Bay Journal

Whitney Pipkin

Livestock fencing needs to pick up pace in Shenandoah Valley

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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...

Coal ash contaminated groundwater at almost all monitored sites

Just after Virginia legislators voted to end the storage of coal ash in pits where it could leach into groundwater and rivers, a report released in March revealed widespread coal-ash contamination in 39 states — and at more than 91 percent of the power plants monitored. They include sites in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The report by Earthjustice and the Environmental...

Community conversations aim to broaden visitor experience at Piscataway Park

​In the heavily wooded acres of Piscataway Park, on Maryland’s shore of the Potomac River, is a popular collection of cattle, sheep, hogs and plants — with breeds and varieties commonly found on local farms in the 1700s. Along with costumed interpreters, they bring to life a recreated colonial farm established there in 1958, complete with a farmhouse and tobacco barn.

But the...

White Horse Mountain worth the millions paid to protect it

Hugging the slow s-curves of road winding into a mountainous sliver of West Virginia’s Hampshire County, I remembered why they call this portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed “wild” — and why clean water advocates were desperate to keep it that way.

I was headed to White Horse Mountain, an almost entirely tree-covered heap of rocky hills hugging and draining into the South...

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

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...

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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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