Bay Journal

Chesapeake Notebook

News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.

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EPA chief sees better food system helping environment

Gina McCarthy got more than one standing ovation when she spoke to a group of conference goers this week in New York City.

Granted, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was, in many ways, preaching to the choir when she told an audience of 250 at the James Beard Foundation conference that their fight for a better food system can do plenty to improve the environment.

“Really, the mission at EPA isn’t extraordinarily different from what you’re trying to achieve,” she said as the keynote speaker at the end of the two-day meeting. “In every program, we’re looking to help people lead healthier lives.”

Whitney Pipkin
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Striped bass spawning slumped in 2016, MD reports

Striped bass had poor spawning this spring in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay, state officials report.

The striped bass “young-of-the-year” index, a measure of spawning success, was 2.2 this year, well below the long-term average of 11.7. It was the seventh lowest result tallied since the annual survey began 63 years ago.

Timothy B. Wheeler
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October brings falling leaves - and oyster fests

There’s a chill in the air, falling leaves on the ground and pumpkins on the front stoop. In the Chesapeake Bay, those are signs it is time for oyster festival season.

The Chesapeake Bay oyster season officially starts in September, the first “r” month during which the law allows the harvest of wild oysters, and just about the earliest time anyone would want to eat them. Oysters growing in the wild are runny and milky in the summer, when they are reproducing. But the invention of the farm-raised, non-reproductive oyster has rendered the old “r” month rule moot. Farm-raised oysters are for all seasons, and I can attest that they taste just glorious on a summer day.

But tradition is tradition, and oyster festivals are in the fall - even if many of the oysters they offer are not wild. No matter - it gives us an opportunity to taste the different types, whether Sweet Jesus oysters from Hollywood, MD, or the saltier Shooting Point oysters from Nassawadox in Virginia, or the briny varieties from Prince Edward Island in Canada or Wianno oysters sustainably grown on Cape Cod.

Rona Kobell

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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