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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

MD lawmaker denounces crab fishery manager’s firing, calls for her reinstatement

One of the Maryland General Assembly’s leading environmental advocates denounced the Hogan administration Friday for firing the long-time state employee who oversaw the blue crab fishery after some watermen complained to the governor about a catch restriction they could not get lifted.…

Dominion plan to store coal ash at Possum Point questioned

More than 150 people crowded into a high school cafeteria in Virginia’s Prince William County late last week to voice concerns to state regulators about allowing a power plant near the Potomac River to permanently store coal ash in place. Environmental groups and state legislators also have…

Maryland’s veteran crab manager fired after watermen complain to Hogan

Maryland’s veteran manager of the state’s blue crab fishery was fired this week after a group of watermen complained to Gov. Larry Hogan about a catch regulation that they contend hurts their livelihood — but that scientists say is needed to ensure a sustainable harvest. Brenda…

The case for a Maryland fracking ban

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.   Next week, on Feb. 28, the Health, Education and Environmental Affairs Committee in the Maryland Senate will take up legislation dealing with…

Immerse yourself in Dumbarton Oaks Park

The Japanese have a practice translated in English as “forest bathing,” in which people immerse themselves in a forest as a preventative health measure. Studies have shown tremendous benefits of this practice, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and improved sleep, which…

Fracking debate nears crossroads in Maryland

Maryland’s “fracking” debate begins in earnest this week in Annapolis. With a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas scheduled to end Oct. 1, lawmakers are under increasing pressure to decide whether to ban the practice permanently, punt it to the voters or…

Climate change, development loom on Nanticoke’s horizon

Sometimes, rivers shout their troubles. They catch fire. Or change color. Other times, they whisper, degrading slowly over time. And some cry for help in a voice so small that passersby can’t hear them at all; only those who know them well recognize the signs. The Nanticoke River falls…

Maryland’s seafood marketing headed back to where it came from

If the Hogan Administration has its way, Maryland’s seafood marketing will go back to its roots — at the state’s agriculture department. The administration has introduced a bill that, if passed, would shift responsibility and resources for promoting Maryland’s seafood…

Hogan administration regroups on nutrient trading bill

The Hogan administration has agreed to retool its bid to jump-start Maryland’s nutrient pollution trading program after hitting a speed bump in Annapolis. The Clean Water Commerce Act, one of Gov. Larry Hogan’s legislative priorities this year, ran into stiff opposition from…

Superlative soup surprise

First, fastest, smallest, tallest. Look at this diverse collection of pairs, then choose what you think is the right answer. Even if you are correct, the answer may still surprise you. Detailed answers — including fun facts — are found below. Note: there is occasionally a…

MD Senate approves moratorium on ray tournaments

The Maryland Senate unanimously approved a bill Monday night that would impose a moratorium on contests to kill cownose rays in the Chesapeake Bay while the Department of Natural Resources develops a plan for managing the species. The vote was 46-0 on the bill, SB 268, which had…

Cross markers show extent of John Smith’s voyages

Ed Haile and Connie Lapallo, authors and historians who specialize in English explorer John Smith and the colonial settlement at Jamestown, VA, are following in Smith’s footsteps. Where Smith traveled with American Indian guides and a few fellow colonists, Haile and Lapallo arrive with…

MD DNR drafts plan that would shrink state’s oyster sanctuaries

Maryland’s extensive network of oyster sanctuaries would shrink by 11 percent under a draft plan drawn up by state natural resources officials, which would open several protected areas to periodic harvest by watermen while setting aside other areas. The draft, presented Monday night to the…

Bay grass restoration threatened by warming, scientists say

The Bay region is unlikely to meet its underwater grass restoration goals unless it clears up the Chesapeake’s water beyond what is now targeted, scientists warned in a recent journal article. If more action is not taken, they warn that eelgrass — the primary underwater grass species…

Virginia’s oyster wrangler retires, but isn’t done yet with the Bay’s bivalves

Virginia’s longtime oyster wrangler has retired, but he’s not done wrestling with the Chesapeake Bay’s beleaguered bivalves. Jim Wesson, oyster repletion chief for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, returned to private life recently after 25 years with the agency.…

