Chesapeake Bay

Don Rush

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Lafayette River has become the first of five Virginia rivers to have its oyster population recover, having met state and federal goals.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that volunteers gathered to mark the milestone Monday, tossing hundreds of shells covered with baby oysters into the river. 

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Leaders on Delmarva are worried that air born pollution sources such as an Ohio coal fired power plant could prevent the estuary’s recovery.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation notes that one third of the nitrogen in the bay comes from air born pollutants.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that those sources are mostly the product of automobiles and power plant emissions.

/ exeloncorp.com

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says he is urging Pennsylvania to do something about the pollution problem that is coming from the Conowingo Dam.

And with the recent rains he told WBOC that there was concern about the debris that has been piling up on the northern side of the dam.

One solution, he said, was a pilot project to dredge the dam which has not been cleared out in the last 80 years.

But he told the station that dredging is “a million dollar question.”

Earlier this month Maryland asked Exelon which owns the dam to help with bay restoration.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and other state officials have accused upstream states of failing to take responsibility for pollution that is pouring into the Chesapeake Bay, after last week's record rainfall.

The Republican governor noted the trees, tires and other garbage now floating in the nation's largest estuary. He called the situation "an economic and ecological crisis."

Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, says, "We're literally drowning in Pennsylvania's trash."

EPA: Bay Making Progress

Jul 30, 2018
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Website

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency says Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts are mostly on track. But challenges remain when it comes to preventing manure and stormwater from flowing into the nation's largest estuary.

The EPA on Friday released an assessment of state efforts to reduce pollution. Last year marked a halfway point toward implementing a "pollution diet" for the bay by 2025.

Pollution mostly comes from sewage treatment plants and from farms and cities as run off. It leads to oxygen dead zones that limit plant and animal life.

/ exeloncorp.com

Engineers opened the gates of the Conowingo Dam this week letting loose tons of water that drowned some nearby trees and flowing over some roadways.

The dam on the Susquehanna River in Cecil County has been of major concern for sediment and nutrients.

But WBOC reports that the state of Pennsylvania has seen heavy rainfall this summer that has brought large amounts of debris and runoff.

The Exelon Corporation has been working on cleaning up the debris in the water.

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The House of Representatives has approved an amendment that would keep the Environmental Protection Agency from spending any money to impose penalties on states that did not meet goals for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Eight years ago the EPA set up a framework for the amount of pollution allowed into the bay – known as the “Total Maximum Daily Load”.

Alan Girard with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation told the Salisbury Daily Times that the bay restoration effort under the plan has provided accountability for bay restoration.

Some Good News for Bay

Apr 27, 2018
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

There was some good news for the Chesapeake Bay.

An environmental groups found that there are more grasses and more oxygen in the water.

The results are from tests conducted by ShoreRiver.

Most of the rivers received a grade of B or C.

The group measures nutrient, oxygen, water clarity and clorophyll levels.

Elle Bassett with the environmental group told WBOC that the Wye and Miles rivers were still murky with phosphorous and nitrogen runoff giving them grades of C and B-minus for last year.

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Embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has caught the headlines of personal scandal. But, for environmentalists it's the impact of the administration's policies that has them concerned. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation about the sharp turn the Trump administration has taken from its predecessor.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Website

The president’s new budget is out and it would slash federal funding for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay by 90 percent.

It cuts the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual spending for Bay clean up from $73 million to $7.3 million.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that this would provide money only for monitoring the progress of the cleanup but not for restoration projects carried out by the six watershed states and the District of Columbia.

Last year the EPA provided $48 million to the states including $13 million for the state of Maryland.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - An international research team including Chesapeake Bay-focused scientists says the "dead zones" that have long plagued the bay have developed and worsened across the globe.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Website

WASHINGTON (AP) - The University of Maryland is getting a sea grant.

Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen have announced the nearly $288,000 federal grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The program is administered through the University System of Maryland. It's part of a network of 33 national sea grant programs.

The program supports the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland's coastal waters.

Recent research has helped develop new approaches in oyster aquaculture and boost the bay's blue crab population.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Website

BALTIMORE (AP) - An environmental group is releasing a report on pollution at sewage and wastewater treatment plants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Environmental Integrity Project report released recently criticizes delays in upgrading treatment plants, such as the Patapsco River Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Baltimore area.

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A study that has already cost $5 million is moving ahead to look at the feasibility of easing the traffic flow across the Chesapeake Bay including another bridge.

WBOC reports that the Maryland Transportation Authority says the location for such a span ranges from Harford County down to Somerset County.

There is also the possibility of expanding the existing bridge which would save some money.

Other options include tunnels and ferries.

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An oyster restoration project in the Little Choptank River is being cut back by about one fourth or a 118 acres of the original goal.

It will mean a reduction of around 19.5 million oysters which would filter over 1 billion liters of water per day.

The decision comes after boats ran aground on another oyster sanctuary and the rebuilding of some of the man-made reefs.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the environmentalists have hailed these projects which are part of a federal-state agreement for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Angela Byrd

BALTIMORE, Md. (AP) - A nonprofit advocacy group says efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay are paying off.

