Bay Journal

Whitney Pipkin

Chesapeake cleanup leaders meet without tackling PA’s funding shortfall

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The annual meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council on Sept. 5 focused on achievements in the Bay restoration effort, but environmental groups contend the top Bay policy-making panel did little to address Pennsylvania’s huge shortfall in its latest cleanup plan.

The Council, which includes governors of the six watershed states, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chair...

Virginia researcher wants to turn nest-building fish into rock stars

“Nest builder, nest builder, build me a nest,” Eugene Maurakis hummed unselfconsciously, replacing the lyrics of a familiar Fiddler on the Roof tune with his own while arranging river-smoothed rocks into a neat mound on a dry path.

A stone’s throw away, just under the surface of the Rapidan River in Virginia, a male bluehead chub had painstakingly constructed a heap just like...

Brown trout’s survival in Anacostia tributary an upstream struggle

As the story goes, the first person to spot a trout rising in Paint Branch in the 1970s — a Maryland stream that already passed under a half-dozen highway ramps on its way to the Anacostia River — could hardly believe it. And despite increased development in the surrounding landscape since then, the trout have continued to persevere and reproduce in a Paint Branch tributary called...

Court revokes Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s Fish and Wildlife permit

A federal court has overturned a permit needed for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to continue its path across West Virginia and Virginia, where some say construction would impact endangered species.

Construction of the 605-mile-long natural gas pipeline was halted early this year in West Virginia after judges began sending other federal permits back to the drawing board in late 2018....

Bacterial monitoring goes mobile in and around the District

When Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks speaks to groups about his work, he often fields a question that, until now, he hasn’t been able to answer: “Is it safe to go in the river?”

“I’ve been very uncomfortable answering that question because we never had data,” Naujoks said, looking out across the Potomac from a dock at Maryland’s National Harbor. “This area had almost zero...

Snorkel, paddle or fish at RiverPalooza summer events

Taking a bridge across the Potomac River on the way to work isn’t the same as plunging a paddle into the water, seeing its beauty and benefits up close. But only a fraction of the more than 6 million people living in the District of Columbia’s metro area get onto the water each year.

That’s why the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, with the help of partners like the National Park...

Microplastics are everywhere, but how do they harm the Bay?

Extremely small bits of plastic are everywhere, and the Chesapeake Bay is no exception. The so-called microplastics, often 5 millimeters or less in size, can be scooped from the surface waters of the Patapsco River and combed from the Bay’s underwater grass beds.

Microplastics that originated as tiny beads in some face scrubs, soaps and toothpastes are now banned by federal law....

Fones Cliffs property to be preserved

For more than a decade, an empty blue house perched on the edge of an otherwise houseless sweep of cliffs along the Rappahannock River loomed as a symbol of its future — which included plans for two housing developments in an ecologically and historically significant area of Virginia’s Northern Neck. But, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completes its purchase of that Fones...

Livestock fencing needs to pick up pace in Shenandoah Valley

Time seems to slow down in the Shenandoah Valley, where the pastoral act of raising livestock for a living appears as unchanged by the years as the emerald-green hills on either side of Interstate 81. But almost a decade has passed since Virginia first set a goal to have farmers build fences along nearly every Chesapeake Bay-bound stream that livestock could otherwise access in the...

Rick Middleton, founder of Charlottesville-based SELC, retires

Rick Middleton didn’t fancy himself an environmental lawyer when he graduated from Yale Law School in 1971. That category didn’t exist.

The United States had only just commemorated its first Earth Day, and the future founder of the Southern Environmental Law Center still felt like a fish out of water in New England’s semi-industrial corridor, pining for the bucolic valleys around...

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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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November 8-10, 2019
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