Bay Journal

April 2017 - Volume 27 - Number 2
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New catfish reg threatens watermen’s livelihood, Bay

Richard Turner Jr. maneuvered his Carolina Skiff around Gunston Cove in the Potomac River, then hoisted a hoop net out of the water that he’d left there hours ago.

Inside wriggled a 12-pound blue catfish. These mustachioed menaces have been eating their way through the Potomac River and the rest of the Chesapeake Bay for the last decade. They can grow to 5 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds while gobbling up other commercially valuable fish, such as menhaden and blue crabs.

Turner and a growing number of fishermen are turning the tables on these invasive predators. Spurred on by a burgeoning market and the lack of any harvest limits, the blue catfish commercial fishery has taken off.

VA group buys land to ensure carnivorous plant stays in the picture

One would think that the purple pitcher, a bug-eating, water-collecting plant — like the Venus flytrap but without its reflexes — could fend for itself.

But the carnivorous Sarracenia purpurea, which is native to portions of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, has been no match for the convergence of factors altering its historic stomping grounds — rapid development, reforestation and re-engineering beavers among them. The plant needed something of a savior or, at the very least, some protected places to call home.

Parking lot project catches the eye as well as stormwater

An earthquake, and then a flood, forced officials to repair a parking lot retaining wall in hilly Ellicott City, MD. The wall, already weakened by the magnitude 5.8 quake that shook the East Coast in 2011, was damaged a month later when Tropical Storm Lee took its toll on the historic business district of shops and restaurants.

Howard County’s innovative repair job did more than restore the wall — it netted the community an architecturally designed staircase, showy native gardens, a waterfall, less stormwater pollution of the Patapsco River and a BUBBA.

Experts trying to explain recent deaths of 5 whales off VA coast

It’s been a grim new year for whales off the coast of Virginia, with a flurry of casualties that has experts dumbfounded.

In the month of February alone, four humpback whales turned up dead. Three washed ashore — the first near Hampton Roads, the second on the Eastern Shore and the third on Cape Henry — all apparently after being struck by large ships, and two with apparent propeller wounds. A fourth badly decomposed carcass washed up near Chincoteague.

Lynchburg takes new tack on decades-old overflow problems

Like hundreds of cities in the country, Lynchburg’s earliest sewer infrastructure was built to get the water — and whatever else might be flushed or flowing into it — out of the Virginia city and into the nearest stream or river as quickly as possible.

In 1955, the city added a wastewater treatment plant that greatly reduced the amount of raw sewage flowing into the nearby James River. But, like many wastewater treatment systems of that era, it captured both sewage and stormwater and therefore could easily be overwhelmed by heavy rains. To prevent sewage backups, the system was designed to divert the wet-weather overflows directly to the river. This has come to be known as a combined sewer overflow system.

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Opinion

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Ernst Seed: Restoring the Native Balance

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