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October 2010

Manhunt Intensifies for Elusive Baltimore Manatee

Manatee An endangered Florida manatee -- first photographed by fishermen in Baltimore's Middle Branch river in August, and then spotted again earlier this month near Fort McHenry -- is apparently playing a game of cat-and-mouse with biologists from the National Aquarium who are trying to catch it.  A member of the Baltimore Rowing Club reporting seeing the large swimming mammal nosing around his or her rowing shell near Harbor Hospital in the Middle Branch at 5:15 a.m. yesterday, according to a report in Baltimore Brew.  Aquarium scientists have twice gone up in airplanes to try to spot the animal.  

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Numbers Don’t Lie: Virginians Want Bay Action

Workboats 

An overwhelming majority of Virginia voters think the Chesapeake Bay is important to the state’s economy and want Virginia to take strong action to restore clean water to the Bay and state rivers.

That’s the take-home message from a statewide poll conducted by a national polling firm for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) last week. And while the results are not necessarily surprising to CBF – we’ve known for years that great numbers of Virginians love the Bay and want to see it restored – the depth and breadth of support for the Bay were impressive. The findings cut consistently across most demographics, including age, gender, political affiliation, and geographic region.

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Dollars and Sense About the Chesapeake Bay

Crabbers As EPA and the Bay area states face off over proposed new federal pollution limits for the nation's largest estuary, some state officials, farm lobbyists, and other are complaining loudly about the cost. It's too costly to upgrade sewage treatment plants, they say, or fence cattle out of streams.
 
Well, pollution has a high cost, too. And a healthy Chesapeake Bay is incredibly valuable -- and not just as a cultural and historical touchstone, and a natural wonder. It is also a generator of incomes that people rely on to survive. A sick Bay threatens the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.
 
Here are some figures to consider:
 
* The Chesapeake Bay has been valued at over 1 trillion dollars related to fishing, tourism, property values and shipping activities.(1) 

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New USDA Report: Stronger Pollution Controls Needed on 81 Percent of Farmland to Protect Chesapeake Bay

Farmfield2 No, farmers, you’re not already doing enough.

A new draft report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (an agency generally known as supportive of farming)  contradicts recent claims by the Farm Bureau that strong new EPA pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay are not needed because the voluntary measures being undertaken on farms today are working well enough.

The report points out that while farms have made some progress, about 81 percent of the cultivated cropland in the Chesapeake Bay watershed still needs better management of fertilizer and manure to reduce the flow of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution into Bay tributaries.

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Video Highlights Hazards of Coal-Fired Power Plant Proposed Near Chesapeake Bay

Check out this video by the National Parks Conservation Association. It makes a strong case against the proposed construction of a 1,500 megawatt coal-fired power plant near the Chesapeake Bay in Dendron, Virginia.  Water pollution into our fragile estuary, and air pollution across our region, would worsen with this ill-conceived project.

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Lynnhaven River Points the Way to a Clean Bay

DSC_0312 
Virginia’s Lynnhaven River is Exhibit A for putting a comprehensive Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan into action and reaping big dividends.

The Lynnhaven, nestled near the mouth of the Bay in Virginia Beach, for centuries produced some of theDSC_0029  tastiest oysters in the world. But in recent decades, the river became so tainted by polluted runoff that   the Virginia Department of Health closed virtually the entire river to commercial shellfishing due to excessive bacteria in the water.

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Endangered Florida Manatee Lost In Urban Baltimore Waters

Manateeinswanpark On August 21, this ghostly-looking sea monster was photographed by a fisherman in the murky, urban waters of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River in Baltimore.

Then, last week, the large swimming animal was seen again, behind Harbor Hospital in the city.  On Sunday, someone called in a report of a floating human body off Fort McHenry. But when the Baltimore Fire Department went out in a boat to investigate, “they soon realized it was not a body but a manatee,” said Jen Dittmar, marine animal stranding coordinator for the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

ManateeManitees, which live in the warm waters of Florida and only rarely make their way up into the Chesapeake Bay, are an endangered species.They can grow up to 13 feet long and weigh 3,000 pounds. But their populations are dangerously low, because they feed on underwater grasses in shallow areas, making them vulnerable to being killed by boat propellers.

A team from the National Aquarium went up in a helicopter on Sunday to try to find and rescue the manatee, but after two hours of searching, could not find it, Dittmar said.

So now the National Aquarium is reaching out to local residents and waterfront businesses and asking them to be on the look for the manatee, take pictures of it and immediately report any sightings. 

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