Chesapeake Bay

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The stakes could be high for Delmarva when it comes to the effects of climate change in the wake of the election of Donald Trump to the White House.

The Republican has declared climate change “a hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese.

On the peninsula great efforts have gone into plans for dealing with the loss of coastline.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the three states have serious vulnerable areas ranging from the wetlands along the Delaware Bay Shore and the Chesapeake Bay to Virginia’s coastal barrier islands.

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With the closing days of the presidential election coming next week, little has been said by the Democratic or Republican candidates about the health of the Chesapeake Bay. And climate change has barely come to the surface. John Lee prepared this report for Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative.

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Maryland's First Congressional District will see incumbent Republican Andy Harris seek a fourth term in this year's election after being swept into office during the Tea Party wave of 2010. His rival is Harford County Democrat Joe Werner who won a surprising victory over former Salisbury Mayor and now council member Jim Ireton. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush caught up with the congressman to talk about the issues and the possibility that Washington could once again see divided government.

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With the general election just days away voters on the Eastern Shore will decide whether they will reelect incumbent Republican congressman Andy Harris or go with his Democratic Challenger Joe Werner. The Democrat won a surprise victory in the primary, but his odds against the incumbent are long. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with the challenger about national issues as well as those facing the First District.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - An environmental sciences professor says eating less meat can help the Chesapeake Bay.

James Galloway of the University of Virginia tells the Daily Press that farm animal waste is a big part of the nitrogen runoff that depletes oxygen in the bay.

Galloway says eating one-third less meat from cows, pigs and chickens in the watershed could make the difference. He says Americans typically consume 30 percent more protein than they need. 

Angela Byrd

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Scientists say they will soon help Chesapeake Bay fisherman by mapping the water's low-oxygen dead zones in real time.

Poor oxygen levels often force fish out of the bay's cool bottom waters. William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science says it will show anglers where the fish may have gone.

The university says it's using experimental computer models to map and forecast the bay's dead zones. The oxygen-poor areas are created when excess nitrogen from fertilizers and wastewater flow into the water and boost the growth of algae.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The levels of dissolved oxygen within the Chesapeake Bay plummeted in July after a promising start to the summer.

The Baltimore Sun reports that state environmental officials are blaming a recent heat wave for the decline since warm water holds less oxygen than cold water.

The Department of Natural Resources wrote in a statement that a lack of winds also prevented surface oxygen from mixing with bottom waters to increase the oxygen levels.

Angela Byrd

FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) - Researchers with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have found a surprising explanation for the improved water quality in the Chesapeake Bay: cleaner air.

Professor Keith Eshleman (ESH'-el-men) in the center's Frostburg office said in a statement Tuesday that his team found nearly universal improvement in water quality since 1986 across the Upper Potomac River Basin. The area includes parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland panel has been formed to study ways to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution that comes by way of the Conowingo Dam.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced the multi-agency work group Thursday.

The Hogan administration announced it will be looking to determine whether dredging the dam and re-use of dredged materials can be done efficiently.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

BALTIMORE (AP) - Officials say there is a smaller than normal "dead zone" in the Chesapeake Bay, as well as clearer water, more bay grasses and an increase in the crab population.

According to a joint forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey, the bay's low-oxygen dead zone is expected to be 1.58 cubic miles this year. That's about 10 percent less than the long-term average of 1.8 cubic miles dating from 1985.

Don Rush

EDGEWATER, Md. (AP) - Authorities say they've found the body of a man who jumped from a boat into the South River to retrieve his hat and didn't resurface.

Maryland Natural Resources Police identified the man Sunday as 47-year-old Joseph Vincent Rossi of Edgewater.

Don Rush

WINGATE, Md. (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard says a boat that sank in the Chesapeake Bay - sparking the emergency rescue of two dozen passengers including schoolchildren - was in a prohibited area.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class David Marin said by telephone that the boat was in an off-limits area when a distress call went out Wednesday evening. Authorities say boat and helicopter crews were launched but a commercial boat arrived, rescued everyone and took them to shore.

Marin said the area was off-limits because of obstructions in the water.

Angela Byrd

BALTIMORE (AP) - A report by environmental scientists says the health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved as efforts to reduce runoff from land continue.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science released the report Tuesday. The center says improvements in 2015 in water quality, chlorphyll and nitrogen levels contributed to a resurgence in aquatic grasses.

One indicator that declined was total phosphorus, excess quantities of which can lead to algae blooms.

The numbers of striped bass held steady, blue crab and bay anchovy improved.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The results of a survey of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population suggest a good summer for local crabs.
 
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says its annual dredge survey in Maryland and Virginia shows there are more than 550 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, the fourth highest level in two decades.
 
That number is a 35 percent increase in the crab population compared with last year, which was a 38 percent increase over 2014's results.
 
Officials credit favorable weather and previous harvest restrictions.
 

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CAPE CHARLES, Va. (AP) - The Coast Guard says it rescued four people from a disabled sailboat in the Chesapeake Bay, three miles west of Cape Charles, Virginia.

No injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard says in a news release that it received a report Friday evening that a sailboat with two men and two women aboard had been disabled because of stormy weather. A 25-foot response boat launched from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles and towed the sailboat back to shore.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has turned back a challenge by the American Farm Bureau Federation and others to the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

The Farm Bureau claimed that the Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority in efforts to clean up the Bay and its tributaries.

