Bay Journal

Opinion

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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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 learned about how trees work and the science behind them and plant life, and how important our environment is, then maybe it would open their eyes a little bit more.”

Clegg didn’t learn about the science of trees in a traditional classroom. He was part of an innovative program at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview, in Bellefonte, PA, that prepares inmates for a career in tree maintenance and management.

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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 determined that only 13 of these wetland areas, rich with clusters of native magnolia trees, remain in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Four of these 13 exist within the boundaries of Oxon Run Parkway, a 126-acre forest in the District of Columbia that is managed by the National Park Service.

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Rolling back Clean Water rules would devastate the Potomac, Bay

For nearly 50 years, the Clean Water Act’s definition of which water bodies across the country are protected from pollution enabled states and local communities to safeguard our nation’s rivers, streams, wetlands and other waterways.

The value of clean water was broadly appreciated and understood. President George W. Bush implemented his father’s vision of no net loss of wetlands. President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency sought to clarify and simplify the definition of “Waters of the United States” in 2015 to protect invaluable sources of drinking water and critical wildlife habitat.

But now, in the blink of an eye, President Trump’s EPA threatens to undo all of the progress we’ve made cleaning up and protecting our nation’s treasured waters.

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Going native? Let experts help you find the best plants for your needs

There are few things more exciting than a garden awakening in spring with a buzz of activity. In May, many of us in the Chesapeake region are patiently waiting for serviceberry, milkweed, phlox and other plants to bloom and lure pollinators and other wildlife to our native gardens.

Some of us are planning how to expand our native gardens to extend their seasonal interest, attract more wildlife, and/or reduce lawns and other high-maintenance landscapes.

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Reopen CREP: Help a farmer and you help the Chesapeake

In the most recent Bay Barometer report released by the Chesapeake Bay Program, one metric tracking progress toward a healthy Bay stands out: With a goal to plant forested buffers along 900 miles of streams each year, the Bay states in 2017 planted just 56 miles. It was the lowest annual planting total in 22 years.

Forested streamside buffers remain one of the most cost-effective ways to cut pollution from agricultural lands, trapping soil, manure and fertilizers before they can flow downstream to the Bay. The woeful lag in planting spells big trouble for the states as they design their final plans to meet federally mandated pollution reductions in the Bay by 2025.

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Bay Program’s 2017-18 Bay Barometer shows Chesapeake’s resilience

Pick up any article about the health of the Chesapeake these days and you are sure to see the term “resilient.” It’s become the trendy way of saying that despite pollution continuing to run off into the Bay and extreme weather events, the Bay is thriving.

From record acreage of underwater grasses to an unprecedented effort to restore oysters, experts are cautiously optimistic that the Chesapeake is bouncing back. The Bay Program’s 2017-18 Bay Barometer provides the science and data to back up this sentiment.

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Yorktown coffee roaster brews up support for the Bay in its community

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay believes that the best way to restore the Bay is by forging strong, diverse partnerships with a wide variety of stakeholders — including businesses.

The Alliance works with businesses that are already environmental stewards, as well as those that require some guidance and support in their efforts. Members of our Businesses for the Bay program not only work to protect and restore the Chesapeake and its watershed’s rivers and streams, but help to foster environmental stewards in the workplace.

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Go big or ‘no home’: We need green amendments in state constitutions

In August 2018, the Maryland Environmental Health Network and its membership of impacted residents in the community, health advocates and environmental activists came together to strategize on ways to confront the root causes of climate and health threats in our state. Among other ideas, we decided to raise our collective voice in favor of bold action. What developed was a proposal for an addition to the state constitution, now known as the Healthy Green Maryland Amendment. 

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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...

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...

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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...

Read more Around the Watershed »

Chesapeake Born

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...

When it came to the Bay, Hughes was more than up to the challenge

“Harry Hughes Horton.” Sounds good, don’t ya think? A missed opportunity that I’ll explain in a bit. I always had a soft spot for Harry R. Hughes, Maryland’s governor from 1979 to 1987, who died March 13 at age 92. We both grew up in rural Caroline county, 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...

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

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...

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...

Rolling back Clean Water rules would devastate the Potomac, Bay

For nearly 50 years, the Clean Water Act’s definition of which water bodies across the country are protected from pollution enabled states and local communities to safeguard our nation’s rivers, streams, wetlands and other waterways. The value of clean water was broadly...

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

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...

Going native? Let experts help you find the best plants for your needs

There are few things more exciting than a garden awakening in spring with a buzz of activity. In May, many of us in the Chesapeake region are patiently waiting for serviceberry, milkweed, phlox and other plants to bloom and lure pollinators and other wildlife to our native gardens. Some of...

Yorktown coffee roaster brews up support for the Bay in its community

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay believes that the best way to restore the Bay is by forging strong, diverse partnerships with a wide variety of stakeholders — including businesses. The Alliance works with businesses that are already environmental stewards, as well as those that...

Read more Message from the Alliance »

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