Bay Journal

Whitney Pipkin

District unveils first steps to clean up Anacostia’s toxic sediment

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The District of Columbia has released the first steps of a plan to clean up a legacy of toxic contaminants on the bottom of the Anacostia River.

The “early action” plan calls for capping, dredging and monitoring contaminated sediment at nearly a dozen “hot spots” along a highly urban and historically industrial nine-mile stretch of the river, which flows from suburban Maryland...

Birds and birders alike still flocking to Cox Creek

One of Maryland’s top birding sites is not as open to the public as it used to be — but no one told the birds.

From their vantage point, the Cox Creek dredged material placement site just southeast of Baltimore on the Patapsco River offers about 100 acres of shallow, brackish waters with easy eating for wintering ducks. In the summer, it functions as mud flats for shorebirds...

Yes, Virginia, it has been raining more

In coastal Virginia, sea level rise often steals the headlines as the culprit behind increased flooding. But there’s at least one other climate-related factor exacerbating rising waters across the state: It’s raining more often and more intensely.

A report published in the Virginia Journal of Science this year looked at rain data from 1947 to 2016 and found Virginia getting about...

Is air cleaner on other side of the block? Museum, residents to test theory

Summer temperatures in Richmond can be 16 degrees hotter in a downtown ward than in a wealthy, tree-lined neighborhood five miles away. But the citizen scientists who found that out in 2017 now hope to answer a new question: Does the quality of air that citizens breathe also depend on their ZIP codes?

The project, led by the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, aims to again...

Former VA governor dies; Baliles laid a foundation for Bay progress

Advocates say the Chesapeake Bay would not be where it is today without the influence of former Virginia Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, who pushed for pivotal Bay policies in the late 1980s. He died Oct. 29 at his home in Charlottesville, VA, at the age of 79.

During his tenure as Virginia’s governor from 1986 to 1990, Baliles helped craft a multistate Chesapeake Bay Agreement that was...

VA wants to boost its environmental agency, but will it get the money?

Ralph Northam campaigned for Virginia’s highest office on his Chesapeake Bay roots, and he seemed to be making good on those promises when he made reforming the state’s environmental agency his sixth order of business last year.

A new report details what the state’s Department of Environmental Quality needs to fulfill its mission, though it will face some financial hurdles to be...

Can thousands of mussels become millions in the Anacostia?

Last fall, Jorge Bogantes Montero of the Anacostia Watershed Society helped to transfer tiny, hatchery-raised mussels into protective baskets in the Anacostia River. At the time, Montero said, he “didn’t have any expectations” that they would survive. But, under the careful watch of the watershed group and local school children who helped monitor their growth, nearly 92% of them...

Supreme Court will hear Atlantic Coast Pipeline case

The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that it plans to revisit a lower court’s ruling that, among others, forced Virginia’s largest electric utility to halt construction on a $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline in the southwest corner of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The project’s backer, Dominion Energy, petitioned the court to consider the case after the Fourth Circuit Court of...

Court rules that DC’s daily E. coli limit is inadequate

How much E. coli can an urban waterway contain and still be considered “clean”?

A federal court ruled in August that the limits the District of Columbia set for E. coli in its waterways didn’t adequately answer that question.

E. coli is a type of bacteria often found in fecal matter that can indicate the presence of other pathogens. Some strains of E. coli infection can cause...

Queen Anne’s is first MD county to let go of balloon releases

When Jay Falstad tells of the cluster of balloons that landed on Unicorn Lake near his home in Queen Anne’s County, MD, it sounds like he’s beginning a children’s tale. Instead, it begins the story of the first county-based balloon ban in the state.

The balloons Falstad spotted near his home on the Eastern Shore came with an “if found” phone number to call written on them with a...

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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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