Bay Journal

October 2012 - Volume 22 - Number 7

Toxic chemicals moving up food chain in Anacostia

The specifics are murky but the problem is clear: Toxic chemicals in the Anacostia River are invading the food chain from the bottom up, all the way to the people who live along its shores.

Research has shown that fish and clams in the river absorb toxins that lie in the river bottom and move through the water column. When people eat the fish, they eat toxins too.

Baltimore’s blighted areas get new lease on life as gardens crop up

The streets near Lewis Sharpe's home are filled with the Baltimore tableau familiar to fans of "Homicide" and "The Wire." Blocks of boarded-up brick row houses, bookended by package-goods stores, face each other across potholed streets. Chip bags and candy wrappers blow in a light summer breeze. Shirtless young men walk neglected alleyways, passing "keep out" signs and graffiti so faded their messages no longer say anything at all.

Grant programs award $9.2 million to reduce pollution, improve habitats in watershed

Farmers in the Potomac headwaters will get help restoring stream buffers that improve coldwater fish habitat. Landowners in Pennsylvania's Franklin County will be encouraged to convert turf to forest. And on Maryland's Eastern Shore, workers will remove a dam and restore floodplains to open 13 miles of high-quality habitat for imperiled river herring and American eel populations.

Phosphorus Index score will tell MD farmers where, how to apply fertilizer

University of Maryland scientists are revising the state's Phosphorus Index, a tool that takes into account a variety of factors to help a farmer determine where, and how, to apply phosphorus. The tool, known as the P Index, has been around since 2000. But new research on how phosphorus moves in surface water, groundwater and the air persuaded scientists to revise it and make it more accurate. But the phosphorus to nitrogen ratio in most manure is higher than is needed by crops. As a result, when farmers apply enough manure to satisfy the nitrogen needs of a crop, they typically overapply phosphorus.

Rusty crayfish driving out natives in Susquehanna

In 30 years of studying the Susquehanna River, Brian Mangan looked deeply into just about all of its critters — bugs and slugs, snails and fish, natives and exotics.

But the Kings College biologist had never given much thought to crayfish. Then one day six years ago, on a hunt for invasive clams, he walked toward a boat ramp in Halifax, PA, and hundreds of russet-colored, lobster-like creatures swam away from him.

Urban farms a healthy choice for cities as well as individuals

In a world where smart phones and computers make it possible for people to forsake urban areas to work away from the office, even from homes in the country, the city of Baltimore is bringing the typically rural practice of agriculture to the city. The city's sustainability plan, developed in 2009, includes an entire chapter focused on establishing the city as a leader in food sustainability.

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