Bay Journal

Timothy B. Wheeler

Mallows Bay sanctuary dodges a bullet

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The proposal to establish a national marine sanctuary around Mallows Bay dodged a bullet of sorts earlier this week, when the Potomac River Fisheries Commission declined to take a position, despite urging from Maryland and Virginia watermen to oppose any of the options now on the table.

After nearly three hours of discussion and debate, the eight-member panel defeated a motion...

Plan to protect ‘ghost fleet’ on Potomac River hits rough water

The “ghost fleet” sunk in the mud of Mallows Bay never saw action in World War I. But nearly a century later, the decaying wrecks of more than 100 wooden steamships built for that war and left to rot in the Potomac River have triggered a new conflict.

A proposal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create a new national marine sanctuary around the skeletal...

Maryland governor throws support behind permanent fracking ban

In a stunning reversal, Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday called for lawmakers to pass legislation permanently banning the natural gas drilling technique known as “fracking” in Maryland.

Speaking at a press conference in the State House in Annapolis, Hogan said that since the legislature had not acted on new drilling regulations his administration had proposed, he had decided that...

Trump bid to axe Bay restoration funding draws fire

President Trump’s budget outline proposing to defund the Bay Program and slash other programs aiding the Chesapeake restoration drew expressions of dismay Thursday from those engaged in the long-running effort, along with vows from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to resist such deep cuts.

Trump’s proposed spending plan, if enacted, would eliminate funding for the...

MD House approves fracking ban, stormwater funding plan

Maryland’s House of Delegates voted Friday to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, while also approving a Hogan administration bill that would let the state invest in potentially less costly ways of reducing stormwater pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay.

The fracking ban, approved on a 97 to 40 vote, comes after a six-year debate over whether to allow the controversial...

Oyster wars: Volunteers, watermen, vie over sanctuaries

The shoreline by St. Mary’s College in Southern Maryland is lined with riprap, not unlike developed waterfront elsewhere around the Chesapeake Bay. But closer inspection reveals something striking: A cornucopia of oysters, large and small, fill the crevices between the rocks.

Not far offshore, many more oysters can be seen just below the surface of the clear water, festooning...

MD lawmaker denounces crab fishery manager’s firing, calls for her reinstatement

One of the Maryland General Assembly’s leading environmental advocates denounced the Hogan administration Friday for firing the long-time state employee who oversaw the blue crab fishery after some watermen complained to the governor about a catch restriction they could not get lifted.

Speaking at the end of the legislature’s Friday session, Sen. Paul Pinsky charged that Brenda...

Fracking debate nears crossroads in Maryland

Maryland’s “fracking” debate begins in earnest this week in Annapolis. With a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas scheduled to end Oct. 1, lawmakers are under increasing pressure to decide whether to ban the practice permanently, punt it to the voters or let drilling proceed under disputed regulations that have yet to be finalized. Emotions are running...

Hogan administration regroups on nutrient trading bill

The Hogan administration has agreed to retool its bid to jump-start Maryland’s nutrient pollution trading program after hitting a speed bump in Annapolis.

The Clean Water Commerce Act, one of Gov. Larry Hogan’s legislative priorities this year, ran into stiff opposition from environmentalists and local government officials after he unveiled it at the start of the Maryland...

MD DNR drafts plan that would shrink state’s oyster sanctuaries

Maryland’s extensive network of oyster sanctuaries would shrink by 11 percent under a draft plan drawn up by state natural resources officials, which would open several protected areas to periodic harvest by watermen while setting aside other areas. 

The draft, presented Monday night to the state’s Oyster Advisory Commission, would open nearly 1,000 acres of areas known to be...

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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).


Ward Oyster Co.
Ernst Conservation Seeds: Restoring the Native Balance.
A Documentary Inspired by William W. Warner’s 1976 Exploration of Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay.

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