Bay Journal

Opinion

Our streams could just die for more riparian forest buffers

A few weeks ago, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay hosted a forum in Buckeystown, MD, where more than 100 representatives from federal and state agencies, nonprofits and businesses, as well as the scientific and farming communities, met to discuss riparian buffers.

This community of conservationists has been planting trees along waterways for more than 25 years. Sometimes, it seems more like a life’s mission to re-establish these links between land and water that protected our watershed’s creeks and rivers for eons.

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Selling VA’s carbon-rich crop residue will shortchange soil

Recently, I attended the annual meeting of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Roanoke, VA. One of the breakout sessions was a presentation by the Shandong Tranlin Paper Company, a Chinese corporation that plans to build a paper plant in Virginia.

I listened to the Chinese representative explain how environmentally friendly their $2 billion facility will be, turning crop “waste” into paper. The facility will be built on the south side of the James River in Virginia’s Chesterfield County.

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End the food fight so we can attend to business of cleanup together

Recently, Perdue Farms had the opportunity to participate in two panels focused on agriculture and the Chesapeake Bay environment: the tongue-in-cheek-titled Food Fight sponsored by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and Can Food Production and a Clean Chesapeake Bay Coexist? sponsored by the Center for Environment and Society at Washington University in Chestertown, the Sassafras River Association and Chester River Association.

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VEE marks 40 years of supporting the environment by looking to the future

This year, the Virginia Environmental Endowment, a nonprofit, independent grant-making foundation based in Richmond, celebrates its 40th anniversary. Although its grants and leveraged matching gifts have resulted in more than $80 million of environmental improvement, many Virginians are unaware of the endowment’s unique beginning, its profound impact on the commonwealth’s natural resources and the role it continues to play.

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Don’t let menhaden become a case of could have, should have, would have

Here we go again. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has held hearings up and down the East Coast on what to do about menhaden: Should we keep catching the same amount, catch more, catch less, or do an ecosystem study to see how menhaden fit into the scheme of saving the Chesapeake Bay?

Maybe we need a little refresher course about menhaden.

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We need to recognize the many faces that make up the Bay watershed

In an effort to create a better environment for everyone, the conservation world takes a vital step: including everyone.

The Chesapeake, the largest of more than 100 U.S. estuaries, is a trove of biodiversity. The Bay’s watershed stretches from New York to Virginia and boasts more than 3,600 species of plants and animals, 11,684 miles of shoreline and 150 major rivers and streams, giving it the highest land-to-water ratio of any coastal water body in the world.

Its people are just as varied as the natural environment.

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Project Clean Stream engages businesses, makes a splash locally

Project Clean Stream began in Baltimore County in 2002 and has grown from a small community event to a watershedwide effort in all six Bay states and the District of Columbia. Deeply rooted in the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s mission, Project Clean Stream is a signature Alliance program. The Alliance coordinates local site cleanups, trains site captains and provides cleanup supplies such as trash bags and gloves. It also arranges trash removal after the cleanup is finished.

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Baltimore’s ‘most elegant’ new community not fit for a fish

It has been my joy and anguish through the last five decades to keep track of little Dipping Pond Run, a rare and trouty tributary of Baltimore’s central drainage way, the Jones Falls.

Exquisitely sensitive to water quality, trout are not just a fish, but an idea, a synecdoche — something whose very presence proclaims that a larger whole remains intact, that in some small way we may be learning peaceful coexistence with the rest of nature.

Of course, this is Baltimore County, and I should have known better.

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The case for a Maryland fracking ban

Next week, on Feb. 28, the Health, Education and Environmental Affairs Committee in the Maryland Senate will take up legislation dealing with shale gas drilling (fracking). For public safety, economic and environmental reasons, we believe the technology should not be allowed in Maryland.

Nearly three out of four senators have indicated a willingness to extend the current fracking moratorium, set to expire in October. This suggests they recognize that gas drilling will not be the economic bonanza that supporters have claimed since 2011, when the mountains above Marcellus Shale deposits in Western Maryland were first targeted.

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Opinion: Archives

Trees, please

I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head. —William Butler Yeats People feel better out under the trees. So do most songbirds, owls, butterflies and brook trout. So do our creeks, soil microbes and water...

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Around the Watershed

We need to recognize the many faces that make up the Bay watershed

In an effort to create a better environment for everyone, the conservation world takes a vital step: including everyone. The Chesapeake, the largest of more than 100 U.S. estuaries, is a trove of biodiversity. The Bay’s watershed stretches from New York to Virginia and boasts more...

