Bay Journal

Donna Morelli

Pennsylvania drinking water systems among nation’s worst violators, report finds

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Millions of people in the Bay watershed and nationwide are drinking water from systems that have violated federal Safe Drinking Water standards, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Pennsylvania had the worst performance in the Bay region, and the third highest number of total violations of any state nationwide, according to the NRDC. That finding came on the...

Students bent on making hellbender PA’s state amphibian

With its huge, flat head and slimy skin, the Eastern hellbender won’t win any beauty contests. It’s picked up such unflattering nicknames as “snot otter” and “old lasagna sides.”

But because the rarely seen giant salamander can only live in the most pristine of streams, a small group of Pennsylvania high school students thinks Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis should...

Inspectors find most PA farms, while not all in compliance, are trying

On the day of the inspection of the 350 acres he farms, Jay M. Diller drove his skid loader from the barn to meet staff from the district conservation office. The farmer pulled out large files from his desk and got ready.

“Nobody likes inspections,” said Diller, as he produced plans and other farm records the inspectors wanted to see. “I don’t even like state inspections on my...

Parking lot project catches the eye as well as stormwater

An earthquake, and then a flood, forced officials to repair a parking lot retaining wall in hilly Ellicott City, MD. The wall, already weakened by the magnitude 5.8 quake that shook the East Coast in 2011, was damaged a month later when Tropical Storm Lee took its toll on the historic business district of shops and restaurants.

Howard County’s innovative repair job did more...

Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper hangs it up for politics

The Lower Susquehanna River is getting a new watchdog. Michael Helfrich, the first Riverkeeper for the bottom half of the Chesapeake Bay’s largest tributary, is leaving after 12 years, to pursue a career in politics.

Already a part-time York, PA, city councilman and president of the five-member municipal governing body, Helfrich is vacating his full-time Riverkeeper post on...

Growing partnerships with farmers key to restoring Octoraro watershed

The Chesapeake region is fortunate to have a variety of organizations that are interested in creating innovative partnerships to address local needs for clean water.

In 2016, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay was awarded two grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to reduce nitrate pollution in the Octoraro watershed in Lancaster and Chester counties, PA, an...

Sojourns help to create the next wave of our waters keepers

A few weeks ago, one of our past “sojourn babies,” Kevin Rudisill, called our office to ask if I would discuss the Chesapeake Bay at an eighth-grade Earth Day assembly. I told him I’d be honored.

I hadn’t seen Kevin since the Alliance organized its last Susquehanna Sojourn in 2009. Then, he was an adorable, active boy with chubby cheeks who liked to hang out with the ground...

20 years of PA Sojourns-and counting

It has been more than 20 years since two friends sat around a campfire, intrigued by the cool, lush surroundings of the Susquehanna.

"The Chesapeake Bay seemed very far away to Pennsylvanians," said Cindy Adams Dunn. "How could we ask people to care about the Bay when they didn't know much about their own rivers?"

At that time, Dunn was the first Pennsylvania employee of the...

Not all ‘pretty’ streams are healthy streams

Picture this: A couple walks hand in hand in a community park, gazing at the picturesque stream meandering its way through banks that look like the cliffs of Dover.

Where some see eroded banks and begin to calculate the pounds of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus flowing downstream, the couple sees a beautiful park. It's green. It has water. It appears natural.

This is a scene...

About Donna Morelli

Donna Morelli is a staff writer for the Bay Journal based in Harrisburg. She's the former director of the Pennsylvania office of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Sneads Farm Asparagus Festival May 27-29 in Fredericksburg, VA
Ernst Conservation Seeds: Restoring the Native Balance
Tour dem Parks, hon.

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