Bay Journal

Whitney Pipkin

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...

Efforts strive to make outdoor spaces more inviting, accessible to all

When Kevin Bryan visits Rock Creek Park near his home in the District of Columbia, it reminds him of what’s possible. He sees families from many ethnic backgrounds hosting barbecues and birthday parties at picnic tables. Dog walkers wind their way through wooded trails while cyclists “look like they are training for the Tour de France” as they hug the curves of the park’s paved...

Bid to build townhomes on VA floodplain draws opposition

A vacant trailer and spray-painted “no parking” sign in Alexandria, VA, have long made the gravel lot where they’re perched look forgotten. But a plan to redevelop the 8-acre site at 8800 Richmond Highway — which sits squarely in the floodplain of a Potomac River tributary — is garnering plenty of attention and lively debate.

A Northern Virginia developer wants to build 43...

Gone with the waves: Storms, rising waters threaten pieces of past

Climate change and erosion are taking steady punches at shorelines in the Chesapeake Bay region, slashing away soil and threatening the structures that stand on it. But resources buried within the land are at risk, too. Archaeologists in Maryland and Virginia are racing to recover artifacts from Bay area shorelines before they are gone for good.

The archaeologists worry that...

Freshwater bivalves flexing their muscles as water filterers

Oysters are in many ways the restoration darlings of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort. Touted for multiple benefits — as edible, water-filtering moneymakers — oysters attract both enthusiasm and funding to promote their recovery.

But the popularity of oysters often overshadows the water-cleansing role of other filter feeders such as mussels. A growing group of mussel advocates...

Virginia attorney general sues over environmental violations at Fones Cliffs

The Virginia attorney general is suing Virginia True Corp. over environmental damages at Fones Cliffs, the office announced late Wednesday.

Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement that he will seek the maximum allowable penalties for "significant and repeated environmental violations” at the 1,000-acre property that is being developed into a luxury golf resort and homes...

Growing tension marks simultaneous uptick of clam dredging, Bay grasses

The soft shell clam’s meek return to Maryland waters is a bright spot on the Chesapeake Bay landscape. But an increase in the number of watermen going after them has renewed some fears that the nascent fishery could choke itself off before reaching its full potential.

Also called white clams, manos, longnecks and steamers, soft shell clams had all but disappeared from Bay waters,...

Fones Cliffs property under contract for conservation

A 250-acre property along Virginia’s Fones Cliffs — an area long-contested by developers and conservationists — is now under contract with The Conservation Fund. If plans go smoothly, the land eventually will be preserved as part of a national wildlife refuge.

The property is one of two contiguous parcels that were slated for development along a 4-mile stretch of the Rappahannock...

Violations at Fones Cliffs sent to Virginia Attorney General

It’s been almost a year since the owners of a property on the Rappahannock River cleared more than a dozen acres of trees along a historically significant stretch of cliffs without the needed permits — and the violations are now being referred to the Virginia Attorney General for potential legal action.

Heavy spring rain contributed to erosion on the newly cleared land and was...

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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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