Bay Journal

April 2014 - Volume 24 - Number 2

DC forging path to restore C&O Canal as Georgetown destination

Less than one of the 184.5 miles that make up the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is located in the District of Columbia, where it originates.

This section of the canal in historic Georgetown is the last remnant in the nation’s capital of a bygone transportation era that lasted for nearly a century.

And it has seen better days.

Oyster restoration at Harris Creek showing real promise

Hidden under the surface of Maryland’s Harris Creek is what looks like — at least for now — one of the Bay’s greatest successes. It is, unfortunately, one that hardly anyone can see.

Work completed through the end of last year restored 188.6 acres of oyster reef habitat on the bottom of the Choptank River tributary, most of it in places more than 6 feet deep.

That’s already made it more than twice the size of any sanctuary-based oyster restoration previously undertaken around the Bay. Yet another 85 acres of new reef construction is under contract — some is already under way — for this year.

Public access authorities preserving coastal access in VA

State Road 110 in Gloucester County ends in a small parking lot, crowded in between modest homes to one side and Belvins Seafood warehouse on the other.

There’s parking for eight cars, a boat ramp and a commercial wharf that’s recently been expanded to accommodate up to 15 boats.

On a cold and overcast February afternoon, this road ending — and the pier beyond — seemed unremarkable, blending into a gray landscape and the watery horizon a half mile beyond where the Perrin River empties into the York River.

With river in his blood, Fred Tutman stands his ground wholeheartedly

Fred Tutman’s office’s backyard features a postcard-perfect view of his beloved Patuxent River. Clumps of brown spatterdock are turning tan, creating a lovely marshy look as the late afternoon sun dips. Boats glide through the channel, their captains waving as they pass. The first osprey of the year surges past the purple martin birdhouses on its dive for a fish.

But the longtime Patuxent Riverkeeper looks deeper and sees something disturbing: a continued assault on Maryland’s longest river — a waterbody that can’t speak for itself — from development and industry, as well as a history of injustices in which the wealthiest communities receive the best environmental protection.

Scientists: New Bay goals should be based on results, not numbers

Over the last year, Bay Program officials have been immersed in setting quantifiable objectives to include in a new Bay agreement. How many acres of wetlands should be restored? How many acres of forest buffers planted? Even how many blue crabs should be in the Bay.

But scientists advising the state-federal partnership say agreement writers are on the wrong track.

Boat rental service could boost access on the Bay

Boatbound, the fastest growing peer-to-peer boat rental company in the country, plans to officially launch its service in the Chesapeake Bay region this summer. The addition of similar rental operations could improve boating access in the region while making boat ownership more affordable.

Boatbound co-founder Aaron Hall lived in Arlington, VA, for nearly a decade before launching the startup venture out of California last year — and he’s been wanting to bring it back to the Chesapeake ever since.

Local actions leading to better water quality in some watersheds

When one looks at the Bay as a whole, the picture is often grim. Water clarity is worsening, underwater grass beds are declining, and oxygen-starved dead zones aren’t going away.

But when taking a broader look at the rivers that feed the Chesapeake, a new report points out, there are numerous, though scattered, signs of success throughout its watershed.

Plan to export liquefied gas at Cove Point divides community

When Keith Lavender tells his Southern Maryland neighbors that he works at the Cove Point liquefied natural gas plant, most have no idea where it is. No, not the nuclear plant at Calvert Cliffs; that’s two miles away. No, not the coal-fired plant at Chalk Point; that’s in the next county. If they still look blank, Lavender tells them it’s that platform in the Chesapeake where the fishing used to be so good.

Lavender’s explanations are about to become much shorter. Cove Point LNG’s owner, Richmond-based Dominion Resources, plans to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its 131-acre plant in Lusby. If its plans are approved, the plant will send out 85 LNG tankers a year, build its own power plant to chill and liquefy the gas, and bring in more than a thousand workers to complete a vast construction project on these once-sleepy shores eight miles north of Solomons Island.

Ward Oyster Co.

Features

Ernst Conservation Seeds: Restoring the Native Balance.
A Documentary Inspired by William W. Warner’s 1976 Exploration of Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay.

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