Bay Journal

Opinion

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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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 center for more than three decades. The Bay Program has changed as we’ve learned more about the Bay watershed, but the fundamentals have stayed the same: We are fueled by science and driven by partnership.

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What on Earth led to the failure of environmental ethics?

Surveying the current wreckage of federal environmental policies, I’ve wondered: Close to half a century out from the first Earth Day — April 1970 — how could such a dramatic reversal even be possible?

Across the board, clean air and water regulation is being aggressively rolled back, commitments to public lands undercut, credible science linking environmental responsibility to human and planetary health rejected out of hand.

Where is the massive public objection to this unprecedented assault?

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Foresters’ conflicted love for red maple highlights its various roles

Over the many years that I have been interacting with our region’s forest practitioners and enthusiasts, I have observed that many of us harbor a profound and deep emotional relationship to particular tree species.

These emotions run the gamut from effusive adoration to downright animosity. Some species are almost unanimous in the passions that they invoke; from the pleasing attributes of the stately white oak to the displeasing attributes of the noxious tree-of-heaven. Some species are subtler, and our sentiments are derived by how we personally value specific qualities.

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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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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...

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...

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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...

Read more Around the Watershed »

Chesapeake Born

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...

What on Earth led to the failure of environmental ethics?

Surveying the current wreckage of federal environmental policies, I’ve wondered: Close to half a century out from the first Earth Day — April 1970 — how could such a dramatic reversal even be possible? Across the board, clean air and water regulation is being aggressively...

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...

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

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...

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...

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...

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

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...

Foresters’ conflicted love for red maple highlights its various roles

Over the many years that I have been interacting with our region’s forest practitioners and enthusiasts, I have observed that many of us harbor a profound and deep emotional relationship to particular tree species. These emotions run the gamut from effusive adoration to downright...

Read more Message from the Alliance »

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