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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My Milkweed Mania for Monarchs

My neighbors probably think I’ve lost my mind. Where they have petunias and liriope and neat yards, I have what appear from a distance to be cornstalks on stair steps in my front yard.

The truth is, I lost my mind three years ago -- over a butterfly. And those front-yard stalks are filled with “milk” to feed that butterfly’s descendants, should they ever return. That’s right: I am the crazy milkweed lady of Baltimore.

A Currency Drop

God bless the summer rainstorms. If you’ve felt annoyed by these deluges, there’s a reason. You’re insane, like most of us. We Americans love a sunny day, a bright blue dome and flat green landscape, though we live...

Living on the edge

Some days, you hit it right. I offer into evidence Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Towing a fine-mesh net for plankton in a Virginia inlet, our apparatus was fairly clogged with red-fringed clam worms, bottom dwellers summoned by the new moon from...

It’s Hard to See the Forest

If you walked alone and untutored through the tall pines, century-old oaks, big beeches and sweet gums of the forest, near where the Eastern Shore’s Wicomico River carves a bend known as Pirates Wharf, I’m pretty sure the need to...

A Gift of the Sea

It’s beach season along the old Atlantic seaboard, drawing crowds of us inlanders east like our creeks and rivers. We’re heading for the Bay, the Outer Banks, the Grand Strand—eager for life’s troubles to evaporate...

Sunrise in West Virginia

In 1882, the Prospect House, a sprawling lodge overlooking a remote lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, became the first hotel in the world to have electric lights in every room. Last month, a Quality Inn overlooking the...

Save the Farm, Save the Bay

The five-year court battle is over. The Supreme Court of the United States, by declining to hear the case, has affirmed two lower courts’ decisions that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not overstep its bounds by setting...

Habits of Enoughness

Last December in Paris, nearly 200 countries, including the United States, came together to proclaim with one voice that we can no longer build a world of prosperity by burning millions of years’ worth of fossil fuels. The agreement...

In the wake of Beautiful Swimmers

Virginia, York River—We finished filming a movie about crabs the way we began it in the winter of 2015, with men and women of science on their hands and knees in oilskins on a cold, wet and wind-whipped boat deck, pawing through clumps...

Not all development is bad development

The biggest development news in the Washington, D.C. area is the proposed consolidation of the FBI headquarters and its scattered satellite locations. In the face of a proposal to build 2.5 million square feet of offices as well as a parking...

Finding the balance between environment and fracking

When I look back on my childhood, some of the first memories that come to mind are those that I made at a cabin on a mountain. My extended family has owned this cabin in northwestern Pennsylvania for decades. Down the road, my father and...

Clearing the atmosphere

What will environmentalists be up to in 2016? Spur more carbon reductions, clean up the Bay, affect the vote? It’s impossible to forecast, mainly because “environmentalists” don’t exist. Not the way you’d...

Paddling through time

I once read in a canoe magazine of a famously difficult passage in New England across 50 miles of open water. Most modern paddlers who tried it failed; yet Native Americans had done it routinely. Most likely, it was neither skill nor...


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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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