Bay Journal

Opinion

Promise to protect fully Rappahannock site still a cliffhanger

I first saw Fones Cliffs in spring 1997. I was in the company of the renowned author and naturalist John Page Williams, and I was there to help celebrate the establishment of the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

The Fones Cliffs formation stretches along 4 miles of the river’s shore, reaching heights of more than 100 feet. In the late afternoon sun, the cliff face sparkles from diatomaceous earth (fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton) deposited millions of years ago.

That day a seed was planted in me, somewhere in my heart, my soul — or maybe my left pinkie — I’m not sure.

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Delmarva Oasis protects what we see and what we may yet see

I spent my childhood in and around the Bay wading in our creek to catch soft crabs, trying to dip net yellow perch on their spring run, catching a mess of perch on peelers and papershells, and lazing around summer afternoons while swimming or floating down the river. I thought there was nothing in the Chesapeake Bay that I had not seen, sought, munched or been scraped by — until this year.

In late August, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy purchased a large tract (1,172-acres) in Queen Anne’s County, MD, with more than 700 acres of prime farmland and beautiful rambling forests.

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Alliance to honor environmental champions at Taste of the Chesapeake

For the last 48 years, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has believed that the best results come from bringing people together to find common ground, then working to deploy “boots on the ground” to bring clean water projects to fruition. Building partnerships is in our DNA. We are privileged to honor four incredible champions this year at our 14th Annual Taste of the Chesapeake, Sept. 26 in Ann

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Chesapeake continues to be a classroom for its retired iconic educator

It was the best day I would spend in a “classroom,” drifting through the summer wetlands of the Patuxent River as the “professor” stood tall in his canoe, informing his floating gaggle of schoolchildren about plankton, fish and the food web; of birds that had flown across the continent to harvest the swelling crops of seed from the tidal marsh; and the joy and wonder of how it all fit into the greater Chesapeake ecosystem.

That was some 40 years ago, and John Page Williams was already the iconic educator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The methods he perfected in those old aluminum canoes are still emulated throughout the Bay region and beyond.

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Time’s running out to meet Bay cleanup goals, especially in PA

It is a critical time for the Chesapeake Bay.

The historic federal-state partnership working to clean up the Bay’s pollution is entering the final phase of restoration. By 2025, the six Bay states and the District of Columbia must have all of the pieces in place to meet science-based pollution reduction targets. If they succeed, we will all have clean water.

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Chesapeake Week is over but simple, everyday actions are important

During the first week of June, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, along with environmental organizations, communities, businesses and local governments in the watershed, celebrated Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week.

The week was designated in 2016 by the Chesapeake Bay Commission for activities, educational programs and events to celebrate our nation’s largest estuary.

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Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights will grow a healthier, happier generation

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young recently introduced the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, a positive and unifying vision of what childhood in Baltimore can and should be. Led by the City of Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, city agencies and many partners have been working with youth, residents and other stakeholders to develop a declaration of the rights of Baltimore children to access healthy outdoor time.

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  • Chris Ryer & Reginald Moore
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Wall Street, government need to put more stock in Bay’s economic value

I was lucky enough to grow up in the 1980s catching frogs, hooking sunfish, and exploring the mossy banks of Walden Pond, which Henry Thoreau turned into a symbol of nature and the need to protect it. There, I found the inspiration that led me toward a career in conservation that eventually brought me to the Chesapeake.

Today, I still find inspiration from Walden Pond, but now in the form of the book, From Walden to Wall Street, by James Levitt, which was published back in 2005. Ahead of its time, the book predicted that the future of the planet depends on private capital for conservation.

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Money doesn’t grow on trees; luckily you don’t need money to grow them

Tim Wheeler’s CREP program interruptions hinder streamside tree planting efforts (April 2019) raises points not frequently recognized. Whereas the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program’s cost-sharing doubtless encourages landowners to put their marginally productive lands into water quality protective uses, the reforestation of riparian or other lands need not depend on government funding.

