Chesapeake Bay

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CRISFIELD, Md. (AP) - Maryland State Police have rescued five people and a dog from the Chesapeake Bay.

Police said Monday that the group was on a 22-foot boat Sunday night when they experienced a problem with the fuel system. The boat stopped working and strong winds blew the vessel onto a small island southwest of Crisfield.

The group called 911.

Police say the winds were too strong and the water too shallow for rescue boats. They used state police helicopters based in Salisbury and Frederick to hoist the five people and the dog to safety in a rescue basket. 

Maryland Transportation Authority

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Transportation Authority says the two spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge will be closed this week for maintenance.

Last night the eastbound was closed from 10 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. During that time, two-way traffic was allowed on the westbound span.

For the rest of the week the westbound span is scheduled to be closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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ASHLAND, Va. (AP) - Federal officials are heading to Ashland to announce nearly $9 million in grants from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund.

The funding being announced Tuesday for Virginia, West Virginia and other states within the bay's estuary are intended to reduce polluted nutrient and sediment runoff into the bay. The District of Columbia is also within the bay's watershed.

The grants will be announced by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Virginia State Police say at least two people have been confirmed dead and at least 20 people injured in Cherrystone Campground in Cheriton this morning after a storm moved through the area in Northampton County.

County Sheriffs and EMS teams are on their way to the scene with all those who were injured being taken to nearby hospitals.

There were also rescue squads from Virginia Beach, who met with Eastern Shore ambulances at the visitor’s center plaza on the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to take some of the injured to get medical care.

CBF

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Scientists are studying what would happen if a series of floodgates are built across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Virginian-Pilot reports a team led by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are trying to find out the consequences of a potential 24-mile-long network of barriers between Virginia Beach and the southern tip of the Eastern Shore.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The Environmental Protection Agency says that Delaware failed to meet its own targets for reducing pollution from nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment through last year.

That stands in contrast to Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia which reached all three goals.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued its own report earlier this month that came to the same conclusion.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that nonetheless every jurisdiction fell short in carrying out some of the regulations and monitoring efforts.

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Marine officials in Virginia are weighing plans to reduce the harvest of female blue crabs.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will take public comment Tuesday on a proposal to reduce the harvest of female blue crabs by 10 percent over the next year beginning July 5.

Officials say the move would help increase spawning potential and help reverse the depleted condition of female blue crabs.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley is hosting the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council.

The council is meeting Monday in Annapolis. The council is scheduled to sign an agreement to update a 14-year-old plan to guide restoration and conservation in the bay's six-state watershed.

Among the issues the plan covers is how the states and the federal government will address the impact of climate change on the nation's largest estuary.

A meeting is scheduled in the statehouse. That will be followed by a news conference at the Annapolis City Dock.

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The latest environmental report has given the bay a grade of C for the second straight year.

The University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science found that the rivers around agricultural areas lost ground last year.

The Choptank River received a C-minus while the upper shore rivers such as the Sassafras Chester and Miles got D’s.

That’s down from the previous year.

The researchers said that much of the problem involved the 50 inches of rain on Delmarva which brought fertilizer and animal waste from the fields into the rivers.

cbf

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay watershed is among eight areas in the nation being designated critical conservation areas.

Virginia U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine said Tuesday that designation ensures federal funding to help implement a variety of conservation projects.

With the designation, the bay is eligible to receive a portion of more than $100 million in annual funding. It would be used to help implement a variety of conservation projects and increase the sustainability of regional water, soil, wildlife and natural resources.

Exelon Corp website

CONOWINGO, Md. (AP) - Officials say concerns about the sediment-filtering capacity of a dam on the lower Susquehanna River in northeast Maryland must be addressed in the broader context of trying to improve water quality efforts throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Construction of the Conowingo Dam in the late 1920s created a detainment area for some of the sediments and nutrients flowing down the Susquehanna toward the bay.

Exelon Corp website

CONOWINGO, Md. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin is holding a hearing regarding environmental challenges involving the Conowingo Dam in northeast Maryland.

Construction of the dam in the late 1920s created a detainment area for some of the sediments and nutrients flowing down the Susquehanna River toward the Chesapeake Bay.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

WASHINGTON (AP) - Maryland is joining three other jurisdictions in supporting the Obama administration's plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It's seeking to counter an election-year legal challenge by farmers and 21 attorneys general.

The case before a federal court in Philadelphia asks whether the EPA went too far in negotiating a 2010 agreement that sets pollution limits on the nation's largest estuary.

Bob Quinn / Chesapeake Bay Foundation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says more friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed in support of a massive restoration of the estuary.

The leading advocate for the bay's cleanup says one amicus brief has been filed by several cities, including New York, Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A second was filed by Florida conservation groups.

This month, Virginia's attorney general filed an amicus brief in support of the plan.

