Bay Journal

March 2008 - Volume 18 - Number 1

Bill for upgrades at PA water plants creates sticker shock

Anyone in Williamsport, PA, who didn't know they lived in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is getting an education.

Rate payers of the Williamsport Sanitary Authority, which serves about 50,000 people, could see their quarterly water and sewer bills jump from $60 to $190.

The reason: Two treatment plants that serve the area are facing upgrades estimated to cost $150 million. More than half of the expense is for nutrient reduction improvements to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay, nearly 200 miles downstream from the West Branch Susquehanna community. ...

Study links agriculture to increase of intersex fish in Potomac basin

Scientists have been perplexed for years as to why large numbers of male smallmouth bass in the Potomac River basin contain immature egg cells, but they offer some clues in a recent journal article.

Results published in the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health suggest that the high rate of “intersex” characteristics in smallmouth bass from the Shenandoah River and the South Branch of the Potomac appears to be linked to areas with large human populations or intense agricultural operations. ...

Farm Bill, upgrade at Blue Plains plant top list of Bay Commission priorities

Passing a new Farm Bill and funding the upgrade to the District of Columbia's Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant tops the list of federal priorities in a new report from the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

The commission, an advisory panel that represents the legislatures of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, in February issued a "Congressional Agenda" outlining what it believes to be the most important Bay-related actions Congress can pursue between now and 2010.

The commission urges final action on the Farm Bill-something that could happen as early as this month-and asks that the legislation maintain provisions that would steer tens of millions of additional dollars annually to the Bay watershed to help farmers install conservation practices that would reduce runoff. ...

Tight budgets taking bite out of ability to restore Chesapeake

For years, anglers have complained about skinny striped bass in the Bay, claiming rockfish couldn't find enough to eat because too many menhaden-their main food-were being taken out of the Bay.

But a budget bite will likely slow research trying to understand whether the Bay menhaden are suffering "localized depletion"-or management action is needed.

The main source of funding for the research fell victim to budget cuts approved by Congress and the Bush administration this year.

It wasn't alone. Programs aimed at finding ways to restore eelgrass beds, one of the Bay's most important and imperiled species-were also hit. ...

Scientists set target of 200 million adults for blue crab population

As harvest results from 2007 provide the latest evidence that the Chesapeake contains far too few blue crabs, scientists are offering their best guess as to how many should be in the Bay.

About 200 million adults.

That's a figure the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, a group of scientists and fishery managers, recently recommended as a interim Baywide management target.

The figure is based on a historical analysis of crab abundances that were associated with improved reproduction and healthy harvests in the Chesapeake. ...

Setting The Story Straight

The name of John Smith has passed through four centuries of history as one of the Chesapeake's most famous adventurers.

As a leader at the Jamestown settlement, Smith explored and mapped the Bay and its rivers. He interacted with many native people along the way and later created a starring role for himself in the Pocahontas story. He has been featured in books and movies. The anniversary of his travels in 1607 and 1608 has spawned high-profile events across the Bay region and launched the start of a national historic water trail in his name. ...

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