Bay Program teams using cross-project initiatives to reach goals

Working within a partnership like the Chesapeake Bay Program presents unique obstacles when it comes to achieving restoration goals. Think of the challenge of finding a compromise between the different personalities in a dating relationship or marriage — only in the Bay...

Crediting agricultural non-cost share practices in the Bay Program’s watershed model

Have you heard the terms “voluntary agricultural practices” or “non-cost-shared practices?” They refer to agricultural conservation practices that are neither paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Farm Bill programs nor state and county agencies...

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Chesapeake Born

Baltimore’s ‘most elegant’ new community not fit for a fish

It has been my joy and anguish through the last five decades to keep track of little Dipping Pond Run, a rare and trouty tributary of Baltimore’s central drainage way, the Jones Falls. Exquisitely sensitive to water quality, trout are not just a fish, but an idea, a synecdoche...

Goldsborough skillfully navigated Bay fisheries’ troubled waters

Saving the Bay is obviously about improving water quality, but equally tricky is the business of managing how much seafood we extract from that water. From crabs and other shellfish to finfish, modern technologies enable harvest pressure that could overwhelm the healthiest estuary. So,...

Prepare to be ticked off when messing with biodiversity

Protecting the environment is usually easier to the extent we can link it to human health concerns. The tough federal Clean Air Act, for example, has been driving the Chesapeake Bay cleanup by reducing nitrogen pollution from dirty air; but the real impetus for the law is the U.S....

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Conservation Matters

Immerse yourself in Dumbarton Oaks Park

The Japanese have a practice translated in English as “forest bathing,” in which people immerse themselves in a forest as a preventative health measure. Studies have shown tremendous benefits of this practice, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and improved sleep,...

At the ten-year mark, happy birthday to the Bay’s beautiful and profoundly historic national trail

As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of a national park we have right here in our collective backyard: the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Winding through much of the Chesapeake region, the...

Savage River fishing trip highlights importance of headwaters

Recently my friend, John Neely, who is also a board member of the Chesapeake Conservancy, took me fly fishing on Savage River. Savage River is a headwater tributary of the Potomac River, on the western edge of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Its watershed occupies more than 74,000 acres of...

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Forum

Trees, please

I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head. —William Butler Yeats People feel better out under the trees. So do most songbirds, owls, butterflies and brook trout. So do our creeks, soil microbes and water tables. Even a parking lot feels better —...

Fences and trees for clean, clear rivers

Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bay Journal, its board or staff. The Shenandoah Valley’s Middle River, which begins its winding journey to the Chesapeake Bay in the farm country west of Staunton, Va.,...

VEE marks 40 years of supporting the environment by looking to the future

This year, the Virginia Environmental Endowment, a nonprofit, independent grant-making foundation based in Richmond, celebrates its 40th anniversary. Although its grants and leveraged matching gifts have resulted in more than $80 million of environmental improvement, many Virginians are...

Read more Forum »

Letters to the Editor

Elect to protect Eastern Shore

Thank goodness the election is finally over. I heard the term “election stress disorder” this fall and it immediately resonated with me and many others I know. Part of the stress for me related to the continuous news cycle and overwhelmingly negative tone of the presidential...

Bay needs menhaden more than reduction industry

Much has been written and discussed about menhaden (Brevootia tyrannus), a forage fish for many other fish, birds and mammals. Recently, a bill was introduced into the Virginia Legislature to move the management of these fish from the Virginia Legislature to the Virginia Marine Resources...

Biodiversity needs human diversity among those who protect it

I read with great interest the Bay Journal’s recent article, “The ‘green ceiling’: Environmental organizations lack diversity” (November 2014). As an African American woman fish and wildlife biologist, there were not many faces that looked like mine as I...

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Message from the Alliance

Our streams could just die for more riparian forest buffers

A few weeks ago, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay hosted a forum in Buckeystown, MD, where more than 100 representatives from federal and state agencies, nonprofits and businesses, as well as the scientific and farming communities, met to discuss riparian buffers. This community of...

Growing partnerships with farmers key to restoring Octoraro watershed

The Chesapeake region is fortunate to have a variety of organizations that are interested in creating innovative partnerships to address local needs for clean water. In 2016, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay was awarded two grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to...

To make Chesapeake great again, red & blue must strive for green

All of us awoke on Nov. 9 to some unexpected feelings. Whether you felt joy or fear, the future seemed a bit more uncertain. That uncertainty extends to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed as well. For nearly 50 years, the environmental community has been involved in...

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