Bay Journal

News Service

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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Horseshoe crabs crawl back

Every spring, John Rodenhausen looks forward to seeing a few horseshoe crabs on the beach at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s headquarters outside Annapolis. But this year, Rodenhausen says, thousands of the prehistoric-looking creatures, which resemble spiders more than crabs, were mating on the Annapolis beach in late May. As is their wont, the smaller males attach to the larger female, sometimes four to five at a time — one large carapace surrounded by smaller ones, like points on a star.

“It blew us all away,” says Rodenhausen, the foundation’s Maryland development director. “You’ll always see a few, and you might see a dozen, but we saw thousands. And it wasn’t even a full moon.”

Create A Nature-friendly Garden

Providing habitat for numerous species of wildlife is a critically important to keep the environment functioning properly. And, it’s absolutely crucial to our well-being. Without the variety of services provided by wildlife, the...

Smart ALEC angles to steal our national treasures

Here’s a bargain. Give me 190 million acres of your national forest, and I’ll give it to industrial giants who can make a killing off it. Did you say no? You may have to say it louder. This year, Western lawmakers have pushed...

The Queen Bean, Tofu and Dead Zones

Tofu. That’s what most people think soybeans are grown for. But most soybeans in the United States are grown for oil and livestock feed. It's big business. The United States is the world’s largest producer and exporter of...

Eau de Toluene, a scent no river should wear

After decades, my friend Mr. Crigger has abandoned his old foot-worn fishing spot along the river that bottoms our mountain watershed. He quit not because the catch, even combined with his grandson’s, kept decreasing. They...

Doomsday Diatribe

These days, gloom and doom seems to dominate my social media feeds. For example, did you know there is a Doomsday Clock? Monitored by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists for more than 60 years, this clock recently advanced to three minutes...

Liberality for all; exploitation by none

“To live in right relation with natural conditions is one of the first lessons that a wise farmer, or any other wise man learns.” So wrote Liberty Hyde Bailey 100 years ago in his masterful work, “The Holy Earth”...

Shifting the lens

We’re all familiar with the problem-solving technique of simply shifting the lens. Viewing the same thing differently. Glass “half full” instead of “half empty” is an example. When it comes to the Chesapeake...

Best not goof off when it comes to clean water

March 22 is World Water Day. It’s the biggest splash you’ve never heard of. Why? Perhaps because it’s also National Goof-Off Day—a good old American invention, unofficial but thriving. The two celebrations make a...

Effort to regulate wood smoke kindles slow burn

The Environmental Protection Agency’s beef with fossil fuels is well documented, so up until now, the 10 percent of Americans who heat their homes with wood might have felt as if they were doing something noble by declaring their...

Unsung volunteers take up the causes of babbling brooks

Warm Springs Run begins in a logged-over marsh near a trucking terminal in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. Eleven miles later it empties into the Potomac River, 170 miles northwest of the Chesapeake Bay. The creek, hardly more than...

Frequent spills signal need for inspection, regulation

This winter, an oil spill from a pipeline in Montana caused residents and businesses to replace their normal Yellowstone River water supply with water hauled in by trucks. The pipeline owner estimated the 12-inch pipe drained about 50,000...


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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.


Managing Editor Karl Blankenship has been editor and principle writer for the Bay Journal, an award-winning monthly newspaper covering issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, since 1991. The Bay Journal, which has a distribution of about 47,000, is read by policy makers at both the state and federal levels, scientists, journalists, and citizens interested in Chesapeake and coastal issues. Its accurate, in-depth coverage of scientific and policy issues has made it the "paper of record" for the Bay restoration effort. Prior to that, Blankenship was a reporter at the Harrisburg Patriot-News in Pennsylvania where he helped to create a once-a-week page devoted to environmental issues. A journalism graduate from Michigan State University, his first reporting job was at the Saginaw News in Michigan. He is frequently consulted on the creation of environmental publications, and communicating science and environmental issues. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, an avid bicyclist, and enjoys camping in the mountains. He lives near York, PA.

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