Three examples show how ripples can become waves to save the Bay

The saying goes: “It takes a village.” To fully implement the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, governments, businesses and citizens all must do their part. Every day, I meet people working to reduce pollution and restore local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake. What I have learned is…

Irish firm tackles burning issue of Maryland’s poultry waste

The first thing a visitor notices when stepping inside two of Brad Murphy's chicken houses is the smell. Usually, the acrid reek of ammonia assaults the senses upon stepping into a 40,000-bird house. But in these two, there’s barely a whiff. That’s because Murphy’s farm on…

Bay cleanup efforts already feeling the heat from climate change

Editor’s note: This article is part of a series examining issues related to the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Midpoint Assessment of Bay cleanup efforts. Rising temperatures and sea levels, as well as increased precipitation, are all expected for the Chesapeake Bay region as the…

Goldsborough skillfully navigated Bay fisheries’ troubled waters

Saving the Bay is obviously about improving water quality, but equally tricky is the business of managing how much seafood we extract from that water. From crabs and other shellfish to finfish, modern technologies enable harvest pressure that could overwhelm the healthiest estuary. So, we need…

Path to improving Atlantic Flyway at Blackwater is filled with mud

On the Atlantic Flyway, it takes more than a handful of gravel or an asphalt patch to fix a pothole. It takes a giant dredge pumping an arc of slurry at rock-concert decibels for hours at a time, day after day, with funding that would make many municipal road managers envious. But these are no…

MD Senate completes override of Gov. Hogan’s renewable energy veto

Maryland’s Senate reiterated its support Thursday for raising the state’s renewable energy goals, overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a measure that had passed last year by wide margins. By a vote of 32 to 13, senators revived a bill committing Maryland to get 25 percent of…

Bay ‘Barometer’ shows restoration progress, but forest buffers, wetlands lag

The Chesapeake Bay is showing signs that decades of work are starting to pump new life into the nation’s largest estuary, according to a new report, though it also showed worrisome trends for forest buffers and wetlands – two elements considered critical to any long-term recovery.…

PA farm pollution affecting drinking water

In 1945, engineers tasked with bringing clean drinking water to suburban Philadelphia discovered Octoraro Creek nestled in Amish farm country around 40 miles away and deemed it ideal to build the water treatment plant of the future. But the pastoral landscape that sealed the deal for the Chester…

Herds of visitors love Pennsylvania’s Elk Country

On many days each year, Rawley Cogan can gaze out his Pennsylvania office window and see something that would have been impossible a little more than a century ago — grazing elk sauntering through the meadow and along the tree line in groups small and large, some with huge antlers that can…

Maryland House overrides governor to push renewable energy

Maryland’s House of Delegates on Tuesday overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of legislation that would push the state to get more of its energy from renewable sources. The 88 to 51 vote split along party lines, with Democratic lawmakers providing more than enough votes for the…

MD lawmakers eye energy efficiency boost

Even as Maryland lawmakers face a decision on whether to try to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a renewable energy measure, another potential confrontation is brewing over how involved the state should be in helping consumers reduce electricity usage. Leaders of the General…

Chesapeake losing its oyster reefs faster than they can be rebuilt

The Chesapeake Bay has an oyster problem — but more fundamentally, it has a shell problem. Put simply, there aren’t enough oyster shells available to support a large-scale restoration of the Bay’s depleted bivalve population. And the way things are going, there may not even be…

Voice for Bay’s menhaden, striped bass dies

James “Jim” Price, a citizen scientist who sounded the alarm for nearly four decades on the health of striped bass and menhaden, died peacefully at his home on Dec. 18. He was 73 and had been battling prostate cancer for seven years. Born in Easton into a family of fishermen, Price…

Spike & Rona, on making food local, and reasonably priced

One night last week, an overflow crowd packed Artifact Coffee in Woodberry to hear me interview Spike Gjerde, then listen to him interview me. Gjerde is a pioneer in the local and farm-to-table movement in Baltimore. With his partners, he owns Woodberry Kitchen, Parts and Labor, Artifact Coffee,…

Golden crowned kinglets: glints that catch our soul by surprise

The sky was that blue unique to winter: endlessly deep and crystalline clear, like staring into a sapphire. We were standing on a small boardwalk that juts into open water along the Marsh Edge Trail. Overhead, a bald eagle cast an indifferent gaze in our direction. Winter is the ideal time to…

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