News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.
Saying that hazardous algae blooms seem to be increasing in frequency and severity, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a national registry for reporting outbreaks, along with tips on how people can spot them and protect themselves and their pets.
“Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are an emerging public health issue that can contaminate the environment, drinking water, recreational water, and food,” the CDC said on its new web page devoted to the issue. The agency linked the growth of such blooms to “climate change, farming practices, wastewater runoff and other environmental issues.”
A New York-based hunting group is forging ahead this weekend with a bow-hunting tournament on the Chesapeake Bay for cownose rays, despite a public outcry over similar events.
American Bowhunters, based in Pleasantville, vowed to keep their tournament scheduled for Sunday morning at 6 a.m. at the Solomons Island boat ramp underneath the Thomas Johnson Bridge in Calvert County. Two other tournaments scheduled for this summer - one in Virginia, and another one called Battle of the Rays on the Patuxent in Maryland - were canceled.
Kurt Wall, owner of American Bowfishers, told supporters on his Facebook page that the hunters were doing nothing wrong. Bowfishing for rays is not illegal in Maryland, which currently has no limit on how many rays a person can catch, nor any management plan for the species.
For a lot of Bay region schools, Friday was Graduation Day. So it was for Rider, Ruckus and Harbor, the first to finish the Maryland Natural Resources Police’s new canine training program.
The dogs perform crucial work. Over the years, NRP spokeswoman Candus Thomson said, they have found missing people, illegal substances, undersized fish, fleeing suspects and, in a few cases, murder weapons.
The NRP has had a K-9 unit for 22 years, but until recently its dogs were trained elsewhere. In-house training became possible after Cpl. Devin Corcoran gained certification for it through a grant from the Humane Society, said Thomson.
Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.
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.
Bundle up and take advantage of the opportunities for great photos provided the the crisp air, and low angle of sunlight, during winter months.
While cameras have changed much over the past century, one ingredient of good photos has remained largely the same — the tripod.