News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.
A year after experiencing its best water quality in decades, the Chesapeake Bay is expected to have a larger than average “dead zone” this summer, where fish, crabs and shellfish will struggle to breathe.
Researchers with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and the University of Michigan are forecasting that the volume of oxygen-starved water in the Bay will grow to 1.9 cubic miles, enough to nearly fill 3.2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
"Aquaculture is not the future of oyster harvests. It's the present," said Mark Luckenbach - Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
Luckenbach, based at the VIMS lab at Wachapreague, told me those words 11 years ago, when I wrote my first story about oyster aquaculture. Since then, I’ve written more than 100 stories on the topic, and someday, I hope, I’ll write a book. One thing is sure: the present has taken a long time to arrive - not just in the Chesapeake Bay, but all over the country.
Four conservation groups have filed suit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of failing to address pollution from agricultural runoff afflicting the Shenandoah River. The groups contend that the EPA is letting Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality classify the river as “unimpaired,” which they say is a violation of the Clean Water Act.
In a complaint filed May 30 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the groups allege that runoff from livestock and poultry operations “has caused algae blooms so severe they have been linked to major fish die-offs, severe decline of underwater aquatic plants, and conditions so unsightly and odorous that some visitors have turned away rather than use the Shenandoah River for swimming, boating, and fishing.”
Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.
I always try to get out and make some photos on the solstices and equinoxes, and an assignment to illustrate a story about Trap Pond allowed me to chase the morning light there a few hours after this year’s Autumnal equinox. It’s an amazingly beautiful patch of wild Delaware near Laurel and will be featured in the November issue of the Bay Journal. The pond, created in the 18th century to power a saw mill to convert the trees into board feet of lumber, is the epicenter of the northern most stand of bald cypress trees in the United States. The relatively young trees in the middle of the pond were planted in the 1930’s when the water level was drawn down to allow the trees to grow. Once they’re heads are above the water they seem to do fine in an aquatic environment. Be sure to look for a more complete story about Trap Pond State Park by Tom Horton in the November issue of the Bay Journal.
Bundle up and take advantage of the opportunities for great photos provided the the crisp air, and low angle of sunlight, during winter months.
While cameras have changed much over the past century, one ingredient of good photos has remained largely the same — the tripod.