Bay Journal

Whitney Pipkin

Virginia town partners with Randolph-Macon College to restore local stream

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When his mother asked him what he got on his final exam, an environmental studies student at Randolph-Macon College gave her an unexpected answer: “$100,000.”

Technically, he wasn’t lying. As a member of Professor Charles “Chas” Gowan’s 2007 class, the student’s final exam was to present to the town council of Ashland, VA, a plan he and his classmates created to restore a degraded...

New ‘air force’ joins ranks of campaign to protect Chesapeake

Riverkeepers, researchers and volunteer monitors have long kept an eye on water quality from the ground and from the river. But, with the help of technology that’s suddenly far more accessible, they’re taking to the skies, too.

Once reserved for military operations or tech-savvy hobby flyers, unmanned aerial vehicles, also called UAVs or drones, have recently become so affordable...

VA state board lets pipeline permit stand, despite violations

The Virginia State Water Control Board voted on Friday not to revoke a permit allowing a natural gas pipeline to be built across streams as it winds its way across the state’s southwest corner.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is one of two pipeline projects touching parts of West Virginia and Virginia. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and the state Department of Environmental...

Tracking life in DC’s urban streams has its ups — and downs

Regular visitors to the 1,800-acre national park surrounding Rock Creek in Washington, DC, might be surprised to learn what’s living — and what’s struggling to live — just below the water’s surface.

For starters, American eels have been spotted in Rock Creek tributaries often enough — once in 2010 and three times last year — that the long, slithery sightings are no longer...

Small parcels could mean a lot for green space in urban DC

Protecting the District of Columbia’s tree canopy — and its City of Trees reputation — is “always a moving target,” said Mark Buscaino, executive director of the nonprofit that leads the local effort. So, in addition to feverishly planting and defending urban trees, Casey Trees is taking a new tack: conserving a handful of small lots where more of them could take root in the...

Cleaner coal ash disposal gets bipartisan support in Virginia

Virginia’s toxic legacy of storing coal ash in unlined pits near Chesapeake Bay rivers could be put to rest by a bill that now has bipartisan support.

Under legislation backed Thursday by a bipartisan group of legislators, Gov. Ralph Northam and Dominion Energy, the utility would have to fully excavate at least four coal ash impoundments around Virginia where the ash is currently...

Atlantic Coast Pipeline on shakier ground as legal challenges add up

A string of recent court decisions has left the future uncertain for a sprawling natural gas pipeline project cutting its way across some Chesapeake Bay states.

Judges have reversed three federal permits that would have allowed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross national parks and trails or to impact invasive species, halting construction while Dominion Energy, the project’s...

Alexandria tunneling its way out of sewage overflow problems

This time two years ago, officials from the historic city of Alexandria, VA, were jockeying with state legislators for more time to curb the sewage overflows that wash 140 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Potomac River and its tributaries each year. But since then, in an effort to meet the General Assembly’s 2025 deadline to complete the work, the city has found a way....

Study on soft-shell and razor clams delivers more questions than answers

Though they once served as important filterers and foodstuffs in the Chesapeake Bay, relatively little is known about the long-term population dynamics of soft-shell clams — and even less about razor clams.

That was among the findings of a first-of-its-kind study by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, for which researchers took a...

Cattle farmer uses down-to-earth practices to beef up the soil

The shaggy Red Devon-Angus and doe-eyed Jersey cattle surrounding Virginia farmer Matt Rales are more than the sum of their parts — though their meat will eventually be sold by the pound. To Rales, they are tools to tangibly address climate change, and he wants to prove they’re up to the task.

Rales, who runs Another Perfect Day Farm with his fiancée, Abigail Fuller, has begun...

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About Whitney Pipkin

Whitney Pipkin's avatar Whitney Pipkin writes at the intersection of food, agriculture and the environment from her home base in Northern Virginia. Her work for the Bay Journal often focuses on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, and she is a fellow of the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

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