The high court’s decision let’s stand lower court panel’s ruling that the EPA did not exceed it authority.  

The Farm Bureau and the National Association of Homebuilders among others had argued that the Blueprint trampled on state authority in setting clean up goals for the Bay.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's lieutenant governor is urging federal officials to exclude Virginia from offshore drilling.

In a letter addressed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam said offshore drilling has the potential to threaten the environment, defense, agriculture and tourism of the state.

Northam, a Democrat, has announced his plans to run for governor in 2017. In the letter, he cited the "demise of the Chesapeake Bay" and his work toward its restoration as one of the reasons he decided to run for public office.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Fans of the Chesapeake Bay now have an online tool to track the progress of the estuary's restoration.

Called ChesapeakeProgress, the website gives visitors an overview of the multi-state effort to clean up the bay after decades of neglect. The site shows goals and outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement involving six states and Washington, D.C.

The agreement is aimed at limiting urban and rural pollution from flowing into the bay. The bay's water has become so polluted, vast areas are called "dead zones" because they are devoid of life.

Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge website

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The 20th annual Polar Bear Plunge was held in Maryland. Nearly 10,000 people jumped into the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday for the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge.

The event benefits Special Olympics Maryland and its year-round programs.

Most participants raise $75 each for a plunge in the water at Sandy Point State Park. But some "super plungers" raise thousands of dollars to jump in the frigid water multiple times. So far this year the Plunge has raised over $1.5 million according to the organization's website.

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - A truck driver was hospitalized in stable condition after his 20-foot tractor-trailer plunged into the Chesapeake Bay.

Authorities say the accident occurred Wednesday when the driver tried to pass a slower vehicle on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The driver's name was not immediately released.

tangierisland-va.com

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A report says islanders in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay could be among the first "climate change refugees" in the continental United States.

The research published in the journal Scientific Reports says residents of steadily shrinking Tangier Island will have to abandon their fishing community in about 50 years amid rising seas.

The author is David Schulte, an oceanographer with the Army Corps of Engineers. He calls Tangier a "ground zero" for climate change in the U.S.

Farming the Oyster

Nov 25, 2015
Don Rush

With the depletion of the oyster in the Chesapeake Bay a new industry has grown up in the region. It's called aquaculture where oysters are raised to produce this iconic creature. WYPR's Joel McCord took a look at the growth of this industry in the region.

Maymont Childrens Farm website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - More than $3 million in Chesapeake Bay conservation grants are headed to Virginia.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and an Environmental Protection Agency official overseeing the bay's restoration are scheduled to formally announce the funding Tuesday at a news conference in Richmond.

The announcement will be made at Maymont, a scenic Richmond attraction overlooking the James River. A conservation grant totaling $200,000 is going to the Maymont Children's Farm to reduce stormwater.

Upstream Alliance website

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A kayaking crew is scheduled to finish a 500-mile trip around the Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Peninsula.

The crew called the Upstream Alliance is set to end their journey on Thursday afternoon at Sandy Point State Park.

The group is a nonprofit organization that is working to recruit and train leaders in environmental protection and policy.

Nearly each day, the crew collected data on water quality, fisheries and other indicators of bay and environmental health.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia and West Virginia each are receiving $1 million in federal funding for their roles in restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Education is intended to help farmland owners plant trees along rivers and streams to reduce runoff into waters that feed the bay.

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. (AP) - Archaeologists say an 18th century shipwreck was found in the Nanticoke River by a State Highway Administration crew repairing the U.S. 50 bridge.

The SHA said in a news release Monday that the crew was removing debris from under the bridge when workers found some wood that could be ship timbers.

SHA archaeologists found that an intact keel, frames and other ship timbers. The wreck was taken to the Maryland Archaeology Conservation Laboratory in Calvert County.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

WASHINGTON (AP) - Regional leaders and federal officials are getting together to talk about cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Thursday's annual meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council, chaired by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, will include an announcement of how officials plan to meet the goals of a federal-led bay cleanup agreement that was signed last year.

The agreement establishes pollution limits in the nation's largest estuary and sets goals for the bay to be fully restored by 2025

Neil Kaye / Tangier History Museum

The clouds were active yesterday new Tangier where a number of waterspouts were seen on the Chesapeake Bay.

There were 911 calls around mid-morning on the western side of the island.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that resident Anna Pruitt-Parks said she saw four funnel clouds.

The National Weather Service says a series of thunderstorms in expected in the mid-Atlantic region that could bring hail and a few tornadoes.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A U.S. appeals court has upheld a federal plan limiting pollution in the Chesapeake Bay despite objections from farmers who accuse the Environmental Protection Agency of abusing its power.

The ruling Monday upholds restrictions on farm and construction runoff and wastewater treatment and is a clear win for environmentalists.

Six states have agreed to the pollution limits: Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, along with Washington, D.C.,

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STEVENSVILLE, Md. (AP) - Maryland authorities say the body of a missing Silver Spring boater has been found.

Authorities say the body of 32-year-old Javier A. Sotelo was found Wednesday.

Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson says they've been searching for Sotelo since he disappeared in the water Sunday when the boat he was operating capsized, near Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

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