Bay Journal

Opinion

Your local Project Stream Cleanup needs you this spring!

As I reach the halfway point for my Chesapeake Conservation Corps year with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, I find myself reflecting on what it is that has made my past six months so special.

A large number of the great memories comes from the amazing people I work with, as well as the gratifying, hands-on work that I get to be a part of, including attending Project Clean Stream events around the watershed.

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Lure of mainland tugs at roots – and hearts – of Smith Islanders

In the spring of 1987, I made the best move of my life — to remote Smith Island, MD, whose fisherfolk had endured for more than three centuries, 10 miles offshore in the center of Chesapeake Bay.

It never crossed my mind I’d end up making a book on the place, An Island Out of Time (W. W. Norton, 1997), and now a short film of the same name. The new Bay Journal production, An Island Out of Time, which I created with Sandy Cannon-Brown and Dave Harp, debuts at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital in March and airs at 8 p.m. April 23 on Maryland Public Television. 

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Healthy trees, forests are great cure for what ails the Chesapeake Bay

Trees are, indeed, quite remarkable. They are integral to air and water quality as well as a source of water, mitigation for stormwater and control for erosion and sediment.

One hundred mature trees can remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide annually, along with 430 pounds of other air pollutants, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

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Trickle up effect: Reducing Bay’s nitrogen will lower greenhouse gas level

A tale of two gases: both colorless, odorless and essential to life; now also both imperiling life as humans boost them to unnatural levels.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) gets the most press, though it’s a mere trace of Earth’s overall atmosphere, at about .04 percent. But that’s now around 40 percent higher than natural, enough to risk calamitous climate change if we don’t soon change our habits.

Nitrogen virtually is the atmosphere, some 78 percent of it.

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Don’t let the bounty of the Chesapeake become only a memory

You get to a certain point in your life and you know that your days are numbered. You have a lot of years to look back and reflect on the parts that you enjoyed the most. One of those things for me is the Chesapeake Bay.

I have traveled all around to different parts of the Bay. I have swam and fished in many areas, but most of my memories are on the lower Potomac River, about 18 miles up from the Bay.

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Bay crossing study needs to consider importance of Shore farms

Some might not think of it this way, but farmland is critical infrastructure akin to roads and bridges.

It is the source of the food that sustains us. In addition, farmland provides open space, areas for recreation and habitat for wildlife. It also controls floods, suppresses fires, filters water and represents a vast carbon sink to mitigate and even help reverse climate change. Think Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

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2019 conservation commitment tied to memories, plans for future

“The vast possibilities of our great future will become realities only if we make ourselves responsible for that future.” — Gifford Pinchot

I spent the second weekend in December at the place I revere most: Beaver Run Hunting and Fishing Club in Porter Township, PA.

It was full of friends and family, my favorite stone fireplace and 875-plus acres of conserved forest in the Pocono Mountains. We hiked in the chilly gray weather, enjoying the camaraderie of catching up with longtime friends. We laughed at old memories, reflected on 2018 and shared our goals for the New Year.

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Chesapeake Bay Foundation celebrates 40 years of immersing students in watershed experiences

Forty years ago this fall, a group of school teachers arrived at the remote fishing village of Tylerton, MD, on Smith Island with their sleeping bags. Then, they put on old sneakers and walked into the nearby salt marshes.

Those teachers from Baltimore County were the first group to participate in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Smith Island education program, which was created in September 1978. Almost simultaneously, the CBF launched its Baltimore education program. Both programs are celebrating their 40th anniversaries.

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How can we understand a Chesapeake we’ve never seen?

Nowadays, around 350 million to 450 million blue crabs inhabit Chesapeake Bay, according to accurate surveys. That’s not harvests, mind you, but all crabs — soft and hard, from thumbnail size up. It supports fishing that both watermen and chicken-neckers are fairly happy with.

But how happy should we be? Should we expect more in our quest to restore the estuary’s health?
 

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This ‘half measure’ might be enough to save Bay for next generation

Eighteen million people call the Bay watershed home. That means we have 18 million reasons to protect this landscape and, incidentally, we will have an additional 4 million reasons by 2050. If we don’t increase our focus on protecting and restoring the Chesapeake, our children and grandchildren won’t experience the same Bay that we do today — full of wildlife, history and wonder.

