Bay Journal

June 2013 - Volume 23 - Number 4
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Improvements in water quality an added benefit of air pollution regs

People across the Bay watershed have, over the last decade, slashed the amount of nitrogen pollution they generate, mostly without realizing it.

For that matter, so have people in Ohio, North Carolina, parts of Michigan and even Toronto.

Every time they flick on a light, drive their car, or even mow their lawn, they are producing dramatically less nitrogen pollution than was the case little more than a decade ago.

Backlash from stormwater fee catches advocates off guard

For longtime stormwater advocates, 2013 should have been a celebratory time. After four years of trying, they had finally persuaded the Maryland General Assembly to pass a bill requiring a stormwater fee for large urban areas. Each of the state's nine largest counties and Baltimore City had begun to develop fees that would help them address this long-ignored source of pollution that is projected to grow as more people move into population centers.

B-WET, which funds students’ Bay education, faces elimination

The Bay Watershed Education and Training program, which helps develop programs to provide Chesapeake region students with outdoor environmental education experiences, would face elimination under the budget proposed by President Obama in April.

The budget calls for funding for B-WET and a number of other programs aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and math education to be consolidated into the U.S. Department of Education, Smithsonian Institution and National Science Foundation

Swim Guide app lets users know if local beach is safe to swim in

If you're wondering whether a local beach is safe for swimming this summer, there's an app that can provide the answer.

The Waterkeeper Alliance Swim Guide is available for free on iPhone, Android and other smartphones. You can use your location and it will provide a list of the closest beaches and their status. The status is marked with an icon of a man swimming.

Ghost pots estimated to kill 1.25 million blue crabs in VA’s Bay waters

A four-year Virginia study found that so-called ghost fishing carried on by lost and abandoned crab traps takes a very real — and lethal — toll on the Bay's blue crabs and other aquatic dwellers.

Researchers found that the roughly 32,000 crab pots pulled from Virginia waters during four winters of collection efforts held more than 25,000 crabs. Three-fifths of them were females, the gender fishery managers have targeted for increased protection.

Dam relicensing acknowledges that with power comes responsibility

Standing 50 feet above the Susquehanna River, the view from a catwalk on the Conowingo Dam was a study in contrasts.

To the right, water roiled out from under the dam. After running off a 27,000-square-mile drainage basin that extends well into New York and western Pennsylvania, it had just pushed its way through a series of turbines, generating more than 500 megawatts of electricity in the process.

To the left, a slower flow of water poured over the dam and through a concrete channel into the river, creating a steady water flow aimed at luring migrating fish into an elevator. After hoisting them nearly 100 feet, the elevator releases the fish into another channel that allows them to pass over the dam.

Even the animals pitch in at this Bay-friendly farm in PA

Before they began farming in 2001, Homer Walden and Dru Peters knew that agriculture was the single largest source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. They were aware that raising animals with conventional practices contributes large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus to area waterways. They understood that the same poisons that kill weeds and pests also find their way into creeks and rivers, where they kill other living organisms.

Baltimore preparing a TMDL to clean up trash in its water

Walking along Gwynns Falls Trail with Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper Tina Meyers, it's ironic that we pass a beige, beat-up, overturned residential trash can lying by the tree line. We're on our way to survey the Gwynns Falls stream where it meets the Middle Branch of the Baltimore Harbor. Soaking rain falls steadily — it's the kind of day that carries trash down storm drains and into creeks.

MD to cut female blue crab harvest by 10% to bolster reproduction

Maryland natural resources officials have decided to cut the female blue crab harvest by 10 percent with hopes of keeping more crabs in the water so that they can reproduce.

State officials made the decision after analyzing the Winter Dredge Survey numbers. The survey counted 147 million female crabs — double the 70 million that is the healthy abundance threshold. But there was poor reproduction in 2013, and scientists do not want the population to fall back into crisis. The total number of blue crabs dropped from 765 million to 300 million, and juveniles dropped from 581 million to 111 million.

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