The Baltimore Sun reports that fewer water samples are showing the presence of so-called "dead zones" in the bay that can't support aquatic life.

Scientists recently reported that 13 percent of the bay's waters on average showed dangerously low levels of oxygen. In 1985, the average was nearly 19 percent.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation credits the decline in dead zones to federal regulations that limit the amount of pollution that can flow into the bay.

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GLOUCESTER POINT, Va. (AP) - Researchers say the total amount of oxygen-deprived dead zones in Chesapeake Bay this summer was the biggest since 2014.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science also said Monday that the total amount of dead zones this summer increased by 10 percent over last year.

The institute has used a three-dimensional forecast model since 2014 to gauge areas of oxygen depletion - or hypoxia - in which oxygen dissolved in water falls so low it no longer supports fish, crabs, oysters and other aquatic organisms. Pollution has been blamed.

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The Manokin and Nanticoke rivers are expected to be targeted for oyster restoration.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that they would become the fourth and fifth Chesapeake Bay tributary to undergo restoration of their oyster reefs.

They are among a list of eight potential sites.

But there has been some sharp opposition from watermen the choice of the rivers.

The paper reports that Robert Brown, president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association, says that his organization would like to see restoration done on the Western Shore.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Republicans in the House are moving to cut as much as $1 dollar for every $6 dollars that are now slated to help restore the Chesapeake Bay

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte has also authored a measure that would keep the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the cleanup plan.

The legislation has been approved along party lines but Eastern Shore Republican Andy Harris and 12 other Republicans voted against his amendment.

Exelon Corp

DARLINGTON, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is planning to make an announcement after the second Conowingo Dam Summit.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday in Darlington.

The Hogan administration has been focusing on ways to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution that comes by way of the dam. The Republican governor highlighted the significance of addressing sediment overflows at the dam during his 2014 campaign.

/ exeloncorp.com

BALTIMORE (AP) - Scientists say the Conowingo Dam is no longer holding back pollution in the Susquehanna River from entering the Chesapeake Bay.

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Gov. Larry Hogan will announce a plan to make progress at the dam, based on proposals the state has received from private industry.

Hogan told the newspaper he will seek a contractor next month to deal with the sediment and dissolved phosphorous and nitrogen pollution that erodes the health of the nation's largest estuary.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - An annual report has found the overall population of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay has declined and it recommends limiting the number harvested in the fall.

The annual Blue Crab Advisory Report was released Monday. It was developed by scientists and other experts and will be used by state officials in Maryland and Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission to develop crab management strategies.

cbf.org

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Reef balls are being planted on the Tilghman Reef this week.

The Coastal Conservation Association Maryland and the group's northern Virginia chapter is scheduled to plant 140 reef balls west of Tilghman Island in Talbot County on Wednesday.

The association says the reef balls will triple the size of the existing reef, making it one of the largest man-made, three-dimensional reefs in the middle of Maryland's portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists say this year's summer "dead zone" in the Chesapeake Bay will be larger than average.

"Dead zone" refers areas of low or no oxygen that can kill fish and aquatic life.

Scientists with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey gave a forecast on the dead zone on Wednesday.

They say this year's dead zone could be about 1.89 cubic miles, or nearly the volume of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Leaders of states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have signed a resolution calling for continued federal support of the nation's largest estuary.

The Chesapeake Executive Council signed the resolution Thursday. The council also elected Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan as its new chairman.

Hogan, a Republican, says he will remain committed to protecting the bay.

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Senator Chris Van Hollen announced that there will be nearly $18 million for federally funded projects on the Eastern Shore.

It’s part of the money going to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the 2017 Omnibus Funding Bill.

The Maryland Democrats said that this funding will help maintain access to the Chesapeake Bay as well as improving communities in the region.

The projects range from $13.7 million for beach replenishment in Ocean City to $2 million for the dredging of the upper river near Salisbury.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Website

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - President Donald Trump's administration says it's time for state and local governments to pay for cleanups of iconic but polluted waterways such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.

But supporters of those programs say the cleanups are already a team effort. They are fighting a proposal in the Environmental Protection Agency's 2018 budget plan to cut $427 million for regional waterway restorations.

Many members of Congress in both parties also oppose defunding the cleanup efforts, which are popular with constituents.

Angela Byrd

BALTIMORE, Md. (AP) - The overall health of the Chesapeake Bay improved some last year, but an annual report card for the nation's largest estuary says there is still a long way to go.

Scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science on Monday gave the bay an overall score of 54 percent in the 2016 Chesapeake Bay Health Index. That's compared to 53 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in 2014. They are giving the bay's health a "C" grade overall.

Bay Report Out Today

May 8, 2017
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BALTIMORE (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay's 2016 report card is being released.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is releasing its 11th annual report on the health of the nation's largest estuary on Monday in Baltimore.

Sen. Ben Cardin is scheduled to attend a news conference at Baltimore's Inner Harbor to discuss the report.

Ben Grumbles, secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, and Mark Belton, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, also are scheduled to attend.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A $1.1 trillion budget bill that would keep the federal government running through September fully funds the program that has coordinated Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts for decades.

The bill contains $73 million for the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program, which President Donald Trump has called for defunding.

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