Bay Journal

June 2009 - Volume 19 - Number 4

Executive order, 2-year deadlines boost efforts to clean up Bay

With President Barack Obama ordering stepped-up federal participation in Chesapeake restoration efforts, and governors promising to achieve-and be held accountable for-short-term nutrient reduction goals, Bay cleanup leaders say they have reached a turning point for restoring the Chesapeake and its tributaries

At the May Chesapeake Executive Council meeting, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the "full weight" of the federal government was poised to assist-and require-accelerated Chesapeake restoration efforts. ...

Yes, there is something fishy about scientists’ spying on Bay’s fish-eating birds

Scientists have lately taken to snatching feathers from osprey nests around the Bay. And, in some cases, they've set up cameras to spy on everything going on in eagle nests.

And when it comes to cormorants, they wade straight into their colonies.

"The adults flush, but the young stay and regurgitate whatever is in their stomach," said Adam Duerr, a biologist with the Center for Conservation Biology, a research center operated by the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University. ...

Helping the Bay’s rivers run silver again

Back in the 1700s, one Potomac traveler remarked in amazement that shad were so abundant that "above 5,000 have been caught at one single haul of the seine." Jim Cummins has never seen 5,000 shad in a net-a score of fish is more typical-but he keeps working toward the day when the river again runs silver with migrating fish, as people say it once did.

Cummins, a biologist with the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, has surveyed shad on the river with a crew of watermen since 1995, as well as stripped eggs from captured females to help rebuild populations. ...

Fish managers seek emergency action to protect river herring

East Coast fishery managers are calling for emergency action from the federal government to control the bycatch of river herring in ocean fisheries in an attempt to reverse the sharp decline of blueback herring and alewife.

Millions of the small fish once flooded Chesapeake Bay tributaries during their spring spawning runs, but those migrations have dwindled to a trickle in recent decades as populations hit historic lows around the Bay and in most other East Coast rivers.

While a number of factors may contribute to the decline, fishery managers suspect that large numbers are caught by fishermen targeting other species in federal waters-those more than three miles off the coast, where river herring spend most of their lives. ...

Environmental groups across the watershed unite for Bay

Hoping to influence policy by providing a unified regional front, more than 60 environmental groups launched a campaign in May to press Congress and the Obama administration to take greater actions to restore the Bay and the streams that feed it.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Coalition includes organizations from the District of Columbia and all six states that drain into the Bay, which represent hundreds of thousands of members.

"By coordinating our experiences, our expertise and our members, we will be able to speak with a clear, strong voice to make the tough choices that will give us clean water," said Tony Caligiuri, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation. "We want results, and we will expect leadership, resources and effective implementation of programs from the officials in our federal, state and local governments." ...

Steps being taken to allow public to set foot on island

When Barbara Brown was a little girl, summers along the Susquehanna River were pure joy. Garrett Island, just offshore of Perryville, MD, was the center of it all. The only rules for playing on the island were-well, there weren't any.

Brown would launch into the water from a rope swing and swim to a small stretch of sand on the island's eastern shore. She'd swim home for lunch, and then swim back to the island until dinner time. Along with most of the kids in Perryville.

"It was just part of the routine, like playing basketball or baseball," Brown said. ...

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