Bay Journal

February 2009 - Volume 19 - Number 11

Farm Bill targets $23 million to stem runoff, erosion in watershed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in January released $23 million, the largest amount of farm conservation money ever to target the Bay, to help farmers in the watershed take action to control erosion and nutrient runoff.

The funds are the first of a four-year, $188-million commitment made in the 2008 Farm Bill to provide cost-share money to farmers who want to plant nutrient-absorbing cover crops, establish streamside buffers or implement other best management practices that will improve water quality. ...

Expert on overfishing, climate change is Obama’s pick to head NOAA

Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist and expert on overfishing and climate change, is President Barack Obama's choice to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lubchenco is the first woman to head the agency, which oversees ocean and atmospheric research and the National Weather Service. One of its divisions, the National Marine Fisheries Service, is responsible for recovering protected marine species such as whales, salmon and sea turtles. ...

Group files suit to force EPA to clean up Chesapeake Bay

A conservation group filed a federal lawsuit Jan. 5 to force the EPA to clean up the Bay, citing 25 years of failure to restore the nation's largest estuary.

The lawsuit by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation asserts that the EPA's failure to meet its obligations "has led to the continued degradation of water quality in the Chesapeake Bay," harming natural resources and the residents who depend on them.

"We have asked that EPA accept its responsibility under the Clean Water Act," said CBF President Will Baker. "Despite EPA's assertions to the contrary, CBF believes that after 25 years of failed policies, the only way to ensure that EPA does its job is to have a court order requiring it." ...

Top Court won’t review ban on new discharges to polluted waters

In an action that could have ramifications for the Chesapeake Bay and other impaired waterways, the U.S. Supreme Court in January declined to review an appeals court decision that prohibits new discharges into waterways that do not have cleanup schedules.

The court, without comment, refused to hear the appeal by Carlota Copper Co. which will be barred from getting a permit for stormwater discharges from a new mine into Arizona's Pinto Creek because the stream is impaired by excess copper. ...

Obama EPA pick says she’ll visit Bay, support its restoration

The Obama administration's choice for EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, vowed during her confirmation hearing in January to visit the Chesapeake Bay and boost support for its restoration.

In testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, she also vowed that decisions by the agency would be based on science, and that it would operate "with unparalleled transparency and openness."

She was pressed on Chesapeake Bay issues by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-MD, who told Jackson that "we need leadership from this administration to strengthen the partnership between the federal government and the Bay partners in order to be able to move forward." ...

Regional leaders work to steer stimulus funds to Bay-related projects

The economic stimulus bill being drafted by Congress could provide a boost for a wide range of environmental programs over the next two years, and regional leaders are hoping to steer a portion of those funds to Bay restoration efforts.

House Democrats in January released the outline for an economic stimulus bill of $825 billion over the next two years, much of which would be steered toward infrastructure improvements to help spur job creation.

The Chesapeake Bay Commission, an advisory panel representing Bay state legislatures, passed a resolution in January urging members of Congress and governors to push for Chesapeake-related initiatives as the legislation is drafted. ...

All sides weigh in on C. ariakensis introduction to Bay

State and federal officials are reviewing more than 2,000 comments generated from states, scientists, industry groups, politicians and others who weighed in on whether nonnative oysters should have a place in the Chesapeake's future.

As expected, the comments reflect strong support for use of Crassostrea ariakensis in the Bay from watermen, the seafood industry and a number of lawmakers.

But any use of the nonnative oysters in the Chesapeake drew nearly unified opposition from other coastal states, federal agencies, scientists and environmental groups who warned C. ariakensis poses substantial risks and that any introduction would likely be irreversible ...

MD poultry litter rules take effect

Maryland regulations governing the management of poultry litter took effect for the first time on Jan. 12.

The state's Department of the Environment issued the regulations to further minimize the amount of nutrients and other pollutants that can potentially enter waterways from facilities where animals are stabled, confined and fed.

Under the regulations, large poultry operations must have discharge permits and follow procedures for the management and storage of used poultry litter. ...

States readying short-term cleanup milestones

Bay state officials are fleshing out details about the short-term cleanup milestones they plan to begin setting in May to accelerate pollution control efforts and improve accountability in the Bay restoration effort.

The Executive Council has acknowledged that the 2010 cleanup deadline set in the Chesapeake 2000 agreement will be missed by a wide margin, and lagging cleanup efforts have drawn fire from environmental groups, scientists, politicians, editorial writers and others.

At their meeting in November, members of the Executive Council expressed frustration with the slow pace of progress in the Bay's restoration. Instead of setting only long-term goals, they pledged to begin setting interim two-year milestones that they said would hold states and agencies more accountable. ...

Annapolis to ban use of fertilizer with phosphorus in most cases

Citing the need to help clean up the Chesapeake, Annapolis in January became the first municipality in the Bay watershed to ban most uses of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus. The ban takes effect this year.

"We're leading the way," said Alderman Julie Stankivic, who proposed the ordinance, which was unanimously approved by the City Council.

She said the ordinance will help to ensure that homeowners do their part to reduce nutrient pollution that contributes to the degradation of the Bay. ...

York River loses advocacy group with 42-year legacy

The New Year arrived with promise as well as loss, as one of the York River's best and oldest guardians permanently disbanded its organization.

The York Chapter, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-not directly related to the Annapolis-based Chesapeake Bay Foundation-gifted its remaining funds to several Virginia public schools and filed papers to dissolve the organization in January.

"There is a little bit of sadness, but also a pride in the legacy," said Peter Gnoffo, who served as the final board president. ...

Valliant Wealth Strategies



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