Lack of illustration, description a threat to all catfish

Because the article, “PA officials concerned huge catfish could take over Susquehanna” in the September Bay Journal didn’t contain a picture or description of this particular catfish, it could mean that all catfish caught on this river and its tributaries will be condemned to death due to the omission of this information.

J.R. Walker
Glen Burnie, MD

Editor’s Note: We agree. Here is an illustration of a flathead catfish.

Corps story a bit hasty on Poplar Island judgment

I believe that the article, “Corps of Engineers may get more restoration projects, scrutiny” in the September Bay Journal, intended to present a balanced view of the Corps, citing some of its accounting and bureaucratic weaknesses while at the same time pointing out many of the positive projects completed or under way.

The article did seem to sound genuinely optimistic about the “changing tide” in the Bay region, especially with the new emphasis on restoration and the new efforts for tighter standards and oversight led by Reps. Wayne Gilchrest and Connie Morella.

With respect to the Poplar Island project, though, I felt the article was unfair in stating that “critics say the project is less valuable for wildlife than originally advertised.”

I have been involved as one of the outside agency scientists in monitoring the site since 1996 and have been impressed with the early results so far:

Nearly 400 pairs of common terns and about 40 pairs of least terns, both species of concern in Maryland, have nested on Poplar in the past two years. This year, roughly 75 terrapin nests were found at the south end.

The Corps’ project personnel and its many cooperators have worked very hard, and are adapting on a monthly basis to ensure that these target species persist. Construction is still continuing and filling will take a number of years. Early results are promising, and to say that the project is “less valuable…than advertised” is akin to judging the outcome of a football game based on the first eight minutes!

Let’s wait until the wetlands are established; uplands planted and growing; and submerged grasses established before we make any judgments about wildlife value, please.

R. Michael Erwin
Keswick, VA