Bay Journal

May 2015 - Volume 25 - Number 3
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Follow that fish!

It took more than two years — and endless hours of frustration — before biologists found their first sturgeon on Marshyhope Creek.

Week after week, they went to the river and placed 100-yard gill nets, only to pull them out empty. Then, last fall they finally caught eight adult fish.

Now, they can find them any time they want. They just have to turn on their computer.

Growth more likely to negatively impact economy than help it

“I thought this was about the Bay, but most of your speakers the first day are talking about the economy?”

This query came in various forms from environmentalists considering the Bay Journal’s Growth and the Chesapeake conference earlier this winter.

But economics was exactly the point of the first Bay agenda ever to challenge the “grow or die” paradigm that rules modern society. Our environmental crisis, from the Chesapeake to the planet, is really an economic crisis.

Resident geese: a water quality problem or just fuss & feathers?

Where manicured golf courses and neighborhood ponds abound, so do the geese. Thriving in the urban and suburban habitats of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, geese are waddling in the streets, pooping in the ponds and congregating dangerously close to highway off-ramps long after they should have migrated elsewhere.

In fact, there are two types of geese in this region — those that leave and those that don’t. Resident geese, as they’re called, are not just geese that got lazy and decided to forgo the trek. They actually are genetically different from their migratory counterparts, said Larry Hindman, waterfowl project manager with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Appeals court sides with aquaculturist seeking to grow oysters, clams in Chincoteague Bay

Appeals court sides with aquaculturist seeking to grow oysters, clams in Chincoteague Bay

An oyster farmer who applied for a lease to grow shellfish six years ago may finally be able to get his crops in the water.

Don Marsh, a businessman, applied to grow oysters and clams in Chincoteague Bay, in an area a mile south of South Point, near Ocean City and Assateague Island.

Conference shows why endless growth is no longer possible

A group of respected economists and planners delivered a stark message in Frederick, MD, recently — in a world with finite resources, endless growth is impossible. To restore clean water in the Chesapeake Bay, it’s a fact that must be faced.

Their words were delivered at the conference, Growth and the Future of the Chesapeake Bay, which took place Jan. 13–14 at Hood College.

Nearly 200 people traveled from across the region to attend the conference, which was sponsored by the Bay Journal, Chesapeake Research Consortium, Hood College, Town Creek Foundation and a private donor who wished to remain anonymous.

Potomac Conservancy crowd-funds to preserve WV’s White Horse Mountain

This spring, the Potomac Conservancy entered into uncharted territory — and not just because it’s buying land in West Virginia.

The nonprofit, focused on the health of the Potomac watershed, has never purchased land before, and certainly not $3 million worth of a forested mountain. And its team is making the purchase with the help of another first: a public crowd-funding campaign.

Ownership, sharing of fish tracking data raises issues

Acoustic technology has allowed scientists along the Atlantic Coast to work together to track the movements of thousands of fish in ways unimaginable only a decade ago.

But it has also created some sticky questions: Who “owns” the data — the researcher who inserted the tag in the fish, or the researcher who operated the receiver that detected the fish? How public should that information be? And how should it be archived?

Company suspends plans for wind farm on MD’s Eastern Shore

The company behind an Eastern Shore wind farm that has been in development for nearly five years has decided to pull the plug.

Adam Cohen, president of Pioneer Green Energy, wrote a letter to Somerset County’s commissioners to inform them that plans for the wind farm have been suspended.

“After careful review and discussion with stakeholders, it is apparent that we are no longer able to proceed with our investment in any way in the near term. We are forced to thus place the project in indefinite suspension and as such we will not be requesting a permit for construction of the Great Bay Wind project in Somerset County at the current time or in the foreseeable future,” Cohen wrote.

Mid-Atlantic offshore drilling moving forward despite opposition

The Obama administration’s proposal to open parts of the Atlantic Coast and other areas to offshore oil drilling has drawn more than 50,000 public comments that show, among other things, a split among Bay state leaders over the idea.

The Interior Department in January proposed a five-year lease program to run from 2017 to 2022 that would open an area from the Virginia-Maryland state line south to Georgia, as well as new areas along the Gulf Coast and off Alaska, for oil and gas development on the outer continental shelf — an area of federal jurisdiction that begins at three nautical miles offshore and extends in most areas for 200 miles.

Region not on track to make nitrogen reduction goals

When the Bay region went on a pollution diet in 2010, it was touted as a game changer. After repeatedly missing past deadlines, the new, more enforceable diet was intended to ensure that pollution reduction goals would not only be met, but progress would be accelerated.

Instead, new figures released from the state-federal Bay Program partnership in April provide a sense of deja vu.

Oyster, clam aquaculture harvests make record gains in VA

Virginia continued to see record gains in aquaculture for 2014, with a combined $55.9 million worth of oysters and clams sold in the state.

Oysters, which have been on the rise in the state over the past decade, increased 33 percent. Clams, which have suffered from a market glut and lower prices in past years, were up 14 percent.

It’s all-around good news for the industry,” said Karen Hudson, of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She co-authored the “2014 Virginia Shellfish Aquaculture Situation and Outlook Report.”

Crabcake fraud: New report finds 38 percent are mislabeled in Chesapeake Bay restaurants

Blue crab, the Chesapeake Bay’s most iconic edible species, also appears to be its most impersonated on menus in the region that say they’re selling local seafood.

A report released today by the conservation nonprofit Oceana found that 38 percent of crab cakes labeled as local were comprised of an entirely different species of crab, predominantly imported from the Indo-Pacific region. In Annapolis and Baltimore, nearly 50 percent of “Maryland” or “Chesapeake Bay” crab cakes were mislabeled.

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