Bay Journal

Robert N. Whitescarver

Selling VA’s carbon-rich crop residue will shortchange soil

Recently, I attended the annual meeting of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Roanoke, VA. One of the breakout sessions was a presentation by the Shandong Tranlin Paper Company, a Chinese corporation that plans to build a paper plant in Virginia.

I listened to the Chinese representative explain how environmentally friendly their $2 billion...

Fences and trees for clean, clear rivers

The Shenandoah Valley’s Middle River, which begins its winding journey to the Chesapeake Bay in the farm country west of Staunton, Va., is one of the most polluted rivers in the state. That’s the bad news. The good news: We have seen firsthand how the river, with a little help from farmers, can heal itself.

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 total maximum daily loads (TMDL), or a “pollution diet,” for jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

That is now settled law, part of the...

Let’s not tax well-managed farmland; it already pays its way

“Well-managed” farmland and other working open spaces should not be taxed. These landscapes provide more services for the public than they receive from the public.

In many states, including the Chesapeake Bay states, local governments already recognize the value of open lands and tax them at a lower rate using an approach often called “land-use” taxation.

This is a method of...

Let’s not tax well-managed farmland; it already pays its way

“Well-managed” farmland and other working open spaces should not be taxed. These landscapes provide more services for the public than they receive from the public.

In many states, including the Chesapeake Bay states, local governments already recognize the value of open lands and tax them at a lower rate using an approach often called “land-use” taxation.

This is a method of...

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 soybeans with almost 75 million acres planted annually. Beans are second only to corn, planted on roughly 84 million acres.

The top 10 soybean producing...

Get down to Earth on fighting phosphorus pollution — use a soil test

Maryland’s newly elected governor, Larry Hogan, recently repealed the state’s Department of Agriculture’s Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) regulation. His act made me gnash my teeth.

Farmers and legislators on the Eastern Shore had begged him to repeal the regulation because it would have forced many of them to cease applying phosphorus-laden poultry litter to soils already...

Get down to Earth on fighting phosphorus pollution — use a soil test

Maryland’s newly elected governor, Larry Hogan, recently repealed the state’s Department of Agriculture’s Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) regulation. His act made me gnash my teeth.

Farmers and legislators on the Eastern Shore had begged him to repeal the regulation because it would have forced many of them to cease applying phosphorus-laden poultry litter to soils already...

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 tell us. It doesn’t matter if that organic matter comes from a sewage treatment plant or the back end of a cow.

...

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 would run across the Allegheny Mountains, through the Great Valley of Virginia, then across the Blue Ridge to the Atlantic.

Why? In...

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About Robert N. Whitescarver

Robert Whitescarver, President, Whitescarver Natural Resources Management LLC, is a Retired NRCS District Conservationist and CREP Technical Coordinator for Virginia.

 

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