Bay Journal

Whitney Pipkin

Freshwater bivalves flexing their muscles as water filterers

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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...

Officials find that they’re all in the same boat when trying to control runoff

Local governments around the Chesapeake Bay watershed will likely incur billions of dollars of costs in coming years as part of the effort to clean local waterways and the Chesapeake. Some local officials and state lawmakers from Virginia recently took a trip on the Potomac River to learn about the links between their actions and the river’s health.

Virginia pipeline construction to continue with ‘aggressive’ monitoring

Will existing environmental rules be enough to protect Virginia streams from the potentially damaging side effects of two pipeline projects? Citizens and environmental groups cry no, but the State Water Control Board says its hands are tied.

The seven-member board decided at a contentious Aug. 21 meeting to continue allowing two natural gas pipelines — the Mountain Valley Pipeline...

Groups fighting for coal ash regulation balk at new rules

​Power companies could soon have more flexibility in how they handle the ash that remains from a legacy of burning coal for power, but not if environmental groups have any say in the matter. Several facilities located near Chesapeake Bay rivers are in the process of closing pits where coal ash and water have comingled for decades amid changing regulations at the federal and state...

Mount Vernon, Dominion agree to seek new site for proposed gas facility on the Potomac

The guardians of George Washington’s Mount Vernon say they have reached an agreement with the energy company that planned to build an industrial facility across the Potomac River from the historic estate.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and Dominion Energy released joint statements the first week of July saying that they would work together to evaluate “alternatives” to the...

Putting roads on a reduced-salt diet also healthy for nearby streams

A creek in Northern Virginia is going on a pollution diet, and residents might feel the belt-tightening this time. That’s because it could lead to limits on a compound that’s as beloved on U.S. roads as it is in our meals: salt.

After spending decades studying Accotink Creek — which drains a 52-square-mile swath of midsize homes and commuter-crowded roads in Fairfax County, VA —...

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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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