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October 2011

Blog Contest Starts Today. Vote Early and Often for Bay Daily!

Mobbies badgeToday through Nov. 10, The Baltimore Sun is hosting its annual "Maryland Outstanding Blog" or "MOBBIES" contest.  With the help of readers like you, last year Bay Daily won first prize as the "best news blog" in Maryland.  Please help us win again this year. Each person can vote once a day, every 24-hour period (yes, it is legal, you can vote more than once). To vote, go to the Mobbies website (click here) and look for Bay Daily in the "Best News Blog" category.  Then enter some basic information and vote for Bay Daily.  Thank you for your help and support.  All the best, Tom Pelton

Heavy Rains Help Exotic Species Invade Bay Region

ZebramusselWho knew that zebras multiply in the rain?
An extremely rainy late summer and fall may be playing a role in the spread of zebra mussels, an invasive species, among rivers that feed into the Chesapeake Bay from the north.  The fast-reproducing Eurasian mollusks have apparently jumped from the Susquehanna River to the Sassafras River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and may be headed for other Chesapeake Bay waterways, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources warns.
After hitch-hiking on ships from the Black Sea to the Great Lakes in the 1980s, zebra mussels caused over $5 billion in economic damage in the Midwest by clogging up power plant intake pipes and water treatment facilities.

The mussels were first discovered in Maryland’s portion of the Susquehanna River in 2008.  At first, some experts doubted the creature’s ability to spread around the Chesapeake Bay, because it lives in fresh water, and the estuary is a mixture of salty and fresh water.

Continue reading "Heavy Rains Help Exotic Species Invade Bay Region" »

Waterfront Development Will Fast Become Waterlogged

The Northumberland County, Va., Board of Supervisors continues to ponder whether to grant a zoning exception to a land developer to build a massive 898-acre residential/commercial project at Bluff Point on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay.

A few weeks ago local officials heard yet another reason why they should reject the project: expected sea-level rise and storm surges in the coming decades will make the place expensive to maintain, uninsurable, and ultimately uninhabitable.

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Panel Recommends Tripling Maryland's "Flush Fee" for Sewage Plants

Lorton sewage plant upgrade 162There is no free lunch. And there is no free clean water, either.

A Maryland advisory commission is proposing to triple state's “flush fee” to upgrade sewage treatment plants and take other important steps to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.  The rate for most homeowners and businesses would rise from $2.50 per month, to $5.00 monthly next year, and $7.50 by 2015, according to a recommendation of Governor Martin O’Malley’s Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal.

The increase would help close a more than $530 million shortfall for sewage plant improvements that have been planned since 2004 as part of a bipartisan law called the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund.  And the additional fees would also help pay for some (but not all) of the stormwater pollution reductions needed to meet a new federal pollution “diet” (EPA pollution limits) intended to reduce water pollution in the nation's largest estuary by about 25 percent by 2025.   (O’Malley had initially pledged to meet these new pollution limits by 2020, but the task force yesterday suggested 2025 would be more realistic).

Continue reading "Panel Recommends Tripling Maryland's "Flush Fee" for Sewage Plants" »

Beware Ghoulish Budget Cuts to Bay Cleanup

JackolanternA Halloween horror show for the Chesapeake Bay could soon rise from Washington DC. 

Under pressure to make even deeper cuts in federal spending, leaders of U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees are preparing to cut $23 billion from the federal Farm Bill, which (among other things) pays for important pollution control projects in the Chesapeake Bay region. Their proposal will be finished by November 1, the day after Halloween.
The big risk is that an innovative program created in 2008, called the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, could be eliminated.  The end of this program would come back to haunt the nation’s largest estuary, because over the last three years, it has played a vital role in reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution into the Bay.

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Senate Committee Endorses Environmental Education Grants Program

OutdooreducationA U.S. Senate Committee yesterday took an historic step in support of environmental education by approving an amendment that will make it easier for states to obtain federal funding for outdoor education.
Now the proposed $500 million federal education grants program, proposed by Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, will have to be approved by the whole Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. 

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Chesapeake News and Events

This weekly blog post highlights the top stories from around the watershed while informing you of upcoming volunteer events to help Save the Bay.



Photo by:  Phillip Berry/South Carolina DNR


 This week in the Watershed:  menhaden, rockfish, and EPA’s defense

  • On the eve of the Clean Water Act’s 39th anniversary, Congressman John Sarbanes and Senator Ben Cardin stood in defense of the EPA and their efforts to clean the Chesapeake.  (The State Column – MD)  
  • Professor Bryan Watts of William and Mary describes the importance of menhaden for our Chesapeake birds such as osprey, pelicans, and loons.  (Richmond Times Dispatch – VA)

Continue reading "Chesapeake News and Events" »

Zap! Zoom! Network of Electric Car Powering Stations Wires East Coast

VoltJust plug in and drive all the way to Boston.

Maryland has installed a network of 80 electric vehicle charging stations, and is joining a partnership of 9 other northeast states that are creating a series of stations to help drivers of electric vehicles move up and down the East Coast.

Two stations that provide electricity to the driving public are located at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's headquarters, 6 Herndon Avenue in Annapolis. (At this time, CBF is providing the electricity free of charge to encourage people to drive clean vehicles).  Click here to see a map of the other 78 electric vehicle charging stations in Maryland.

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Young Striped Bass Are Up.... But Pressures Remain

StripedbassimageSurveys of striped bass populations in the Chesapeake Bay found unusually large numbers of young stripers, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

“The results are good news for the recreational and commercial anglers who pursue this popular game fish because this year class is expected to grow to fishable size in 3 to 4 years,” the Virginia researchers wrote.

A note of caution, however:  striper populations often go up and down, often rising with favorable weather conditions (cold winters and wet springs).  So don't read too much into what could be a temporary rise in young stripers, which might not survive in such large numbers.

Continue reading "Young Striped Bass Are Up.... But Pressures Remain" »