Bay Journal

Opinion

State pollution-permitting must be reformed to adapt to climate change

Recent extreme weather — Hurricanes Harvey and Florence — caused widespread toxic contamination of floodwaters after low-lying chemical plants, coal ash storage facilities and hog waste lagoons were inundated.

Such storm-driven chemical disasters demonstrate that state water pollution permitting programs are overdue for reforms that account for stronger and more intense hurricanes and heavy rainfall events, sea level rise and extreme heat.

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Time to put the pedal to the metal: Create bicycle-friendly cities

My hope for America’s future? With any luck it’ll be a yawn.

Such a future begins with cities. About four in five of us already live in urban areas. Since the 1950s, U.S. cities with populations of more than a million people have increased from 12 to 53.

So cities, yes, but cities fit for people? The U.S. city of today is meant for cars, surely as the auto industry decades ago pushed laws to punish jaywalking — the term “jay” meaning a clueless bumpkin who dares impede motorists by walking outside the lines decreed by traffic engineers.

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Local Government Advisory Committee is here to help — just tell us what you need

What prevents you from doing more to protect the water resources in your community? Is it simply a matter of insufficient funds? Do you have staff within your organization who can plan, implement and maintain watershed protection and restoration projects if you have the funding? Do you know who to go to with questions or for guidance about reducing nutrient and sediment loads in your community? 

In my experience, it’s a little bit of all of these that keeps local governments from doing more. This is the message the Local Government Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Executive Council delivered to the Chesapeake Bay Program leadership.

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We can’t improve the Bay’s water quality without addressing manure

Despite decades of concern, beginning seriously with the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1977, water quality improvement in the Chesapeake Bay after 40 years is disappointingly small.

Most of the action has been focused on reducing urban point-source pollution. The reason water quality has not improved significantly is simple. The largest source of pollution, inefficient crop fertilization, has never been meaningfully addressed. That conclusion applies to water bodies worldwide, including the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

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Flood of 10 million trees could help offset impact of future PA deluges

Veteran newspaper photographer John Pavoncello has been eye-to-eye with all kinds of human drama.

In the short time his drone imaging business has been up and running, Pavoncello has gone above and beyond to record traumas faced by fire and law enforcement first responders.

But it was the sight of nature’s powerful force that he called “crazy.”

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Whether they’re coming or going, all Chesapeake islands have a tale to tell

The essential landform around the Chesapeake Bay is peninsular, from Virginia’s Northern Neck between the Potomac and Rappahannock to virtually all of Calvert County, MD, and the Broadneck and Mayo peninsulae of Anne Arundel County, MD. And there’s the mother of them all, Delmarva.

And yet the “insulae” — the Bay islands — are what intrigue us most, even if they are insignificant acreages compared to the “pen” (from Latin for “almost”) islands. Perhaps it’s their historic isolation/insulation from the wider world that ensorcels us. Something interesting, different, mysterious must be going on out there.

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Turkey Hill Dairy leads way on Lancaster County, PA, farms

Lancaster County, PA, is an astonishing county. Of the 650,000 acres that make up the county, 425,000 acres are used agriculturally. The county is home to almost 6,000 farms, of which 99 percent are owned locally.

Lancaster is ranked No. 1 in the United States for productivity on non-irrigated soil and the value of market products sold annually is $1.5 billion. Farms in Lancaster County provide pork, poultry, eggs and milk for millions of consumers.

These great numbers do not come without a cost, though. More than half of Lancaster County’s 1,400 miles of streams are impaired.

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Alliance to honor environmental leaders at annual Taste gala

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s annual Environmental Awards and Taste of the Chesapeake are just around the corner! This year, our hallmark community gathering takes place Sept. 13 on the Belcher Pavilion’s rooftop Conference Center at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.

At the Taste, the Alliance, its partners and supporters recognize progress in Chesapeake restoration efforts and celebrate outstanding environmental leaders from across the watershed.

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States must focus on how much is left to do, not how much has been done

This is a critical time for Bay restoration. At the halfway point between 2010 and 2025 the question is: Are we on track?

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s midpoint assessment focused on the principal Bay states’ progress in implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, also known the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load or “pollution diet.” These three states are responsible for achieving roughly 95 percent of the remaining pollution reductions. Our evaluation has found success, but also troubling trends.

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As the tide rises against them, Deal Islanders hold their ground

A small country road, ambitiously designated a state highway, branches off U.S. Route 13 in the town of Princess Anne, MD, and meanders out into the marsh of the Eastern Shore. For 19 miles, the road travels through forests of loblolly pines before giving way to miles of marsh grass and patched water. Continue out into the marshes, past where you would expect to see humans and you end up in Deal Island, one of the last classic Chesapeake Bay watermen communities.

The size of the island is dependent on your level of optimism: the county website describes Deal as being 3 miles wide and 1 mile long. The resident-maintained island website describes Deal as 6 miles wide and 3 miles long. It depends on how you determine what is “land” and what is “water,” a line that becomes ever more difficult to draw as the years pass.

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Opinion: Archives

Keep covering Fones Cliffs

I would like to thank the Bay Journal for continued, in-depth coverage of the damages and violations at Fones Cliffs along Virginia’s Rappahannock River. It is clear that many citizens across the Chesapeake landscape are concerned about...