Chesapeake Bay Program

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Scientists say an indicator of the Chesapeake Bay's health - underwater grasses - has reversed a three-year downward trend.

The Chesapeake Bay Program released its annual report on underwater grasses on Monday. The program says the abundance of underwater grasses increased 24 percent between 2012 and 2013.

Underwater grasses are considered critical to the bay ecosystem because they offer food to small invertebrates and migratory birds and shelter for young fish and blue crabs.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

With the nation marking Earth Day, Alan  Girard, Eastern Shore director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation says much progress has been made in cleaning up the bay and dealing with population growth on Delmarva.

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HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - Virginia is defending the federal and state plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Thursday the state has filed a friend-of-the court brief in support of pollution limits to restore the bay after decades of neglect. The filing is with the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

Farm industry groups are appealing a federal judge's decision last September to uphold the federal pollution limits.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Website

The Wicomico County Council has joined The Clean Chesapeake Coalition and has paid $25-thousand to become a member along with other counties such as Dorchester, Kent and Caroline.

The coalition was formed a little more than a year ago after the state developed a Watershed Implementation Plan that is enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The standards for the plans would limit the amount of nutrients and sediment that runs into the Chesapeake Bay.

Don Rush

BALTIMORE (AP) - A Maryland environmental official is starting a tour around the state to talk about efforts to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff.

Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert Summers is scheduled to begin the tour on Wednesday at an urban farm in Baltimore.

The tour will highlight stormwater remediation efforts of government, communities and citizens.

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Watermen and farmers have filed a lawsuit against the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to over turn new regulations that reduce the Menhaden quota.

Captain Robert Newberry, a spokesman for the group, told WBOC that he believes the Chesapeake Bay should not be regulated like the Atlantic Ocean.

The cut in the quota is the result of the state seeking federal grant money.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Attorney General issued a statement last yesterday saying that the new rules are lawful.

Don Rush

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Farm groups are appealing a judge's decision to uphold U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pollution limits that are designed to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Corn Growers Association said Tuesday that they are appealing the Sept. 13 decision.

Farm Bureau president Bob Stallman calls it a "wrongly decided case that has dangerous implications for farmers and many others." The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has called the ruling "a great day for clean water in the region."

Don Rush

The Maryland Board of Public Works has authorized $1.2 million for wastewater treatment plant upgrades for the towns of Salisbury and Fruitland.

The funding is part of the 2000 Chesapeake Bay Agreement signed by five states including Maryland to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries such as the Wicomico River.

Salisbury got $1 million for designing improvements to fix an earlier upgrade that did not meet pollution control standards.

Angela Byrd

More than 1,500 scientists gathered this week in Baltimore for the 26 th annual the International Congress for Conservation Biology. Event organizers Autumn-Lynn Harrison, scientist and research associate at Clemson University talks about efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay with Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush.

Angela Byrd

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - States in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are working to have a new cleanup agreement ready by October.

The Capital reports a new agreement is in the works with clearer goals and greater flexibility and transparency.

It would be the fourth Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement in 30 years intended to spur improvements. The last agreement was signed in 2000.

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The end of June saw big votes on Capitol Hill and big decisions by the United States Supreme  Court. Delmarva Public Radio's Don  Rush caught up with Eastern Shore Congressman Andy Harris (R-First District)  on his reaction to these events.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A Crisfield man has been convicted of polluting state waters by abandoning a dilapidated and sinking boat in a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

State prosecutors say 56-year-old Gregory Sterling pleaded guilty to the charge in Somerset County District Court and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is shedding its late 19th century oyster tax for an annual user fee.

The new system will spare watermen mounds of paperwork and return the proceeds of the user fee back to the Chesapeake Bay to replenish public oyster stocks. The new system begins July 1.

It will replace a system that required monthly reports and taxes on each bushel of oysters. The user fees apply to commercial oyster operations, not for individuals who grow oysters off their docks for their own eating enjoyment.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Sen. Mark R. Warner says he's introduced legislation that would better track the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Virginia Democrat says the legislation would require the Office of Management and Budget to compare costs and the performance of restoration activities by various federal agencies involved in the massive environmental endeavor.

The multi-year effort to clean up the bay involves at least 10 federal agencies, Virginia, West Virginia, four other states, the District of Columbia and more than 1,000 local governments.

Don Rush

NEWARK, Del. (AP) - A University of Delaware-led study has found that decades-old federal standards overestimate current poultry industry contributions to water pollution.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports that researchers found that nitrogen levels in poultry house manure are 55 percent lower than the Environmental Protection Agency's standards. Efforts to eliminate waterway dead zones and algal blooms nationwide have focused on pollution from manure.

epa.gov

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay Program says states in the bay watershed are about one quarter to one third of the way toward meeting goals for cutting the bay's three main pollutants by 2025.

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