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May 2007
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July 2007

Death of 5,000 fish in Weems Creek blamed on low oxygen levels

via The Capital

Actually, I'm not sure if the number is 5,000 or 15,000. The paper says 5,000, but the website article says 15,000. According to Robert Ballinger, spokesman for Maryland Dept. of the Environment, oxygen reading in Weems Creek yesterday were 0.54 parts per million. The minimum dissolved oxygen level for perch and rockfish is 5.0 ppm.

Could Rare Catch Spawn Resurgence of Sturgeon?

via the Baltimore Sun

When a fisherman netted a 170-pound mature female Atlantic sturgeon back in April, he turned it over to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Now biologists hope to fertilize the eggs and produce perhaps 50,000 young sturgeon for release. While mature male sturgeon have been caught, this was the first mature female caught in three decades. Find out more.

Never seen a sturgeon? Check out some one-year-olds on the Sturgeon Cam at the University of Maryland's Horn Point Laboratory Web site.

Cash Prizes for Inspirational Environmental Photos

What do the arts and culture have to do with environmental education?

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) believes there is a significant connection between the two. Now, their "Our World" photography contest is seeking amateur and professional photos that "will inspire people to achieve environmental excellence." Entries may reflect anything that connects to the environment. The winning photos will show how the visual arts can create a kinesthetic and emotional connection to the Earth. The photography contest is one element of a larger effort by NAAEE to re-invigorate the use of arts and culture in the EE field. More information about prizes, rules, and entry forms can be found on the NAAEE Web site at

Share your entries with us, too! Post your photos to Webshots, Picasa, or other online photo-sharing site and submit a comment with your link.

Photo Creative Challenge: Climate Changes

Webshots Blog has announced the winners of its Creative Challenge: Climate Changes. But the Challenge isn't over. All month long they will be collecting more photos for the editors' collection. Let's show them what's happening in the Bay. I'll start with this shot of Holland Island. Add your photos to our comments section (link to your Flickr, Picasa, Shurtterfly or other photo-sharing site), and submit them to Webshots by adding a link to them in their Challenge comment section.


Federal Farm Bill Schedule

We now have a schedule for the rest of the House farm bill process. The Nutrition Subcommittee will mark up this Thursday, June 14th at 10:00am Eastern. The commodity subcommittee will mark up the following Tuesday, June 19th, also at 10:00am Eastern. And the full committee- where the sparks could very well start to fly- begins consideration of the 2007 farm bill at 10:00am on June 26th, and will go until the 28th (at least). Chairman Peterson has also said he has a guarantee for floor time in the House the week of July 16th. The schedule is here, and you can listen to audio of the hearings here.  (Thank you Blog for Rural America)

New Yorkers Find Eden

An article in the NY Daily News reveals that the Chesapeake Bay "is becoming increasingly popular with New Yorkers who can't quite believe how quickly they can reach the area."

Travel writers, B&B owners, and residents -- this is your chance to educate our New York tourists that they, too, belong to the Chesapeake Bay watershed and their help is needed if it is to remain a vacation destination.

To our New York visitors, share with us what lures you down to the Bay.

Average Stinks, Take Two

2007_forecast_map The Chesapeake Bay Program yesterday released its summer forecast -- " an 'average' summer for Bay health," according to research project leader Dr. William Dennison of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "Unfortunately, average conditions are far from optimal. The Chesapeake Bay deserves better."

So say we all.

In summary,

1) oxygen levels are expected to be slightly worse than last summer, though ranking near average (there's that word again) when compared to conditions over the past 22 years;

2) no significant changes are expected for Bay grasses in the northern Bay or Tangier Sound, though a slight increase is expected in the Potomac River (it's disappointing no forecast was made for the southern Bay, which has been suffering a critical die-off);

3) harmful algal blooms are predicted to start in early summer, last for one or two months, and extend 10 to 20 miles at their peak.

The full forecast is worth checking out at

American Indian, Bay Issues Featured in New Novel

Cover_media4_2 Released on May 15 by Cashel and Kells Publishing, "Herons Poynte: A Novel of the Chesapeake" is the story of a young Choptank Indian named David who travels to the bay in search of his ancestral land. The novel's strong undercurrent of environmentalism emerges when David discovers the land is now owned by a polluting local steel mill. The subsequent conflict between David and the owner of the mill represents what author George Callaghan calls the contemporary struggle to restore the health of the Chesapeake.

Callaghan's novel highlights environmental issues that have recently reached the attention of state legislators. Still, "Herons Poynte" is about more than the environment. The book also aims to address the issue of American Indian entitlement in the United States, a theme that actually emerges in the narrative well before any discussion of sustainability.

"Herons Poynte: A Novel of the Chesapeake" by George Callaghan is stocked by the Salisbury University Bookstore and other independent bookstores on the Eastern Shore, in Ocean City and in Callaghan's hometown of Annapolis. It can also be purchased online at (from The Daily Times)

Calling all Chesapeake Bay Anglers: Reward -- Striped bass wearing green tags

Biologists want to study the striped bass they tagged earlier to see whether the striped bass have gotten sicker, healthier or stayed the same. The results could guide Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) officials in responding to mycobacteriosis, a mysterious wasting disease that now infects more than half the Chesapeake Bay's striped bass. The tags include a toll-free number to call.

Anglers get $5 for calling in a catch, or $20 if they keep the fish on ice for scientists to retrieve.  (from WMDT- 45)