Bay Journal

Chesapeake Notebook

News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.

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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 let drilling proceed under disputed regulations that have yet to be finalized. Emotions are running high, and legislators appear nearly evenly split.

Timothy B. Wheeler
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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 from its current home at the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture, where it was housed six years ago.

Rona Kobell
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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.

The Bay Barometer, released Wednesday by the state-federal Bay Program partnership, largely echoed the positive movement shown in recent report cards from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, suggesting that cleanup efforts were starting to pay off with expanded underwater grass beds, clearer water, and a smaller oxygen-starved “dead zone.”

Karl Blankenship

Picture This

Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.

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Pond paddle provides lovely setting for photos

I always try to get out and make some photos on the solstices and equinoxes,  and an assignment to illustrate a story about Trap Pond allowed me to chase the morning light there a few hours after this year’s Autumnal equinox.   It’s an amazingly beautiful patch of wild Delaware near Laurel and will be featured in the November issue of the Bay Journal.   The pond, created in the 18th century to power a saw mill to convert the trees into board feet of lumber,  is the epicenter of the northern most stand of bald cypress trees in the United States.   The relatively young trees in the middle of the pond were planted in the 1930’s when the water level  was drawn down to allow the trees to grow.    Once they’re heads are above the water they seem to do fine in an aquatic environment.  Be sure to look for a more complete story about Trap Pond State Park by Tom Horton in the November issue of the Bay Journal.

David Harp
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Want to take some really cool photos?

Bundle up and take advantage of the opportunities for great photos provided the the crisp air, and low angle of sunlight, during winter months.

David Harp
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Photographers’ reliable “standby”

While cameras have changed much over the past century, one ingredient of good photos has remained largely the same — the tripod.

David Harp

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