Chesapeake Bay

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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.

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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.

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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.

Chesapeake Bay Program Website

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A record amount of underwater grass has been reported in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that there are 59,277 acres of underwater grass in the state's portion of the nation's largest estuary.
 
Underwater grass is important, because it is a key indicator of improving water clarity and quality. It is the fourth straight year bay grasses have increased.
 

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HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - An annual survey has found a record-high number of spawning-age female blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay and predicts another year of improved harvests.

The results of the survey conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Maryland Department of Natural Resources were released Wednesday.

They show the total population of blue crabs fell this year by 18 percent. But the female spawning stock was the highest ever recorded in the survey's 28-year history.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

A proposed budget by the Trump administration would slash funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration by 93 percent. But environmentalists a confident that the proposal by the Office of Management and Budget will not stand. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Kim Coble, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, about the the push back against such a spending cut. 

Don Rush

Plans by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources would give watermen more room to harvest oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports the agency has plans to reduce the sanctuary acreage by 11 percent or around 1-thousand acres.

For the Lower Shore around 100 acres would be opened up in the Tangier Sound while the 17-thousand sanctuary acres on the Nanticoke River would be expanded by over 800 acres.

The paper reports that the Manokin and Nanticoke rivers could be two of eight potential sites for oyster reef restoration.   

Don Rush

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - A researcher at William & Mary says that "big, honkin' grandma oysters" could improve the Chesapeake Bay's oyster stock.

Geology Professor Rowan Lockwood says in a university press release that larger, older oysters produce more offspring. And some studies suggest they're more tolerant to disease. 

msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is scheduled to vote on a resolution to empower the attorney general to sue the federal government without the governor's permission.

The Senate is expected to vote Friday on the resolution, which would clear the way for the Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government for policies with which it disagrees, including President Donald Trump's travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority counties.

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Senator Ben Cardin says he will oppose the nomination of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Maryland Democrat says that he is concerned about whether Pruitt truly believes in the EPA’s mission to protect the public health and environment.

Cardin said he does not understand why Pruitt would want to head the agency after repeatedly suing and criticizing it.

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Senator Chris Van Hollen says he will vote against three of President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominations.

The Maryland Democrat says he will oppose Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General saying that he is trouble by his record on voting rights and the rights of women, minorities and the LGBT community.

He also said he did not believe that Sessions would provide an independent check on Trump’s push to bar Muslims from coming into the country.

Maryland’s Junior Senator said he opposed Chris Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The annual Polar Bear Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Maryland has raised over $480,000 with three weeks to go until the plunge.

In a statement, organizers said that more than 10,000 people are expected to jump into the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay on Jan. 28 as part of the fundraiser.

This year is the 21st annual plunge, which is hosted by the Maryland State Police.

Participants raise at least $75 each to plunge into the water at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A new report finds water clarity in the Chesapeake Bay is the best it's been in decades, and native rockfish, oyster and blue crab populations are rebounding as the overall health of the nation's largest estuary improves.
 
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's biennial State of the Bay report gave the estuary a C-minus grade, an improvement from a D-plus two years ago. It's the highest score since the first report in 1998.
 

EPA

Not long ago, we learned that water quality in the Chesapeake Bay is improving, thanks to EPA’s pollution diet for states in the Bay’s watershed. But one part of one state—south central Pennsylvania—has lagged behind in reaching its pollution reduction goals, mostly because of fertilizer that runs off farm fields into Bay tributaries.

Now, Pennsylvania, the US Department of Agriculture and the EPA have committed to spend $28 million to accelerate pollution reduction efforts in that region.

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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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