Bay Journal

January 1994 - Volume 3 - Number 10

Bay bounces back from record-setting spring ‘freshet’

 Monitoring data is slowly beginning to paint a picture of what happened during the spring 1993 “freshet,” which pumped billions of gallons of fresh water into the Chesapeake Bay.

The amount of water from rain and snowmelt that flowed down the Susquehanna River last April was the highest ever recorded. It reduced salinity levels in much of the Bay through July. And scientists studying the Atlantic Ocean last summer found a plume of low salinity water stretching 50 miles from the mouth of the Bay. ...

New program to aid private sector nutrient training

 The Bay Program is making it easier for agricultural-related businesses and industry to participate in the restoration of the Bay and help protect water quality by developing nutrient management training and certification in the watershed.

Its Model Bay Area Nutrient Management Training and Certification Program provides a standard framework to guide each of the Bay states — Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania — in their efforts to enlist, train, and certify individuals from the private and public sectors to write farm nutrient management plans. ...

Potomac group gets a flying start

 A new organization working to protect the Potomac River got off to a big start in December by organizing a huge cleanup — the removal of four, 50-foot girders, each weighing 6,300 pounds, from an island near the American Legion Bridge outside Washington.

Exactly how the girders, considered the biggest pieces of trash in the river, got there is a mystery. But the newly formed Potomac Conservancy arranged to have a helicopter lift the girders and haul them downriver where they were loaded onto trucks and hauled off for recycling. ...

Virginia moves to restrict blue crab dredging

 The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has adopted a pair of measures aimed at reducing fishing pressure on the blue crab as part of an effort to comply with a Baywide management plan that calls for stabilizing the economically important crab fishery, which has grown dramatically in recent years.

The commission approved measures that would limit the number of people participating in the blue crab dredge fishery and backed a proposal that would lower the daily dredge catch limit per boat from 25 barrels to 20 barrels. ...

PA’s pilot energy efficiency program could aid the Bay

 The EPA has launched an initiative to show businesses in the Washington-Baltimore region that they can cut their utility bills by investing in energy-saving lights and computers, and by making their buildings more energy efficient.

The area was designated an “Energy Star Region” Nov. 1 as part of an effort to intensively promote three of the agency’s voluntary energy efficiency programs — Green Lights, Energy Star Buildings, and Energy Star Computers — in one geographic region. ...

Bay trends show phosphorus drop; nitrogen holds steady

A trend analysis of the first eight years of nutrient data collected by the Bay Program’s monitoring program has found a significant decline in phosphorus concentrations in Chesapeake waters, but no change in nitrogen concentrations or the amount of oxygen in the water.

Trend analyses are important tools because they provide a gauge by which progress toward restoring the Bay can be measured. The findings seem to verify estimates of nutrient loads by the states and the Bay Program which indicate more progress has been made in controlling phosphorus than nitrogen. The new analysis, which will presented in a soon-to-be-published report, analyzed data collected from 1984 to 1992. ...

York River experiment finds Japanese oysters resist diseases

Japanese oysters appear to be resistant to the two oyster diseases that have devastated native oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay — a finding that may boost efforts to find a disease-resistant gene that could aid the native species.

The finding came from a controversial experiment that began June 29 when trays containing 200 Japanese oysters and 400 Bay oysters were placed in the York River.

Since then, researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences found that 95 percent of the native eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, died from the diseases MSX and Dermo. None of the Japanese oysters, Crassostrea gigas, died as the result of disease. ...

Recommendations of the Oyster Roundtable


MSX and Dermo:

Monitor the prevalence and intensity of MSX and Dermo; develop a process for certifying seed oysters as free of MSX and Dermo; minimize the possibility of spreading MSX and Dermo through transplantation of seed oysters, including through the repletion program; conduct targeted research; initiate pilot field programs to plant and test strains of the eastern oyster not native to the Bay.

Habitat/Water Quality: ...

Divergent groups sign onto MD ‘action plan’ to save oysters

In an effort to find some way to restore healthy oyster stocks in Maryland’s portion of the Bay, representatives of long-warring interest groups have put aside their differences and agreed upon a wide range of actions to help the beleaguered bivalve.

The 40-member panel brought together by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources signed an “action plan” in December that recommended dozens of actions relating to aquaculture, research, and the creation of special “recovery areas.” ...

Congress approves bill to protect migratory fish

A measure that gives fish conservation efforts from Maine to Florida the kind of legal clout credited with restoring striped bass stocks in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coast has become law. The Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act will require East Coast states to enact management plans for “interjurisdictional fisheries” — those stocks which migrate across state borders — that have been developed by the Atlantic State’s Marine Fisheries Commission. Any state that fails to enact conservation measures will risk a federally enforced moratorium. ...

Bay toxics effort to target ‘regions of concern’

Finding evidence of nutrient impacts on the Bay is easy: Take a boat out during the spring and look for algae blooms. Huge blooms, caused by excessive amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen, reduce water quality and degrade habitats.

Finding impacts from toxic substances, by contrast, is a different story. A trip out in the Bay may find measurable concentrations of metals or organic contaminants, but no indication of their impacts. And just measuring those contaminants in a water sample could cost up to $1,400. ...

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