania Paths & Delaware Delights

The Chesapeake watershed is awash in walks, from leg stretchers to day trips to multi-day backpacks. This month’s puzzle features trails in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Match the description with the trail or site/area it passes through. Other Bay states will be featured in upcoming issues.…

Memories still alive, thriving at Horton homestead

The smell of the piney woods and the call of bobwhite quail; tracks of my toy wagon in the soft sand road bordered by ditches alive with tadpoles; the warm odors of the grain bin where mom stashed me as she rolled it through the chicken houses at feeding time; racing to pick up bloody squirrels as…

PA launches effort to write cleanup plan addressing Bay shortfall

Pennsylvania's effort to write a more robust Bay cleanup strategy was launched last week in a packed hotel auditorium where more than 200 people gathered to offer their initial thoughts about what a new — and more implementable — plan would look like. The state is so far behind…

Island trip immerses students in effects of climate change

As field trips go, it would be hard to imagine one more out there than the visit Northampton High School’s 10th graders took this spring to Parramore Island. Instead of a typical school tour of the Air and Space Museum or the National Archives in Washington, DC, the students sloshed around…

State leaders oppose federal pullback from Bay cleanup

Amid encouraging signs that the Chesapeake Bay’s health is on the upswing, state leaders of the restoration effort called Thursday for Congress not to let the Trump administration pull back from the federal-state collaboration. At the annual meeting of the Bay Program’s Executive…

NASA scientists deem Fowler’s wade-in data out of this world

For nearly 30 years, on the second Sunday in June, Bernie Fowler has led an ad hoc group of scientists, politicians, friends and concerned citizens into the murky Patuxent River in Calvert County to see if it’s getting any cleaner. Wearing overalls, a hat with an American flag pin, and a…

Organisms in ballast water increasing despite discharge measures

Ships arriving in Chesapeake Bay ports bring more than just cargo — in 2013 they also inadvertently released an estimated 10 billion live zooplankton from other parts of the world, a finding that surprised the researchers who recently reported the results. Regulations aimed at reducing the…

Squeezing out wetlands leaves green heron, wildlife thirsty for habitat

Creamy yellow blossoms sat atop the water lilies. Lotus flowers of wedding white with a central blush of pink filled the ornamental ponds. Pickerel weed and its purple plumes fought for space along the edges. And green was everywhere, in every shade, from the palest yellow-green of the aquatic…

The Bay Program: It takes a partnership to save an estuary

As the story goes, the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay began with a boat trip. In 1973, after hearing reports of the estuary’s ailing health, Sen. Charles “Mac” Mathias, R-MD, set out on a “fact-finding tour”: a five-day trip traversing the Maryland portion of the Bay…

Trump administration pledges to do more with less for U.S. aquaculture

"Aquaculture is not the future of oyster harvests. It's the present," said Mark Luckenbach - Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Luckenbach, based at the VIMS lab at Wachapreague, told me those words 11 years ago, when I wrote my first story about oyster aquaculture. Since then, I’ve…

PA legislators look for ways to fund environmental programs

Pennsylvania advocates for the Bay and clean water are hoping for new dedicated funding to clean up the Susquehanna River in the midst of another tough budget year in Harrisburg, where environmental programs are being cut again. Legislation has been introduced to renew Pennsylvania’s…

EPA letter tells PA to increase progress in cleanup effort or it will take action

Pennsylvania needs a realistic plan showing how it will provide enough funding and staff to dramatically ramp up its Bay-related pollution control efforts, or it could face a variety of potentially costly federal actions within the next two years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned…

Local companies making it their business to help the Chesapeake

Many indicators of water quality and habitat show that progress is slowly being made in the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. But we would probably all agree that it will take commitment from all segments of society and a broad base of participation to be successful in…

Algae blooms sprout lawsuit over polluted Virginia river

Four conservation groups have filed suit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of failing to address pollution from agricultural runoff afflicting the Shenandoah River. The groups contend that the EPA is letting Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality classify the river as…

Quit shooting the bull – get livestock out of Bay’s streams

For decades, the Chesapeake Bay region states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have recognized that one of the most obvious and affordable ways to reduce pollution in the estuary — Bay Cleanup 101 — is to fence cattle out of streams. When they defecate, cows release…

EPA budget cuts are devastating to states, not helpful

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pressing Pennsylvania to come up with new funding to ramp up its Bay pollution reduction efforts, which are far off track. Funding for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection is in woeful shape. Its total budget is down 5 percent since…

VA group buys land to ensure carnivorous plant stays in the picture

One would think that the purple pitcher, a bug-eating, water-collecting plant — like the Venus flytrap but without its reflexes — could fend for itself. But the carnivorous Sarracenia purpurea, which is native to portions of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, has been no match for the…

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