The World Wildlife Fund recently released a startling report that said, on average, we have seen a 60 percent decline in the world’s mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian populations since 1970. That means over the course of two generations, we have seen more than half the world’s wildlife disappear.

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Groups would rather fight for the Bay than have to fight over funding

What if we did not have to focus our resources to battle the new administration and keep the cleanup from shutting down? We could have spent the last two years working to increase, rather than preserve Bay funding; focused on getting more targeted funding in Pennsylvania; and taken other actions to accelerate our progress. This attempted reversal must be appreciated for the impact it had on the restoration effort, and it is likely to continue.

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Watershed forum celebrates diverse, innovative partnerships

The first weekend of November marked the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s 13th annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum in Shepherdstown, WV. The event was a whirlwind of workshops, socializing, getting lost in the yellow, autumn forest and learning about what brings us all together under this year’s theme, Connecting Our Communities: Celebrating Diverse and Innovative Partnerships.

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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

Chesapeake Bay Program fueled by science, driven by partnership

For 35 years, the Chesapeake Bay Program has been the collaborating force behind Bay restoration. This December marks 35 years since the signing of the 1983 Chesapeake Bay Agreement. This agreement set up the Chesapeake Bay Program and started the monitoring network that has been at its...

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...

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Chesapeake Born

Lure of mainland tugs at roots – and hearts – of Smith Islanders

In the spring of 1987, I made the best move of my life — to remote Smith Island, MD, whose fisherfolk had endured for more than three centuries, 10 miles offshore in the center of Chesapeake Bay. It never crossed my mind I’d end up making a book on the place, An Island Out of...

Trickle up effect: Reducing Bay’s nitrogen will lower greenhouse gas level

A tale of two gases: both colorless, odorless and essential to life; now also both imperiling life as humans boost them to unnatural levels. Carbon dioxide (CO2) gets the most press, though it’s a mere trace of Earth’s overall atmosphere, at about .04 percent. But that’s...

How can we understand a Chesapeake we’ve never seen?

“Why will you ask for other glories when you have soft crabs?” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, chiding Baltimore in an 1860 essay Nowadays, around 350 million to 450 million blue crabs inhabit Chesapeake Bay, according to accurate surveys. That’s not harvests, mind you, but...

Read more Chesapeake Born »

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

Get pollution-reduction credits for planting trees in your community

Have you ever tried to assign a value to the trees in your community? You may know that trees save energy, promote health and increase property values. But to persuade your elected officials to invest in trees, you may need evidence to back up those claims. Luckily, resources such as...

Healthy trees, forests are great cure for what ails the Chesapeake Bay

Trees are, indeed, quite remarkable. They are integral to air and water quality as well as a source of water, mitigation for stormwater and control for erosion and sediment. One hundred mature trees can remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide annually, along with 430 pounds of other air...

Don’t let the bounty of the Chesapeake become only a memory

You get to a certain point in your life and you know that your days are numbered. You have a lot of years to look back and reflect on the parts that you enjoyed the most. One of those things for me is the Chesapeake Bay. I have traveled all around to different parts of the Bay. I have swam...

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...

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Message from the Alliance

Your local Project Stream Cleanup needs you this spring!

As I reach the halfway point for my Chesapeake Conservation Corps year with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, I find myself reflecting on what it is that has made my past six months so special. A large number of the great memories comes from the amazing people I work with, as well as the...

2019 conservation commitment tied to memories, plans for future

“The vast possibilities of our great future will become realities only if we make ourselves responsible for that future.” — Gifford Pinchot I spent the second weekend in December at the place I revere most: Beaver Run Hunting and Fishing Club in Porter Township, PA....

Watershed forum celebrates diverse, innovative partnerships

The first weekend of November marked the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s 13th annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum in Shepherdstown, WV. The event was a whirlwind of workshops, socializing, getting lost in the yellow, autumn forest and learning about what brings us all together under...

Read more Message from the Alliance »

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