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Associated Press

Budget forces VIMS to cut 16 posts; leave another 10 vacant

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science will cut 16 positions in January while losing 10 additional faculty positions that won't be filled, all because of the slashing of $6.1 million in state funding over the course of two years.

The fiscal year that began in July had already seen VIMS eliminating or deferring hirings for vacant faculty and staff positions and taking other...

Spending bill removes limits on toxic reports

The $410 billion spending bill that President Obama signed will reinstate detailed toxic chemical reporting at more than 3,500 facilities nationwide.

The Bush administration in 2006 reduced the amount of information that facilities storing and releasing smaller amounts of toxic chemicals had to submit to the federal government. Companies using less than 5,000 pounds of toxic...

Value of rockfish poached from Bay, Potomac set at $3 million to $7 million

About 600,000 pounds of rockfish with a retail value of $3 million to $7 million were handled by a ring that trafficked fish from the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, law enforcement officials said in early February.

Nine people have been charged after a four-year undercover probe that authorities called the largest-ever investigation of illegal commercial fishing in the area.

...

Expert on overfishing, climate change is Obama’s pick to head NOAA

Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist and expert on overfishing and climate change, is President Barack Obama's choice to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lubchenco is the first woman to head the agency, which oversees ocean and atmospheric research and the National Weather Service. One of its divisions, the National...

MD proposes new limits on blue crab harvests in 2009

Maryland in December proposed setting daily limits on female crab harvests and closing the commercial harvest periodically throughout the season next year with the goal of reviving the Chesapeake Bay's damaged crab population.

The proposed regulations by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources would close the commercial season for harvesting mature female hard crabs from June...

Blind cave critters in Shenandoah Valley offer insight to water quality

The Madison Cave isopod, a rare, blind, pigment- less cave dweller, must be the weirdest looking sentinel of water quality in the country.

Found only on 12 sites in certain parts of the Shenandoah Valley and a splinter of West Virginia, the free-swimming crustacean is fully adapted to a light-free life underground and underwater. Scientists are trying to determine how many there...

Global warming pollution up 3 percent; surpassing dire predictions

The world pumped up its pollution of the chief man-made global warming gas last year, setting a course that could push beyond leading scientists' projected worst-case scenario, international researchers said in September.

The new numbers, called "scary"' by some, were a surprise because scientists thought an economic downturn would slow energy use. Instead, carbon dioxide output...

VA adds 1,100 miles of rivers to polluted list

About 1,100 miles of Virginia's rivers and streams have been added to the state's list of polluted waters in the last two years, bringing the total to 10,600 miles, state environmental regulators said in June.

The state Department of Environmental Quality released its 2008 water quality report, which listed about 40 percent of the state's waters as polluted. All of the major...

Activists announce plan to clean up Elizabeth River by 2020

Environmentalists have announced an ambitious plan to make one of the Bay's most badly polluted tributaries safe for swimming, fishing and shellfishing by 2020.

The Elizabeth River has been closed to oyster and clam harvests since the 1920s, and most of the urban river is considered unsafe for fishing and swimming. It is considered by the Bay Program to be one of the watershed's...

Governors seek disaster designation for Chesapeake crabbers

The governors of Maryland and Virginia announced in May that they are seeking federal disaster assistance for watermen who are expected to suffer financially because of limits on blue crab harvests in the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine have sent letters to U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez seeking the Fishery Resource Disaster...

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