Chesapeake Bay

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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.

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.

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.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — State officials say they are seeking proposals for Maryland's Stream Restoration Challenge.

The program started last summer seeks to establish 1,000 acres of forested stream buffers by 2015. The buffers help keep stormwater runoff and sediment from entering waterways and eventually the Chesapeake Bay, where they can cause oxygen-robbing algae blooms and harm plant life and other bay species.

Bay Grasses Take a Hit

Apr 18, 2013

BALTIMORE (AP) - An annual aerial survey of Chesapeake Bay grasses has found they continued to decline last year, and researchers are again blaming a pair of 2011 storms.

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee dumped mud and debris into the bay, and surveyors said Thursday that is the mostly likely cause for the 24 percent drop. A more than 20 percent decline the previous year was blamed on the same storms and summer heat.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Medical marijuana and a measure addressing legal responsibilities related to dog bites are some of the remaining issues before Maryland lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session.

The session is scheduled to end at midnight Monday. Most major bills have already been passed, including: one relating to gun control; a gas tax increase; a Baltimore schools funding plan; and a repeal of the death penalty.

The medical marijuana bill will put Maryland on track to have a program at academic medical research centers that decide to participate.

James River Association

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new report says there are cost-effective ways for local governments to reduce stormwater pollution going into the Chesapeake Bay.

The report says local governments could possibly reduce their costs by 50 percent to 85 percent by choosing the most-effective measures. These measures include restoring urban streams instead of building detention ponds and repairing sewer lines.

The Maryland-based nonprofit Center for Watershed Protection conducted the study for the Richmond-based James River Association.

Maryland Farm Bureau

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland senate committee has approved an agriculture certainty bill that has split support from environmental groups.

The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted 7-4 to pass the bill Wednesday.

GreatGrow Maryland is teaming up with Salisbury University to test whether its soil additive can increase crop yields while reducing nutrients that pollute the Chesapeake Bay.

It has taken ten years to fine tune the ingredients and the company only has been able to supply limited quantities to growers.

The company says its mixture of microbes and other naturally occurring materials can boost yields by as much as 50 percent.

Timothy Shelton /

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Stream Restoration Challenge says it has $6 million in grant money available for organizations seeking to improve the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland state officials say they are accepting applications from local governments, school systems and non-governmental organizations. The grants are for projects to improve water quality, promote environmental literacy and create service learning opportunities for students.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal plan to restore the native oyster to the Chesapeake Bay identifies 24 tributaries in Virginia and Maryland that provide the best potential to bring back a coveted hard-shell that has declined to less than 1 percent of historic highs.

The plan was prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the federally directed effort to restore the environmentally battered estuary, the nation's largest. It concludes that 14 tributaries in Maryland and 10 in Virginia offer the best hope of restoring the bay oyster.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A New York-based environmental group that sued Perdue Farms and an Eastern Shore contract grower says it won't appeal a federal judge's ruling in a poultry pollution case.

The Waterkeeper Alliance announced in a statement on Wednesday that while the group believes it presented compelling evidence, it won't appeal U.S. District Jud

ge William Nickerson's ruling, because of the high burden of proof appellate courts impose for reversing a district court's findings.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it is seeking volunteers to teach children about the Chesapeake Bay and other state waterways.

The volunteers will be part of the Teaching Environmental Awareness in Maryland program. More than 1,200 classroom presentations have been given since the program was started in 1998. Students are told about the bay's six-state watershed, oysters, oyster reefs, horseshoe crabs and Chesapeake watermen.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Natural Resources officials are asking boaters to help stop the spread of invasive zebra mussels.

The DNR says department biologists found young zebra mussels on anchor blocks for buoys near Havre de Grace last month. And they say boaters, anglers and others who use the lower Susquehanna River and upper Chesapeake Bay can help stop the spread.