Bay Journal

Karl Blankenship

Scientists fear steep loss of Bay grasses lies ahead

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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.

In...

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.

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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...

Continued high river flows having mixed impacts on Bay and its resources

The downpours that soaked 2018 have spilled into this year, with three of the first five months reporting higher-than-normal freshwater flows into the Chesapeake.

That will likely mean worse-than-normal oxygen conditions in the Bay. Scientists are predicting the fourth largest summertime dead zone in the last two decades.

Still, the often record-setting rains that commenced a...

Biologists fear catfish spread after last year’s record deluge

Last year’s record-setting rainfall brought more into the Chesapeake Bay than pollution and debris. Biologists say the freshwater deluge helped the nonnative blue catfish, which was already invading the estuary, to spread farther in the region’s rivers.

“The gate is open,” said Martin Gary, executive director of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission. “They have left and dispersed...

Bay Journal, staff receive awards from peers, Jug Bay

We’re pleased that three Bay Journal staff members won awards from the Maryland/Delaware/District of Columbia Press Association in its annual contest for excellence in journalism. We were also greatly honored by Maryland’s Friends of Jug Bay when their organization recognized our work with an award at their annual meeting in April.

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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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