As we enter our annual winter break, we leave you with an extra large issue, one that contains the latest edition of Bay Journeys, our quarterly guide to experiencing the Chesapeake's cultural, historic and natural heritage.

This issue will, among other things, introduce you to winter birding hot spots, the experience of escaped slaves during the War of 1812, amphibian watching in early spring and — for the hardy — winter camping on the Bay.

Meanwhile, this month's Bay Journal will leave you with plenty of winter reading.

  • Tom Horton, who has been covering Bay issues for more than three decades, offers a thought-provoking analysis that challenges the conventional wisdom about growth. At a time when many are contesting cleanup costs, he takes a broader look at what drives costs: "another way to look at it is that we are paying in large part to support and subsidize continued growth." You may not agree with his conclusions, but the overarching question of how, or whether, we will deal with growth and development is one we don't seriously discuss.
  • Rona Kobell spent an entire day at the historic meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in Baltimore and reports on its approval of a cap on the menhaden fishery, the culmination of one of the most contentious debates that has been waged around the Bay for more than a decade.
  • Lara Lutz reported on a new study led by the Anacostia Watershed Society that shows an alarming number of people in and around the District of Columbia are eating contaminated fish. It has the most disturbing comment in this issue. It's about why many people continue to eat fish they shouldn't: "What can we say to a person who is hungry right now — that you might get cancer 20 or 30 years down the road?"
  • Speaking of toxics, I reported on a new federal report that indicates that toxic contaminants still pose threats to aquatic life in many parts of the Chesapeake and its watershed. The report will go to the Bay Program, which will determine whether it should set new goals for toxic compounds. Toxic contaminants has lagged as a Bay Program issue as it has focused on nutrients, but can we have a clean Bay if we only address some of the pollutants afflicting its resources?
  • And few people are familiar with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or its relicensing process for hydroelectric dams. But the 5.5-year-long relicensing process for the Conowingo Dam is entering a critical phase that will have major ramifications for the Chesapeake's largest tributary, the resources that inhabit it and the Bay itself.

If you are still looking for something more to do this winter, check out Bulletin Board, which is filled with programs and opportunities for volunteer activities.

Enjoy the winter. We'll be back with the March issue.


The Gateway Network feature about the The Mariners Museum in the December issue misspelled the name of the founder of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. He is Collis Huntington.

The photo of the man and boy hunting in the October Bay Naturalist should have credited Carol Weston as the photographer.

The Bay Journal regrets the errors.