Bay Journal

Karl Blankenship

Freshwater flows to Bay highest in 82 years of monitoring

The 12-month “water year” that ended September 30 had the highest river flows into the Chesapeake Bay since such monitoring began 82 years ago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

On average, more than 974,000 gallons of fresh water surged into the Bay each second last year, which was also the second consecutive year that river flows in the Bay were above normal. It marks the...

Striped bass decline spurs new look at mycobacteria

When Wolfgang Vogelbein peered at striped bass sores through a microscope 22 years ago, he knew he was looking at something very different than what was grabbing headlines at the time.

Pfiesteria piscicida — the so-called “cell from hell” — was being blamed for fish kills in Maryland and making people sick.

But what Vogelbein saw through his lens wasn’t the result of a harmful...

Coalition to think beyond state borders to offset Conowingo flows

Here’s one of the toughest jobs in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup:

  • Write and enact a plan to eliminate millions of pounds of nutrient pollution washing into waterways.
  • Do it without duplicating the pollution reduction plans that states will be using to meet their own goals, which typically contain the cheapest and potentially most effective options.
  • Oh, and come up with a way to...

Path to a clean Chesapeake poses problems for key Bay states

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.


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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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