Bay Journal

Karl Blankenship

Path to a clean Chesapeake poses problems for key Bay states

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Must Chesapeake Bay states achieve the impossible to reach Bay cleanup goals by 2025? That’s unclear. But their work must certainly achieve the unprecedented.

Most of the latest state cleanup plans, released in August, call for levels of action to reduce pollution from the hardest-to-control sources — agriculture and stormwater — that greatly exceed what states have so far...

Chesapeake restoration goals a greater challenge for PA

Perhaps it was fitting that on a morning when he felt an illness coming on, and a marching band was creating an unrelenting din outside the window, Pat McDonnell sat down to explain Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan.

After all, nothing about the state’s Bay involvement has been easy. The state doesn’t touch the Chesapeake, but is its largest polluter. Half of its landmass...

Shad restoration efforts around the Bay a mixed bag in 2019

A year ago, Pennsylvania’s shad hatchery — the largest in the Chesapeake Bay watershed — was spared the budget-cutting ax. But it still took a toll on American shad stocking efforts on the Susquehanna River.

The state’s Van Dyke Research Station released just 830,000 shad larvae into the Bay’s largest tributary this year, the smallest number in the hatchery’s 43-year history....

Scientists fear steep loss of Bay grasses lies ahead

Portions of the Chesapeake Bay’s underwater grass meadows appear to be headed for steep declines this year, a delayed response to the torrential rains that poured vast amounts of water-fouling sediments and nutrients into the estuary during 2018.

Initial reviews of this year’s aerial survey show significant losses of underwater grass beds in parts of the Mid Bay, where the bulk of...

Pennsylvania plan still fails to meet Chesapeake cleanup goals

Pennsylvania officials say they are committed to meeting their share of Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals, but their final draft plan falls far short of outlining how they will do it.

The plan, which was endorsed Aug. 16 by the state’s Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee, would meet the goals for reducing phosphorus pollution by the 2025 cleanup deadline. But it would fail...

High flows to Chesapeake Bay continued in July

The Chesapeake Bay continued to be on the receiving end of high river flows in July. The flows have been higher than normal for 13 out of the last 15 months, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The pollution carried into the Bay during that span has led to worse than normal water quality and last month triggered a large oxygen-starved “dead zone” in the Bay.


Public comments sought on striped bass catch reductions

East Coast fishery managers are taking comments on a range of options that would slash striped bass harvests by 18% compared with 2017 levels as part of an effort to halt overfishing of the iconic Chesapeake Bay species.

The action comes in the wake of a stock assessment released earlier this year that found striped bass — long considered a management success story — were being...

Bay grasses survived 2018 deluge, but losses expected this year

The full impact of last year’s high flows on the Chesapeake’s underwater grasses, one of the Bay’s most critical habitats, remains murky as scientists try to assess the full impact of last year’s record rainfall.

The good news, according to the results of the 2018 aerial survey, is that underwater grass acreage increased overall from 2017 in areas where the survey was completed.


Making a world of a difference one small act at a time

On a picture perfect afternoon in mid-May on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I was reminded of the importance of what a small group of committed citizens can accomplish.

The Queen Anne's Conservation Association marked its 50th anniversary, making it the oldest conservation group on the Eastern Shore. Its event drew dozens of supporters and dignitaries.

Former U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest...

States’ latest Bay cleanup plans found lacking by EPA

The draft Bay cleanup plans drawn up by watershed states fall short of ensuring the region will finally achieve its longstanding goal of delivering a healthy Chesapeake by 2025, federal officials have concluded.

Reviews by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirm that drafts submitted by two states, Pennsylvania and New York, fail to achieve nutrient reduction goals set...

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About Karl Blankenship

Karl Blankenship's avatar

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and Executive Director of Chesapeake Media Service. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991, winning numerous awards and recognition for his work, including the 2001 Excellence in Journalism Award from the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation; in 2006 he became the fourth person to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Before the Bay Journal, he was a reporter at the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News, and the Saginaw (MI) News. He is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in journalism.

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