Bay Journal

Timothy B. Wheeler

Baltimore harbor safer for swimming in places, but still badly degraded

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The outer reaches of Baltimore’s harbor were somewhat safer to swim in last year, but overall water quality in the harbor and the streams that feed into it continues to post failing or near-failing grades, according to the latest annual assessment.

The Healthy Harbor campaign's report card for 2016 found that fecal bacteria levels, which are indicative of the presence of raw...

Bay health gained slightly in 2016, assessment finds

The Chesapeake Bay’s ecological health improved slightly last year, according to a new assessment, with three of the estuary’s key fish populations in their best shape in decades.

For the fifth straight year, the Bay’s condition in 2016 earned a C grade on the annual report card produced by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The overall score —...

Survey finds Bay crab population strong, with record number of females

Boosted in part by a record number of female blue crabs, the Bay’s crab population remained strong through the winter — something scientists say bodes well both for the crustaceans and those who catch and love to eat them.

Overall, the annual winter dredge survey conducted by Maryland and Virginia estimated that the Bay held 455 million crabs, a decrease from last year’s tally...

Maryland Assembly session gives environmentalists ‘reason to celebrate’

From “fracking” to oysters to clean energy, environmentalists had multiple reasons to smile when Maryland’s lawmakers wrapped up their work in Annapolis earlier this week.

With a boost from Gov. Larry Hogan, the General Assembly made Maryland the first state with known natural gas reserves to pass legislation prohibiting hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract it. Over...

Oyster sanctuaries to be left alone for now under new Maryland law

Maryland’s oyster sanctuaries will continue to provide a refuge from harvest, at least through next year, after Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday allowed legislation barring any changes in the protected areas to become law without his signature.

The Hogan administration had sided with the state’s watermen in opposing the measure, which passed late last month. But the General...

Activists lobby Congress for Bay funding

Environmental activists from throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed converged Wednesday on the District of Columbia to urge Congress to reject the Trump administration’s bid to slash federal funding for the Bay restoration effort.

More than 90 members of the Choose Clean Water Coalition packed a House meeting room to hear bipartisan pledges of support from nine members of...

MD legislative roundup: fracking, cownose rays, animal antibiotics

Maryland could become just the second state in the nation to prohibit the controversial oil– and gas-drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The House of Delegates voted 97–40 to approve a ban in early March, but the measure appeared stuck in a Senate committee until St. Patrick’s Day, when Gov. Larry Hogan abandoned his previous support for tightly...

Sonar revealing more river herring in Choptank than expected

Scientists have a powerful new tool to help them “see” fish in the Chesapeake Bay’s murky tributaries, and it’s yielding some surprisingly good news about two of the estuary’s most troubled species.

“Imaging sonar” uses sound to help them view, and count, passing fish in dark or cloudy water. For the past few years, scientists with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center...

MD Assembly votes to block opening oyster sanctuaries to harvest

Maryland lawmakers voted Tuesday to temporarily block any changes to the state’s oyster sanctuaries, effectively halting a move by the Hogan administration to open some of them to commercial harvest next fall.

By a vote of 32 to 14, the Senate gave final approval to a bill barring adjustments to sanctuary boundaries until the Department of Natural Resources finishes an...

MD Senate gives final approval to fracking ban

Maryland’s Senate gave final approval Monday night to a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, making the state the second in the nation with known gas reserves to ban the practice.

By a vote of 35 to 10, the Senate sent the bill banning “fracking,” as it’s commonly called, to Gov. Larry Hogan, who recently indicated he will sign it.  The House earlier had given...

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About Timothy B. Wheeler

Timothy B. Wheeler's avatar Timothy B. Wheeler is managing editor and project writer for the Bay Journal. He has more than two decades of experience covering the environment for The Baltimore Sun and other media outlets. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Tour dem Parks, hon.

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