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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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 girls came to me.

“Do my eyes look red,” she asked.

A few minutes later, we picked up our gear and went home.

Islands of wilderness in Chesapeake region offer escape

Anyone who’s walked along a quiet Bay shore or felt miles away from others while on a deep forest hike or long river kayak paddle knows the subtle thrill of feeling far from civilization. These tiny glimpses of wilderness in the Bay...

Saving the World, Yard by Yard

Doug Tallamy, noted champion of native plants, won’t tell homeowners to never plant a crape myrtle or two. But he wants them to grasp that the lovely, low-maintenance Asian import is “biologically inert, a beautiful statue. So...

The Next Generation for Our Lands and Waters Starts Now

The environmental ethic we have today is still relatively young, brought into being by such clarion calls as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, published in 1962. It was only a few years later that the first Chesapeake Bay advocacy...

In your garden nurture a treasure trove of life

One day, my mother-in-law was strolling around the yard with me when we came to a large milkweed plant in the middle of what little lawn I have. She asked me, with much surprise, “Are you keeping this?” I didn’t know...

Branding the Bay Bridge

It’s an advertiser’s dream: four-plus miles of “signage opportunity” almost 200 feet in the air on the guardrails and expansion joint pads of a span that soars over North America’s largest estuary. This rare...

Deeper Fractures

If it seems you aren’t part of the fracking debate, look under the surface. You’re connected to this trouble, and that connectivity is good news. Hydraulic fracturing has generated divisiveness everywhere, and no one wants more...

Please! Step on this grass

I was in the Farm Coop store the other day in line to buy some garden seeds. The farmer in front of me ordered 50 pounds of Kentucky 31 tall fescue. I thought, “Oh my God, you poor dear, haven’t you heard?” Those seeds...

In fight for pollution limits, the lines are drawn

The battle lines have been drawn in the fight to defend the Chesapeake Bay pollution limits set by the EPA and the states’ plans to meet them. Having lost in federal district court, the Farm Bureau and its allies have appealed to the...

Time to RSVP to Mother Earth’s invitation

It’s RSVP time around here. The message comes in late spring—formal invitations to weddings, graduations or recitals—the quaint “RSVP” stamped in black curlicue at the bottom. “Don’t...

The Two Chesapeakes

Two lanes of traffic bake in the summer sun, immobile. Engines idle while passengers sit inside their cars, sweating in the tepid air of an overtaxed air conditioner. They are headed to the beach, suspended 186 feet over the Chesapeake Bay...

Asking Great Things of Us

There is story told about Abraham Lincoln, a man with a complicated relationship to religion. It was said that he and an aide visited a church renowned for its speechifying pastor. True to form, the sermon was smart, powerful and, to most...

The Once and Future Bay

It’s common knowledge the healthy Chesapeake Bay described by John Smith in 1608 was greener, its forest extending across more than 90 percent of its six-state watershed. Less appreciated is how much soggier, boggier, swampier,...

Better policies will grow better stream-side buffers

Well-functioning forest buffers along streams are perhaps the most effective and least costly best mmanagement practice we have to restore the Chesapeake Bay. The largest riparian forest program in U.S. history is the USDA’s...


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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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