Bay Journal

Donna Morelli

PA’s Environmental Rights Amendment grows some teeth

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For all of its natural bounty, Pennsylvania has environmental woes aplenty. Take your pick — 19,000 miles of impaired streams, 5,500 of them from abandoned coal mines; state environmental agencies and programs starved of funds as Pennsylvania fails to do its part to maintain safe drinking water and clean up the Chesapeake Bay; and state forests carved up by drilling pads and...

Catch the spring action at a vernal pool near you

The fields and forests of Gifford Pinchot State Park in southcentral Pennsylvania are still in winter dormancy, but not for long. You will actually hear the change. 

When the days are cold and short but the spring thaw draws near, the shrill call of spring peepers will announce that winter is over. The familiar sound, which signals spring for humans, is the peepers’ call for...

PA Senate approves Bay funding bill - without the funding

Controversial legislation that would provide a new way of financing Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay cleanups cleared the Pennsylvania Senate last week after it was paired with another bill to increase funding for a variety of other conservation efforts.

But the senators didn’t include any new money with the measure, prompting environmentalists to warn that the legislation is...

Invasive spotted lanternfly threatens Chesapeake’s crops, hardwoods

They are asleep for the winter in ugly little egg cases that look like splotches of dried mud plastered on all manner of smooth outdoor surfaces. They are found on trees, park benches, decks, walls, cars and rocks.

Experts believe that the latter, stone shipped from somewhere in its native China, was the vehicle on which the invasive spotted lanternfly first hitched a ride to...

State lawmakers face continuing Bay debates in 2018

As they return to their chambers this month, state legislators across the Chesapeake watershed face some of the same Bay-centric environmental issues they’ve seen before.

In Maryland, they’ll debate what more, if anything, should be done to conserve the state’s forestland from development and whether air pollution from chicken houses deserves a closer look. In Virginia, lawmakers...

Cove Mountain forests offer refuge for animals, people

From a distance, Cove Mountain looks like it floats on the Susquehanna River. Closer up, it’s a typical Pennsylvania red oak-dominated forest, with scattered lichen and moss-covered boulders, clear mountain streams and clearings well-stocked with wildflowers.

This unspoiled wilderness is also one of the largest plots of undeveloped mountain land just outside of Harrisburg and,...

Flathead catfish, swimming under the radar for years, now raising concerns

Charlie Wandrei first flipped through photographs of beaming anglers holding monster flathead catfish about five years ago at the Pennsylvania Sportsman’s Show in Harrisburg. He was hooked.

“I was absolutely excited,” said Wandrei, who’s from Adams, MA. “I live near the Connecticut River, which has a lot of catfish, but they don’t get nearly as big as those.”

Wandrei got a photo...

PA lawmakers cobble together budget - without needed boost for Bay, environment

Four months past the deadline for approving a state budget, Pennsylvania lawmakers have finally agreed on how to pay for the $32 billion spending plan they adopted in July.

They did nothing, though, to bolster a budget that offers no new money for Chesapeake Bay restoration, drinking water protection and other environmental programs. In fact, they opened the door to siphoning...

Restoration of PA stream to be acid test for trout

In the words of one scientist, the water of Bilger Run, about 20 miles east of Pennsylvania’s famous town of Punxsutawney, “looks like Tang.” Yes, Tang, the powdered orange drink that was available to, if not enjoyed by, U.S. astronauts of the 1960s.

“No one would think there are fish in there,” said Tom Clark, author of the Tang comparison and an acid mine drainage specialist...

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About Donna Morelli

Donna Morelli is a staff writer for the Bay Journal based in Harrisburg. She's the former director of the Pennsylvania office of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

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