Bay Journal

Karl Blankenship

A primer: Chesapeake Bay & restoration efforts

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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...

PA launches effort to write cleanup plan addressing Bay shortfall

Pennsylvania's effort to write a more robust Bay cleanup strategy was launched last week in a packed hotel auditorium where more than 200 people gathered to offer their initial thoughts about what a new — and more implementable — plan would look like.

The state is so far behind its Bay cleanup obligations that it is jeopardizing Chesapeake restoration efforts as a whole. All...

Organisms in ballast water increasing despite discharge measures

Ships arriving in Chesapeake Bay ports bring more than just cargo — in 2013 they also inadvertently released an estimated 10 billion live zooplankton from other parts of the world, a finding that surprised the researchers who recently reported the results.

Regulations aimed at reducing the risk of aquatic invasions went into effect more than a decade ago, and a team from the...

EPA letter tells PA to increase progress in cleanup effort or it will take action

Pennsylvania needs a realistic plan showing how it will provide enough funding and staff to dramatically ramp up its Bay-related pollution control efforts, or it could face a variety of potentially costly federal actions within the next two years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned state officials in a recent letter.

Pennsylvania was the only state to get such a...

EPA budget cuts are devastating to states, not helpful

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pressing Pennsylvania to come up with new funding to ramp up its Bay pollution reduction efforts, which are far off track.

Funding for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection is in woeful shape. Its total budget is down 5 percent since 2003 (not adjusted for inflation), and its staff has declined by 25 percent.

But if...

EPA letter to Bay states spells out cleanup expectations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has high expectations for Bay cleanup efforts in the coming years.

Earlier this year, it sent states a 10-page letter outlining what agency officials believe must happen to deliver on the decades-old promise of restoring clear Chesapeake Bay water where underwater plants thrive, fish and shellfish have plenty of oxygen, and waterfowl can...

Just when the Chesapeake news starting getting good…

Rarely has the news about the Bay been so starkly mixed. On the one hand, underwater grasses — one of the most closely watched indicators of Bay health — have hit record levels. Blue crabs also appear to have clearly bounced back from the persistent low-levels that had become the norm just a decade ago.

Yet on the other hand, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Bay...

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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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