Bay Journal

Whitney Pipkin

Wade into fun and get your feet wet at RiverPalooza

More than 6 million people live in the Potomac River watershed, but relatively few get the chance to wade into its waters on a regular basis.

That’s why the Potomac Riverkeeper Network started RiverPalooza, a two-month-long series of events giving residents of all backgrounds the opportunity to get on — and even in — the so-called Nation’s River, as well as its major tributary,...

Construction of Atlantic Coast Pipeline could be halted by endangered species concerns

One of the federal permits required to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through three states and a portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed was rendered invalid late Tuesday by a federal appellate court.

Environmental groups say the decision should completely halt the pipeline’s construction, at least temporarily, but Dominion Energy, which is backing the project, disagrees.

The...

Can Chesapeake’s ‘crown jewel’ cliffs still be spared?

Paddle up the Rappahannock River from the Chesapeake Bay, to where the river narrows as it takes a westward turn, and you’ll stumble onto the scene of a battle. More than four centuries ago, explorer Capt. John Smith encountered a not-so-warm welcome from the Rappahannock people here as they volleyed arrows from the 100-foot-heights of Fones Cliffs, which form a 4-mile bank along...

Groundwater: the next frontier of concern on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

On Virginia’s portion of the Eastern Shore, it’s the growing number of chickens — not people — that has residents worried about the quantity and quality of their water supply.

Scientists have known for at least a decade that the use of groundwater from the region’s Yorktown-Eastover system of aquifers has been drawing down the supply more quickly than rainfall can replenish it....

Money doesn’t grow on trees, so small town found ways to turn its streets green

Straddling the northeast branch of the Anacostia River just outside of Washington, DC, is a half-square-mile patch of green called Edmonston. It’s a tiny Maryland town where, despite its distance from the Chesapeake Bay, the residents seem to understand that what they do here affects what happens there.

What started in the early 2000s as an effort to ameliorate flooding on the...

Managed grazing cultivates new believers among watershed farmers

A Maryland dairyman felt like a lone wolf when he started down the decade-long path to nourishing his animals and his land differently. A Virginia cattleman said his neighbors laughed at him, and a Pennsylvania rancher agreed.
No other farmer they knew was using grazing techniques this way. 

“Now,” said Mike Phillips, a farmer in Rockingham County, VA, “the ones who laughed are...

First sewage-storing tunnel comes online in DC

The Anacostia River, which has for decades functioned as the polluted washbasin of an urban watershed, may now have less bacteria than the Potomac River during rainfall.

In mid-March, DC Water opened the floodgate on a 2.3-mile section of concrete tunnel that’s been under construction since 2005. With the rolling away of a concrete slab, about 80 percent of the polluted sewage and...

Virginia lawmakers keep coal ash recycling on the table, feds try to loosen regs

Virginia requirements for the disposal of ash produced by coal-burning power plants could soon be more stringent than rules set by the federal government.

The General Assembly approved a bill at the end of session last week that requires companies with coal ash pits in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to take another step toward recycling their contents, though the measure stopped...

Waterfowl break winter silence at VA wildlife refuge

Laid bare of its sound-absorbing foliage, the forest of lanky hardwoods becomes a cacophony of sound. On this cool morning, the leaves crunch underfoot and rustle nearby as a squirrel digs for hidden treasure. 

The din of a waterfowl gathering in the Great Marsh, though still a hundred yards away, swells quickly as we walk toward the Potomac River through the woody peninsula. From...

Counting chickens: Poultry farms on VA Shore breed resistance

One frigid evening this winter, 170 people crowded into a high school auditorium in Onley, a small town on Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore. They didn’t come to see a student theater production or watch a basketball game between rival schools — but to talk about chickens. Many came to ply state regulators with concerns about local water quality and their health amid the poultry...

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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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