Reforestation can be done for essentially zero dollars. All that is necessary is to stop tilling and/or mowing the area we want to become forest.

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Opinion: Archives

Time to swat the litterbug again

Hi citizens … who remembers “the litterbug?” Two generations ago, when empty bottles, cans, paper bags and cigarette butts littered our public places, sidewalks, trails, and roads as well as beaches and along the shores of...

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Around the Watershed

PA program for inmates answers growing demand for green jobs

“I don’t want to say like I’m a tree lover because, you know, we do cut trees,” said Gregory Clegg, a professional tree climber in Hampton, VA. “It’s just something that I look at differently now, you know? And I think a lot of people would, if they...

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...

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Chesapeake Born

Chesapeake continues to be a classroom for its retired iconic educator

It was the best day I would spend in a “classroom,” drifting through the summer wetlands of the Patuxent River as the “professor” stood tall in his canoe, informing his floating gaggle of schoolchildren about plankton, fish and the food web; of birds that had flown...

Here’s a word to the wise on Chesapeake Bay: Full

In the beginning was the Word .… and the word was Full. So, I didn’t invent the foregoing writing technique; but sometimes it’s best to just begin at the beginning: Distill your focus to a word and probe the implications of that word. Take “estuary,” meaning...

Leave it to beavers: Species’ ability to alter land should be revisited

Notes to myself on preparing to teach my Chesapeake Bay course at Salisbury University for the 10th year: Teach oysters? Always, but this time I’m also going bigger, with beavers. Both are “keystone” species, and Castor canadensis, aka the North American beaver, is...

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

Promise to protect fully Rappahannock site still a cliffhanger

I first saw Fones Cliffs in spring 1997. I was in the company of the renowned author and naturalist John Page Williams, and I was there to help celebrate the establishment of the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The Fones Cliffs formation stretches along 4 miles of the...

Delmarva Oasis protects what we see and what we may yet see

I spent my childhood in and around the Bay wading in our creek to catch soft crabs, trying to dip net yellow perch on their spring run, catching a mess of perch on peelers and papershells, and lazing around summer afternoons while swimming or floating down the river. I thought there was...

Time’s running out to meet Bay cleanup goals, especially in PA

It is a critical time for the Chesapeake Bay. The historic federal-state partnership working to clean up the Bay’s pollution is entering the final phase of restoration. By 2025, the six Bay states and the District of Columbia must have all of the pieces in place to meet science-based...

Read more Forum »

Letters to the Editor

Time to swat the litterbug again

Hi citizens … who remembers “the litterbug?” Two generations ago, when empty bottles, cans, paper bags and cigarette butts littered our public places, sidewalks, trails, and roads as well as beaches and along the shores of rivers and streams, the litterbug campaign was...

Don’t just be a tree-hugger; our forests need no-net-loss heroes

Marylanders have an exciting opportunity right now to stake a claim in protecting our forested land. To protect the health and well-being of generations to come, we must pass the “No Net Loss” bill of the Maryland Forest Conservation Act. A lone tree can remove an average of 48...

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...

Read more Letters to the Editor »

Message from the Alliance

Alliance to honor environmental champions at Taste of the Chesapeake

For the last 48 years, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has believed that the best results come from bringing people together to find common ground, then working to deploy “boots on the ground” to bring clean water projects to fruition. Building partnerships is in our DNA. We...

Chesapeake Week is over but simple, everyday actions are important

During the first week of June, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, along with environmental organizations, communities, businesses and local governments in the watershed, celebrated Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. The week was designated in 2016 by the Chesapeake Bay Commission for...

RiverSmart helps turn home sweet home into home sweet watershed

Standing in a forested wetland, you are surrounded by native sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) trees. The sweet, lemony scent of magnolia blooms fills the summer air. You are lucky to bear witness to a rare plant community — the magnolia bog. The National Park Service has...

Read more Message from the Alliance »

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