Bay Journal

Tom Horton

Memories still alive, thriving at Horton homestead

The smell of the piney woods and the call of bobwhite quail; tracks of my toy wagon in the soft sand road bordered by ditches alive with tadpoles; the warm odors of the grain bin where mom stashed me as she rolled it through the chicken houses at feeding time; racing to pick up bloody squirrels as they tumbled to the ground after blasts from dad’s shotgun.

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Baltimore’s ‘most elegant’ new community not fit for a fish

It has been my joy and anguish through the last five decades to keep track of little Dipping Pond Run, a rare and trouty tributary of Baltimore’s central drainage way, the Jones Falls.

Exquisitely sensitive to water quality, trout are not just a fish, but an idea, a synecdoche — something whose very presence proclaims that a larger whole remains intact, that in some small way...

Prepare to be ticked off when messing with biodiversity

Protecting the environment is usually easier to the extent we can link it to human health concerns. The tough federal Clean Air Act, for example, has been driving the Chesapeake Bay cleanup by reducing nitrogen pollution from dirty air; but the real impetus for the law is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate that it’s saving more than 160,000 human lives each year....

We must count our numbers as well as actions we’re taking to be sustainable

In a classic case of confusing root causes with symptoms, an environmental report on the United States’ rising contribution to climate change over a recent 15-year period was titled The Carbon Boom.

It should have been titled The Population Boom, as virtually the whole increase measured in carbon dioxide emissions came from more people, not from burning more fossil fuel per...

Smart growth down the drain in Maryland

Critics claiming Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s rollback of modern septic tank requirements will modestly increase Bay pollution are misguided.

It’ll be a lot worse than they think.

MD smart growth going down the toilet under septic regs rollback

Critics claiming Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s rollback of modern septic tank requirements will modestly increase Bay pollution are misguided.

It’ll be a lot worse than they think.

Hogan’s administration is opening the gate not only for more-polluting septic systems, but for a lot more of them — for a return to the sprawl development that Maryland has spent most of the last 20...

Lessons from Accidental Oyster Sanctuaries

The oysters came up in the dredge like I hadn’t seen them in 50 years (and rarely even back then): huge and clumped together and bedecked with sponges and all manner of marine organisms, including younger oysters, thriving in the niches of the natural reef we’d just busted into.

It was last winter, and we’d been dragging the bottom of Virginia’s lower York River for a state...

Oyster reefs flourish in the shadows of military, pollution

The oysters came up in the dredge like I hadn’t seen them in 50 years (and rarely even back then): huge and clumped together and bedecked with sponges and all manner of marine organisms, including younger oysters, thriving in the niches of the natural reef we’d just busted into.

It was last winter, and we’d been dragging the bottom of Virginia’s lower York River for a state...

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About Tom Horton

Tom Horton's avatar

Tom Horton is a contributing writer and columnist for the Bay Journal. He wrote for the Baltimore Sun on environmental issues from 1972 through 2006, with a five-year time out when he ran education trips on Smith Island and wrote “Turning the Tide” for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He is author of several books on the Chesapeake Bay, including “Bay Country” and “Island Out of Time” and numerous articles for publications that include National Geographic, Rolling Stone and the New York Times. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. He teaches writing and environmental topics at Salisbury University.

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