First there was this: Toxic blue-green algae in Lake Erie shut down the drinking water supply in Toledo, Ohio; the American Farm Bureau Federation along with other special interest lobbyists and 21 state attorneys general declared war on the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint; the Bay's blue crabs and rockfish faced especially trying times due to poor water quality and diminished habitat.
But then there was this: Oxford, Maryland and other communities rolled up their sleeves and worked together to tackle harmful polluted runoff problems; hard-working farmers across the watershed improved water quality and efficiency on their farms; our new Brock Environmental Center—one of the world's most environmentally smart buildings—opened its doors in Virginia Beach.
The year 2014 is not an easy one to explain. It was full of highs and lows, good news and bad.
On this New Year's Eve as we reflect on the challenges, lessons learned, and successes from this complex year, we decided to take a look back and see what you, the reader, valued and cared about most. So without further ado, these are the top 10 most popular posts from 2014 . . .
1. "Blue News": CBF's Director of Fisheries Bill Goldsborough discussed the troubling news from the annual blue crab winter dredge survey, and what we can do to improve numbers of the Bay's iconic critter.
2. "Rockfish: Down But Not Out": Rockfish numbers, too, were down in 2014, but in this post we discussed why we're not losing hope just yet.
3. "Could It Happen Here?": CBF's Senior Water Quality Scientist Beth McGee examined the blue-green algae crisis in Lake Erie that shut down local drinking water supplies this summer. And she asked the question we'd all been wondering: Could something like that happen here to the 17 million of us living in the Bay watershed.
4. "Farmer Success Stories": Hard-working farmers told their stories of how they implemented Best Management Practices that not only improved productivity and efficiency on their farms, but also local water quality.
5. "21 States, 8 Counties Join Farm Bureau Challenge to Bay TMDL": In an outrageous attack on clean water restoration, 21 state attorneys general (most from outside the Bay watershed) joined with the American Farm Bureau Federation, The Fertilizer Institute, and other special interests and filed a surprise challenge to the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
6. "Oxford, Maryland Leading the Way to a Cleaner Bay": Small communities like Oxford took it upon themselves to actually do something about the polluted runoff in their own backyard.
7. "Anne Arundel County Will Benefit From Stormwater Fee": CBF's Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost explained the importance of a polluted runoff fee and how it will improve the environment, economy, and health of communities like Anne Arundel County.
8. "Imagine a Building as Efficient and Beneficial as a Tree": After years of planning and months of construction, the Brock Environmental Center—an international model for energy- and water-efficiency—came to life in November.
9. "Be the Solution": Our Maryland office wouldn't play the blame game. It discussed how we all have a role to play in implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. Whether we're in Western Maryland, the Lower Eastern Shore, or everywhere in between, we can be a part of the solution in battling polluted runoff.
10. "Smith Island as I Recall it 35 Years Ago": In honor of our Smith Island Education Program turning 35 this year, the program's first educator and founder Bill Goldsborough reflected on the early days, inspiring and transforming students in this unique island community.
Thank you for being curious, inquisitive readers of our CBF Blog. We strive to keep you updated on important clean water issues and hope we have accomplished just that throughout 2014.
Now we look forward to 2015 as a time to work even more vigilantly for healthy rivers, clean streams, and a restored Chesapeake Bay. Thank you for helping us do that. And keep reading . . .
CBF's Senior Manager of Digital Media