Bay Journal

March 2014 - Volume 23 - Number 2
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D.C.’s ‘forgotten river’ getting some attention

Groups focused on cleaning up the Anacostia River in the District of Columbia say they’re finally getting traction on key components of a cleanup effort that has moved in fits and starts for decades. In February, seven of these groups, including the Anacostia Watershed Society and Anacostia Riverkeeper, joined forces to form a new coalition. The coalition’s plan lays out a framework for cleaning toxins from the bottom sediments of the Anacostia River.

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Riparian buffer goal falling by the wayside

Nearly 20 years ago, Bay cleanup leaders determined that the path to a healthy Chesapeake Bay was one lined with lush corridors of healthy trees.

After two years of study, the state-federal Bay Program partnership in 1996 set a bold goal of planting 2,010 miles of streamside, or riparian, forest buffers by 2010.

That goal seemed to stretch what was possible, yet the region met and surpassed that challenge by 2002, making it a national leader in promoting riparian forests, something that has become a touchstone for stream restoration efforts across the nation.

Taste panel takes guesswork out of oysters’ taste

There was a time when most restaurants in the region served one kind

of oyster: one harvested by a water-man from somewhere in the Chesapeake Bay.

No more. In addition to a bevy of name-brand options from outside the region, diners can now choose from a slew of different Chesapeake Bay oysters. There are Shooting Points from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Chesapeake Golds from the waters near Hooper’s Island, Stingrays from Mobjack Bay, Choptank Sweets from the waters near Cambridge and Olde Salts from Chincoteague Bay.

Healing waters

The paddling trip is like any other. There’s orientation, a scramble for gear and boat checks as everyone readies for a trip on the James River from the Hardware River down to New Canton, VA.

But the van for the shuttle carries more than changes of clothes and car keys. It’s full of the wheelchairs and braces that belong to the students, all participants in the adaptive paddling program at Wintergreen Resort.

Wintergreen Adaptive Sports is one of a growing number of programs that put disabled people on the water, people who never imagined they’d paddle their own boat or sail on the Bay.

Poachers aren’t smiling for new Bay cameras

From his laptop, Tim Bowman can see the Chesapeake Bay, and he is watching it closely.

Nine cameras provide real-time footage of all the boats on the water. From the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal down to the Tangier Sound, there are tankers and ice-breakers, tugs and pleasure boats. A few hardy souls are oystering, but not many — it’s one of those cold winter days where the temperature is dipping into the single digits.

States don’t have to make big changes to prevent Vibrio in oysters yet

Maryland, Virginia and the nation’s other shellfish-producing states are not going to have to make huge changes in the way seafood is stored and transported to protect customers from a rare but dangerous bacteria — at least for now.

Two years ago, the Food and Drug Administration required all states that have the potential to have shellfish containing a bacterium called vibrio to come up with vibrio control plans. The plans included getting the oysters under refrigeration within a certain number of hours in the spring and summer to stop the spread of vibrio, a naturally occurring bacteria that can become rampant when water temperatures soar above 80 degrees.

Oyster poaching in VA a cat & mouse game with serious consequences

During the day, they watch to see where the marine police are patrolling and head in the other direction to public grounds that are closed for the season.

Or their boats pull small, quick “hand dredges” over oyster beds that have been set aside by the state as sanctuaries to replenish oyster stocks in the river or the Bay.

Or, as Tommy Leggett of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation tells it, they wade out from shore to cages holding oyster-grow bags, flip them open and empty the contents into their own containers, all under the cover of night.

Leggett has been hit twice: once on grounds he has leased for his business, Chessie Seafood and Aquafarms, where he grows oysters for market, and once on the grow-out cages he oversees for the CBF.

Farmer goes wild fostering native plants alongside organic produce

In many ways, the more than 400 acres that Nick Lapham manages and farms south of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park is the wildest it has been since the 1750s.

Native meadows flourish on scattered plots, abuzz with pollinators and busy with coveys of quail scurrying underfoot. Deer and bear wander over from the thickly wooded areas of the national park, helping themselves to apples and pears lingering in the orchard. (Bears don’t seem to mind the deer fences.) Salamanders and pickerelweed are as much a part of the operation as kale and winter squash.

The sky’s the limit in DC’s ‘green roof’ designs

When DC Mayor Vincent Gray said his city boasts the most square footage of green roofs in the nation, he was almost right.

The District installed more green roofs in 2012 than any other city in North America, according to an industry survey by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. But the city trails Chicago in the competition for the most green rooftop real estate.

VMRC manager leaves legacy of fairness in conservation policy

After three decades of managing how others catch fish in Virginia, Jack Travelstead is looking forward to spending more time casting lines of his own.

“We have a 200-acre farm in Vermont with a nice pond in the front yard full of yellow perch, and some beaver ponds on the back end of the property with brook trout, and I’m pretty excited about getting up there,” Travelstead said.

Sneads Farm Asparagus Festival May 27-29 in Fredericksburg, VA

Features

  • Spring | Bay Buddies 03/02/14

Travel

Ernst Conservation Seeds: Restoring the Native Balance.
Tour dem Parks, hon.

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