Bay Journal

Opinion

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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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 retired as they should. Both have completed enviable careers; Walt’s dealing with leukemia and post-polio stuff, Mike with Parkinson’s disease. But like two old hounds, legs feeble but noses still keen, they’ve picked up the hot scent of a scientific mystery.

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To cure the Bay, take a healthy interest in your local stream

Many of us think of spring and summer as the time the birds start singing, flowers start blooming and the weather warms up.

In the water quality monitoring world, the season also means we are dusting off our secchi disks and getting our sampling equipment ready for a new monitoring season! At the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, we believe that water quality monitoring is essential to understanding the health of our waterways, land and people.

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Time and tide wait for no one when dealing with rising sea level

“Hey there, thanks for making my property worth even less.” You get these calls and emails when you make a movie that raises public awareness of climate change, rising sea levels and worsening erosion.

The collateral damage of such efforts is they don’t exactly boost housing values for those already living along the lower-lying edges of the Chesapeake.

The Bay Journal film I just finished with photographer Dave Harp and producer Sandy Cannon Brown — High Tide in Dorchester — shows how Maryland’s fourth largest county by land area could shrink to 14th (of 23) circa 2100 if we don’t get serious about mitigating climate change.

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‘Stopping rules’ would say when it’s time to shift from debating to acting

Science is hard, environmental policy is complicated and regulatory science can seem endlessly confounding.

It does not have to be. Earlier this year, the Chesapeake Bay partners stepped into a time-worn trap, heeding calls from overly cautious states to wait for more refined scientific modeling of climate change impacts before taking action to eliminate pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Having punted action until 2021 at the earliest, the Bay Partnership needs policies to prevent further delay. An innovative policy tool called “stopping rules” could be the answer.

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Data the new driver in conservation decisions regarding Bay

The Chesapeake Bay restoration and conservation movement is nearly 50 years old. What started with advocacy and litigation, essential to galvanize action, has now fully entered the implementation and quantification phase. Partners throughout the watershed are focused on delivering results on-the-ground. We are witnessing the dawn of a new era for our society and the Bay movement: one where we regularly employ advanced technology and intense collaboration to move from an effort-based initiative to a results-oriented community. 

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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

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...

Time and tide wait for no one when dealing with rising sea level

“Hey there, thanks for making my property worth even less.” You get these calls and emails when you make a movie that raises public awareness of climate change, rising sea levels and worsening erosion. The collateral damage of such efforts is they don’t exactly boost...

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

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...

Local government input matters in developing cleanup plans

So, how are we doing at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay? Are the investments we’re making in our communities improving water quality? These are questions that we, the members of the Chesapeake Bay Local Government Advisory Committee, often ask the leaders in the Bay restoration effort....

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...

Read more Forum »

Letters to the Editor

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...

Biodiversity needs human diversity among those who protect it

I read with great interest the Bay Journal’s recent article, “The ‘green ceiling’: Environmental organizations lack diversity” (November 2014). As an African American woman fish and wildlife biologist, there were not many faces that looked like mine as I...

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Message from the Alliance

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...

To cure the Bay, take a healthy interest in your local stream

Many of us think of spring and summer as the time the birds start singing, flowers start blooming and the weather warms up. In the water quality monitoring world, the season also means we are dusting off our secchi disks and getting our sampling equipment ready for a new monitoring season!...

Read more Message from the Alliance »

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