Bay Journal

Karl Blankenship

Big decision looms over little oily fish that feeds so many others

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If you were to round up all of the menhaden swimming along the Atlantic coast and somehow put them on a scale, they’d weigh in at about 1.2 million metric tons.

To visualize that, imagine 220,000 Asian elephants stampeding along the coast — about five times more than exist in the world. For menhaden, though, that equates to tens of billions of tiny fish. This fall, fishery...

Virginia endowment honors Bay Journal Media

Bay Journal Media was one of 22 organizations recognized as one of the Virginia Environmental Endowment’s “Partners in Excellence” during its 40th anniversary celebration in Richmond on Oct. 5.

The VEE said the Bay Journal, the organization’s primary publication, “is recognized as the media voice for news about the Chesapeake Bay.” The endowment has provided financial support...

With no sign of recovery, VA to halt stocking shad in James

With little to show for more than two decades of effort, Virginia officials next year plan to suspend shad stocking efforts in the James River, conceding defeat for now in restoring what had once been a major spawning ground for the migratory fish.

“We’re not going to fund work next year to continue what we’ve been doing,” said Bob Greenlee, who oversees the program for the...

Trump official’s flounder ruling clouds Atlantic coast fish conservation

No one considers summer flounder an iconic Bay species. But fishery managers and conservationists say the ripple effect of a controversial Trump administration decision to let more “fluke” be caught in New Jersey may impact how important species such as striped bass and menhaden are managed in the Chesapeake.

In the wake of an unprecedented decision by the U.S. Department of...

Covering the environment is as challenging at its issues

The Trump administration has created challenges not only for the environment, but for those who cover it. Recently, I was invited – along with Bay Journal managing editor Tim Wheeler, and Joel McCord, news director of public radio station WYPR in Baltimore — to talk to a group of foundations about those challenges.

This administration has proposed unprecedented actions:...

Overhaul being weighed in Atlantic coast menhaden management

A major overhaul could be coming in how menhaden are managed along the East Coast — one that might, for the first time, try to account for the ecological role of the small and oily fish.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which oversees migratory fish along the coast, is preparing to update its menhaden management plan this fall. It’s looking to revisit how the...

A primer: Chesapeake Bay & restoration efforts

Regional efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay have been under way since 1983. After a multiyear study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the agency and the states agreed to coordinate their efforts to reduce pollution in the Bay and restore its “living resources” — the fish, crabs, oysters and waterfowl that depend upon it. Here, in question-and-answer form, is a...

Hampton Roads treating wastewater till it’s good enough to return to aquifer

Little more than a day earlier, the water pouring from a tap outside the York River Treatment Plant had been wastewater: sewage flushed down toilets, soapy water drained from bathtubs, food waste washed down the sink and industrial waste piped into sewer lines.

Now, the water from the silver spigot was crystal clear, filling a clean glass that said “SWIFT” on its side.

And it...

States, federal agencies to step up local engagement in Bay cleanup

When Capt. John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay in 1608, he reported that it was a land “overgrown with trees” and that the region’s “clear rivers and brooks” fed a “faire Bay.”

The rivers had more sturgeon “than could be devoured by dog or man” and there were so many other fish that “we attempted to catch them with a frying pan: but we found it a bad instrument to catch fish...

Trump’s budget cuts wide and deep swath through Bay-related programs

A relaxing trip to the beach could instead become a step into unknown waters next year.

In its quest to squeeze dollars from environmental programs, the Trump administration’s proposed 2018 spending plan would eliminate federal support for water quality monitoring at beaches, which could warn swimmers of high bacteria levels and other pollution threats.

Trump’s budget...

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About Karl Blankenship

Karl Blankenship's avatar

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and Executive Director of Chesapeake Media Service. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991, winning numerous awards and recognition for his work, including the 2001 Excellence in Journalism Award from the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation; in 2006 he became the fourth person to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Before the Bay Journal, he was a reporter at the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News, and the Saginaw (MI) News. He is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in journalism.

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