Bay Journal

Chesapeake Notebook

News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.

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Baltimore harbor safer for swimming in places, but still badly degraded

The outer reaches of Baltimore’s harbor were somewhat safer to swim in last year, but overall water quality in the harbor and the streams that feed into it continues to post failing or near-failing grades, according to the latest annual assessment.

The Healthy Harbor campaign's report card for 2016 found that fecal bacteria levels, which are indicative of the presence of raw sewage, were low enough in the Patapsco River off Fort McHenry to be safe for swimming nearly 90 percent of the time, and 70 percent of the time along the popular Canton waterfront, based on federal criteria. That’s an improvement over the 2015 report card, which found no place in the harbor met the safe swimming standard even 60 percent of the time. 

Timothy B. Wheeler
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Bay health gained slightly in 2016, assessment finds

The Chesapeake Bay’s ecological health improved slightly last year, according to a new assessment, with three of the estuary’s key fish populations in their best shape in decades.

For the fifth straight year, the Bay’s condition in 2016 earned a C grade on the annual report card produced by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The overall score — combining measures of water quality, habitat and fish abundance — ticked upward to 54 percent, a 1 percent gain over 2015.

Timothy B. Wheeler
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Virginians back Bay cleanup, want feds to stick with it, poll finds

Virginians strongly support the multi-state effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and oppose efforts to roll back federal clean air and water laws, according to a new survey.

The poll of registered voters also found that people see the state’s environment getting better, overall. They graded its overall environmental health at a “B,” the highest mark given since the question was first asked in a 1997 survey, when the state’s environment rated a “C.”

 

Karl Blankenship

Picture This

Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.

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Pond paddle provides lovely setting for photos

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.

David Harp
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Want to take some really cool photos?

Bundle up and take advantage of the opportunities for great photos provided the the crisp air, and low angle of sunlight, during winter months.

David Harp
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Photographers’ reliable “standby”

While cameras have changed much over the past century, one ingredient of good photos has remained largely the same — the tripod.

David Harp

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