Bay Journal

Timothy B. Wheeler

MDE taking fewer enforcement actions against water pollution

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Maryland regulators have been taking significantly fewer enforcement actions for water pollution violations lately, a drop that environmentalists call part of a worsening nationwide trend. State officials, though, say the decrease reflects an increased effort to work with violators and prevent minor infractions from becoming major ones.

In a report submitted earlier this year to...

Solar power’s new look: more landscape-friendly siting

For decades, the old municipal landfill west of Annapolis, MD, sat — closed, capped and carefully monitored to ensure that the buried refuse wasn’t generating air or water pollution. Now, the once-grassy hilltop is covered with row upon row of thousands of shiny photovoltaic panels. In April, they’re scheduled to begin generating power — up to 16.8 megawatts on each sunny day.

The...

Forest protection, air pollution, foam container bills fall by wayside in Maryland General Assembly

Maryland lawmakers took action this year to thwart the Trump administration’s move to allow oil and gas exploration off the state’s Atlantic coast, and expanded efforts to take sea level rise into account in planning state-funded projects.

But during the General Assembly session that ended April 9, legislators refused to strengthen the state’s forest conservation law or even study...

New federal budget does not contain funds to build oyster reefs in Maryland or Virginia

​Oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay faces an uncertain future because the federal budget recently passed by Congress failed to provide any dedicated money to continue reef construction in either Maryland or Virginia.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been building oyster reefs in the Bay for more than 20 years, and in recent years it’s been a major partner in the...

States lagging badly in planting streamside trees

For all of the recent good news about the Chesapeake Bay, including declines in nutrient pollution and the resurgence of underwater grasses, there’s one trend that’s far from positive. For the last decade or so, the federal-state restoration effort has missed its targets — badly and consistently — for planting new forests along streams and rivers throughout the Bay watershed.

Why...

Trumpeter swans add flourish to Patuxent Refuge’s winter

As the days get longer, spring approaches. Before winter ends, though, it’s worth taking note of some infrequently seen avian visitors to Maryland this season – trumpeter swans.

With a wingspan up to 7 feet and a standing height of about 4 feet, the trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator) is the largest waterfowl in North America. So named because of their deep, sonorous bugling,...

When it rains, it pours in Ellicott City

Beth Woodruff keeps a “go” bag packed in her home — spare clothing and essentials in case she has to flee at a moment’s notice. 

“Every time the weather radio goes off,” Woodruff said recently, “we start watching the river to see if it’s time to go.”

Woodruff doesn’t live along the Atlantic Coast, and it’s not hurricanes that put her on edge. She’s a resident of Ellicott City,...

Norfolk’s Lafayette River close to meeting oyster restoration goal

Kalie Johnson didn’t plan it this way, but she’s helping to restore oysters in one of the most challenging places in Virginia.

[Kalie Johnson (left), owner of Colonial Oyster Company, Jackie Shannon of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and volunteer Clark Dewing knock oysters off overgrown cages retrieved from mouth of York River. (Dave Harp)] Three years ago, the Williamsburg native...

Long-buried oyster shells show how the Bay sustained early Americans

What can a bunch of old oyster shells tell you about the Chesapeake Bay’s past, and maybe its future? More than you’d think, according to Alex Jansen, a researcher with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

For several years, Jansen has been working with other researchers poking around on both shores of the Bay, digging up “shell middens,” primitive landfills holding...

Shore Power project aims to save taxpayer, planet

Higher education can have real world greening impacts. Case in point: The Shore Power Project, launched several years ago at Washington College, has helped local governments on Maryland’s Eastern Shore find ways to reduce energy costs while also shrinking their carbon footprint.

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About Timothy B. Wheeler

Timothy B. Wheeler's avatar Timothy B. Wheeler is associate editor and senior writer for the Bay Journal. He has more than two decades of experience covering the environment for The Baltimore Sun and other media outlets. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

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