Bay Journal

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Bay Journal News Service syndicates Op-Ed columns, news and features on environmental issues affecting communities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Mid-Atlantic.

The Bay Journal News Service provides Chesapeake Bay watershed and mid-Atlantic editorial and outdoor page editors with a credible, reliable source for op-ed columns, commentary and essays on environmental and conservation issues affecting the region.

Our columnists are leading thinkers on the region's environment. They include scientists, authors, journalists, farmers, policy experts and others who are familiar with, and write about, the places, people, and issues familiar to newspaper readers in the region.

Natural treasures abound here. We have world-class trout streams and Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. Hundreds of thousands of miles of streams and rivers weave through vast tracts of forest and rich farmlands. Near the center of it all is the world's most productive estuary. Yet the region faces challenges to match. Sprawling development consumes farmland and forests. In some parts of the region, rural poverty remains high. Industrial and agricultural pollution dirties our water and air. Our population soars and strains our resources and infrastructure.

Readers talk about these issues all the time. Our service will offer regional voices that deal with them in a regional way. We hope to cast more light than heat, to explore ideas, to offer insight, and suggest solutions. We also hope to make you laugh with an occasional bit of whimsy or pause to take in a snapshot of life in our beautiful mid-Atlantic.

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Parasitic pipelines worm way through Earth

Burrowing beneath the skin of the Earth all across the United States, new oil and gas pipelines are erupting in a rash of environmental destruction. More than 20,000 miles of new pipelines were built between 1998 and 2008, and tens of thousands more are under construction or proposed. Extreme energy extraction through hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas and oil demands extreme infrastructure support. Leaving soil-bleeding scars as they excavate ever forward, these pipelines are subsidized by taxpayer dollars but designed for corporate profits.

What makes a mountain tremble? Ravenous deer herd

For close to half a century, a forest in central Pennsylvania’s Perry County — about 5 square miles of mature hardwoods — has been a sanctuary; a place free from hunting, trapping and logging; where the natural world can...

Lessons from the Shmita Year

We are living in the midst of a collective sabbatical. According to the Jewish calendar, this year, 5775, is the shmita year, the seventh year in a cycle of sevens that reaches back to biblical times. It is a year in which the agricultural...

Table It

At your next holiday supper, passing around hot cornbread, squash, greens or apple pie, scoot back from the table a moment and digest one nutritious truth. Food connects. Person to person, people to planet. Everyone eats, no matter of...

Citizen voices protected George Washington National Forest

Living next door to the 1.1-million acre George Washington National Forest, along the mountainous Virginia/West Virginia border, has both pros and cons. Pros are clean air and water, many more tree neighbors than people, and the right of...

If you like a healthy local environment, thank a NIMBY

“Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure. Who are you to say how many people should live here and enjoy it?” The question from a fellow panel member came as I spoke on the need for those who would restore the Bay’s health...

Want clean rivers? Plant trees

Streams with tree-lined banks are two to eight times more capable of processing nutrients and organic matter than streams without a healthy fringe of trees. That’s what scientists at the Stroud Water Research Center in Pennsylvania...

When a farm becomes a factory, what’s a town to do?

South-central Pennsylvania has a tradition of agriculture dating back to the early 1700s, so it’s not often you hear rural residents poor-mouthing farming. But the farming that’s in question in McConnellsburg this fall bears...

Unwise pipeline calls for people power

The tidal wave of corporate greed and power continues to grow. Duke Energy, Dominion Power and now the governor of Virginia are all behind the construction of a 550-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline. Called the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, it...

These neighbors are a different kind of wild

Last summer, while hiking our farm, the dogs and I found a string of bloody innards coloring the grass. We followed the gut trail to a spring and beside it, the body of a coyote. The dogs circled, noses alert, ears back, all of us wanting to...

Susquehanna smallmouth: our canaries in the water

Last week, I took my granddaughter and her best friend to the local swimming pool. The water, my nose told me, was free of harmful bacteria; I could smell the disinfectants as I entered the pool area. Within about a half hour, one of the...


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How it Works

Each Tuesday, the Bay Journal News Service distributes one new column via email to editors on our circulation list. The column is sent in a text format, with a jpeg thumbnail portrait of the columnist available upon request. The columns are available free of charge.

Online, editors can review each week's column, download columns from the archive, and read about our columnists.

Sign up now and get each Bay Journal News Service column delivered to your email box!

Editorial Policy

Columnists are chosen for their unique perspectives, and their views are their own. The Bay Journal News Service seeks out these independent voices to help elevate the dialogue about the environment, and to bring an environmental perspective to personal actions and discussions about public policy.

Bay Journal News Service is supported by the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, the Town Creek Foundation the Farvue Foundation and the Sumner T.McKnight Foundation to promote public discussion about regional conservation efforts. Op-Eds distributed by the Bay Journal News Service do not necessarily reflect the views of those organizations.


Michael Shultz has served as editor of the Bay Journal News Service since it was launched in 2007. He grew up on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore, and earlier in his career, he worked at The Evening Sun in Baltimore. There, he reported on politics, government, and environmental issues. He became an assistant managing editor at The Evening Sun where he guided a news staff of 70 reporters and editors. He moved from the newsroom to the business side and as a senior manager in The Baltimore Sun Company's marketing division was responsible for market research, public relations, and internal communications. He moved to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where, for a period of five years, he was vice president of external affairs and responsible for the organization's communications program. A sailor and paddler, he lives in Annapolis, MD.

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