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Around the Watershed

As the tide rises against them, Deal Islanders hold their ground

A small country road, ambitiously designated a state highway, branches off U.S. Route 13 in the town of Princess Anne, MD, and meanders out into the marsh of the Eastern Shore. For 19 miles, the road travels through forests of loblolly pines before giving way to miles of marsh grass and...

What does the Bay TMDL Midpoint Assessment mean to you?

The final details have been hammered out and the wheels put into motion. Over the last few months, the Principals’ Staff Committee of the Chesapeake Bay Program has met more than once to come to consensus on several important decisions impacting the future of the Chesapeake Bay...

Hogan takes reins of Council at a critical time for the Chesapeake

In the end, it was a custom-made crab cracker, made from the wood of the Pride of Baltimore, and a crab baseball hat that sealed the transition. On June 8 at the annual meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Executive Council, Gov. Terry McAuliffe officially handed over the...

Read more Around the Watershed »

Chesapeake Born

Time to put the pedal to the metal: Create bicycle-friendly cities

My hope for America’s future? With any luck it’ll be a yawn. Such a future begins with cities. About four in five of us already live in urban areas. Since the 1950s, U.S. cities with populations of more than a million people have increased from 12 to 53. So cities, yes, but...

Whether they’re coming or going, all Chesapeake islands have a tale to tell

The essential landform around the Chesapeake Bay is peninsular, from Virginia’s Northern Neck between the Potomac and Rappahannock to virtually all of Calvert County, MD, and the Broadneck and Mayo peninsulae of Anne Arundel County, MD. And there’s the mother of them all,...

Oligotrophication! A big word for even bigger news, a Bay comeback

It was a year ago, a sunny summer morning overlooking the Choptank River… We were discussing what it has all meant, studying the Chesapeake Bay for about 40 years with just retired University of Maryland scientists Walter Boynton and Michael Kemp. Except they’re not sounding as...

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Conservation Matters

Terrapin park shows importance of access to the Bay

The Terrapin Nature Area in Stevensville, MD, reminds me why I’ve committed my career to conservation. This gorgeous park hides in plain sight on Kent Island, waving to everyone traveling eastward over the Bay Bridge, and offers so much to its visitors. Managed by Queen...

Immerse yourself in Dumbarton Oaks Park

The Japanese have a practice translated in English as “forest bathing,” in which people immerse themselves in a forest as a preventative health measure. Studies have shown tremendous benefits of this practice, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and improved sleep,...

At the ten-year mark, happy birthday to the Bay’s beautiful and profoundly historic national trail

As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of a national park we have right here in our collective backyard: the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Winding through much of the Chesapeake region, the...

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Forum

State pollution-permitting must be reformed to adapt to climate change

Recent extreme weather — Hurricanes Harvey and Florence — caused widespread toxic contamination of floodwaters after low-lying chemical plants, coal ash storage facilities and hog waste lagoons were inundated. Such storm-driven chemical disasters demonstrate that state water...

Local Government Advisory Committee is here to help — just tell us what you need

What prevents you from doing more to protect the water resources in your community? Is it simply a matter of insufficient funds? Do you have staff within your organization who can plan, implement and maintain watershed protection and restoration projects if you have the funding? Do you know...

We can’t improve the Bay’s water quality without addressing manure

Despite decades of concern, beginning seriously with the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1977, water quality improvement in the Chesapeake Bay after 40 years is disappointingly small. Most of the action has been focused on reducing urban point-source pollution. The reason water quality...

Read more Forum »

Letters to the Editor

Keep covering Fones Cliffs

I would like to thank the Bay Journal for continued, in-depth coverage of the damages and violations at Fones Cliffs along Virginia’s Rappahannock River. It is clear that many citizens across the Chesapeake landscape are concerned about what happens at this very special place rich in...

Elect to protect Eastern Shore

Thank goodness the election is finally over. I heard the term “election stress disorder” this fall and it immediately resonated with me and many others I know. Part of the stress for me related to the continuous news cycle and overwhelmingly negative tone of the presidential...

Bay needs menhaden more than reduction industry

Much has been written and discussed about menhaden (Brevootia tyrannus), a forage fish for many other fish, birds and mammals. Recently, a bill was introduced into the Virginia Legislature to move the management of these fish from the Virginia Legislature to the Virginia Marine Resources...

Read more Letters to the Editor »

Message from the Alliance

RiverSmart: BayScapes, rain garden performance tied to maintenance

On a chilly Saturday morning in March, a group of District of Columbia homeowners huddled around a backyard bonfire, eager for the approaching spring season. In addition to the warmer weather, many in the group also shared their excitement for the resurgence of native landscaping gardens...

Turkey Hill Dairy leads way on Lancaster County, PA, farms

Lancaster County, PA, is an astonishing county. Of the 650,000 acres that make up the county, 425,000 acres are used agriculturally. The county is home to almost 6,000 farms, of which 99 percent are owned locally. Lancaster is ranked No. 1 in the United States for productivity on...

Alliance to honor environmental leaders at annual Taste gala

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s annual Environmental Awards and Taste of the Chesapeake are just around the corner! This year, our hallmark community gathering takes place Sept. 13 on the Belcher Pavilion’s rooftop Conference Center at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in...

Read more Message from the Alliance »

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