Bay Journal

Rona Kobell

Bay crabs disappearing in the water – and on restaurant plates

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Recently, I had lunch with a chef friend of mine, one of the very best, who thinks keenly and constantly about the relationship between environmental sustainability and the way we eat. This chef has a strong commitment to sourcing foods locally —and has kept at it even as that notion has become increasingly expensive.

He had been talking to his crab supplier recently. The guy...

The night I feared I’d lose my leg

For years, I’ve been writing about swimmers and watermen getting serious bacteria infections from contact with the Chesapeake Bay. But I’ve also been telling people when they ask that it’s generally safe to swim in the Bay and its tributaries.  At least that’s what I used to say — until I got an infection of my own. Until I lay awake in a hotel room far away from home, wondering...

A cookout for a cause

“Buy local is more than a slogan - it’s a movement to preserve farmland, protect the environment, bolster local economies and provide wholesome, nutritious, great-tasting food for more Maryland families,” the governor said.

The Chesapeake Bay’s pollution diet, and my own

I’m 42 years old and I have never had a fast-food hamburger. I don’t like French fries, potato chips, cheetos, Doritos, etc. I’ve never eaten a Twinkie. I don’t want one. I hate soda. I don’t drink regular, or diet. And I long ago gave up all sugar drinks like lemonade and juice. And yet, as I headed into my 30s, my weight started to creep up.

...

Slow steam ahead

Drive up to Schnaitman’s Boat Rentals in Wye Mills, MD, and it’s as if you stepped back in time.

Even on a windy day, the Wye River is calm. Couples from New Jersey and Pennsylvania idle away the day in skiffs and rowboats, crab traps and lines overboard, hoping to catch some dinner. When they do, they bring it in, and Schnaitman’s steams up the catch — some of the fattest,...

A girl, a question, and a long answer

But if a child’s life is a lot of absolutes, a reporter’s life is full of nuances. These two worlds came to clash when I took my daughter to Tangier Island for three days of reporting. (See story here.) She spent a lot of time listening to me reporting on sea-level rise. Person after person told largely the same story, some version of: “Water isn’t rising here. It’s just erosion....

Saving Tangier Island

We have lost so many places on the Chesapeake. When they go, we lose their history and their culture. But we also lose them as bases from which to explore nature. Saving Tangier is important - not just for the few hundred people who live there, but also for the millions of people who don’t.

New rules for transporting oyster seed in Bay region proposed

Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources may soon change the way it issues permits for transporting shellfish over state lines.

Currently, oyster growers in Maryland need a shellfish transport permit to import seed or oyster larvae across state lines — even if that line is just a few miles away in Virginia. Maryland law requires the hatcheries supplying the seed to test each...

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About Rona Kobell

Rona Kobell's avatar

Rona Kobell is a staff writer for the Bay Journal. She has began her journalism career at The Jerusalem Post, then moved to Washington, D.C., to become a writer and editor for Public Risk, a trade journal. She worked for newspapers in St. Joseph, Mo., and her hometown of Pittsburgh before joining The Baltimore Sun in 2000 where she became its Chesapeake Bay reporter in 2004. Her work has won numerous awards and in 2008, she was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying the use of economic incentives in environmental policy.

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When the Chesapeake restoration effort began, scientists and policymakers raised red flags on the problem: continued rapid growth could easily counter any potential gains from ecological improvements. Twenty-five years later, the clean-up effort lags and the topic of growth receives little serious engagement. Even those who express concern about the true costs of growth tend to accept it as unavoidable reality, treating growth as an unquestioned force of nature that must be “accommodated.” Questioning traditional concepts of growth is avoided among political leaders and environmental groups, and little is taught or discussed in the region’s academic institutions. This makes it critical to re-examine concepts of growth, or the acclaimed bay’s restoration — and quality of life in the region — may be jeopardized.
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