Bay Journal

September 2008 - Volume 18 - Number 6

American shad’s decline a mystery

Young American shad will soon begin their perilous fall migration out of Bay tributaries and into coastal waters where, if they're lucky, they will live the next four or five years until they return as adults to spawn.

As they swim downstream, they will have to find their way past predators their ancestors never had to deal with, such as blue catfish in Virginia rivers and the Potomac, largemouth bass-even snakeheads. In some rivers, the young shad will have to make their way through power-producing turbines at hydroelectric dams. ...

White House seeks to cut conservation funding for help Bay farmers

The fate of a huge Farm Bill spending increase targeting the Bay watershed was clouded this summer when the Bush administration proposed withholding that money in the 2009 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

In an Aug. 7 letter to Congress, the White House Office of Management and Budget asked for the elimination of $23 million specifically aimed at Bay cleanup efforts during the next year.

It was among several cuts in farm programs outlined in the letter, which were aimed at freeing $172.3 million to pay for the modernization of computers in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, and to provide staff and information technology support to implement the 2008 Farm Bill. ...

Action plan will coordinate; review Bay cleanup goals

For the past quarter century, the Bay Program has promised to achieve hundreds of goals for everything from improving water quality to ensuring that every high school student gets a "meaningful watershed experience" before graduating.

Volumes of strategies have been written detailing how to achieve those goals.

But as many high-profile goals have been missed and criticism mounted, the Bay Program has for the first time summarized all of its major objectives into a single document. ...

Ariakensis introduction report set to be released in October

The long-anticipated environmental impact statement regarding the potential introduction of a nonnative oyster into the Chesapeake Bay has been delayed again, with officials now expecting a draft report to be released in October.

The document-which officials say will weigh in at about 1,500 pages-has been undergoing a scientific peer review and is now slated for release Oct. 17, officials say.

Some of the latest delay was caused by the need to give reviewers adequate time to go over the comprehensive document and resolve issues they raised. But after a meeting of the scientific peer review panel in mid- August, officials said most issues have now been resolved. ...

NOAA deploys ‘smart buoy’ near mouth of Rappahannock

People exploring the Bay-whether on boats, or taking a virtual excursion on the Internet-can tap into information from a "smart buoy" deployed this summer near the mouth of the Rappahannock River.

It is the fourth buoy deployed by NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office over the last two years to provide near real-time observation data of the Bay's conditions, as well as interpretive information along the route of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

The buoy was deployed off Stingray Point, near Deltaville, VA, on July 19 to mark the 400th anniversary of Smith's exploration of the region. The point gets its name from a July 1608 event in which Smith, while using a sword to fish in shallow waters near the mouth of the Rappahannock River, was stung by a stingray and nearly died. He recovered and ate the stingray for dinner. ...

Emissions ruling may cause Bay to miss nutrient reduction goal for air

A federal court ruling in July that tossed out an EPA rule to reduce smog and soot pollution in the Eastern United States means the Bay Program will likely miss one of the few 2010 nutrient reduction goals it had been expected to achieve.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia concluded that the Clean Air Interstate Rule, which would have required sharp reductions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, was "fundamentally flawed."

At a July 30 Congressional hearing, Benjamin Grumbles, EPA assistant administrator for water, warned in written testimony that the decision would likely have "serious and adverse impacts to the health of the Bay." ...

Alliance partnership with Coke, OMO-SET offers free rain barrels

Free rain barrels are available through a partnership between the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore Coca-Cola Bottling Company and OMO-Science, Energy & Technology. By collecting rainwater that normally flows off a property, rain barrels save money on water bills, conserve water during dry periods and prevent polluted runoff.

The Alliance, a longstanding advocate of water conservation, recently approached Baltimore Coca- Cola about reusing its barrels for collecting rainwater and received an enthusiastic response. The reuse of the 55-gallon barrels not only help in the effort to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but also eliminate the energy Baltimore Coca-Cola would have expended recycling the plastic barrels. ...

PA approves bill that would help fund wastewater plant upgrades

The Pennsylvania General Assembly and Gov. Ed Rendell approved bills in early July that could make up to $1.2 billion in new funding available for infrastructure improvements, including wastewater treatment plant upgrades in the Bay watershed.

One bill, sponsored by Sen. Jane Earll (R-Erie) would provide $850 million in funding for drinking water and wastewater plant improvements, flood protection projects and high hazard dam repair.

A second bill, sponsored by Sen. Ray Musto, (D-Luzerne) authorizes a $400 million bond issue referendum on the November ballot to fund drinking water and wastewater projects. ...

Come back on the Beaten Path

Capt. John Smith brought the earliest Europeans to the shores of the Nanticoke River in 1608. Before long, he might also bring more customers to Millie's Road House in the town of Vienna, MD.

Millie Cusick, the restaurant's owner, couldn't be more pleased.

"This is a little homey town with beautiful waterways, but nobody knows we're here," Cusick said.

Four hundred years after his journey, John Smith may help solve this contemporary problem. If things go as planned, Vienna will soon transition from a hidden town to a stop-worthy destination on the new Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. ...

A Bay Journal Film, Nassawango Legacy



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