There was more good news for the Bay this spring. There is clear consensus in the scientific community that the health of the Bay is improving. But the recovery is fragile and still could be undone with a loss of federal aid and the programs it supports.
With uncertainty about new regulations and increases in the reported cases of food-borne illnesses, wholesale fish distributors are taking their need for refrigeration to a whole new level — and place. Some, like McDonnell, have moved out of the wholesale city markets that used to be gathering places for early-morning fish delivery and banter. Others are going out of business, selling out to competitors, or merging to share space and expenses.
Chesapeake Bay crabbers will likely face some harvest restriction this season to protect future generations of the iconic crustacean, a move managers say is necessary because of the low population of young crabs. Fishery managers for Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission all say they are considering shortening the season and imposing stricter limits on the harvest of female crabs.
Once a month, Matt Parker and Suzanne Bricker drive along Penny Lane through a Southern Maryland forest until it dead-ends at the Chesapeake Bay. Then, they pull on their waders and hop into a skiff to maneuver out to aquaculture cages, where they grab samples of water and the oysters taking it in. Their results may eventually let oyster growers earn money not only for the bivalves they grow, but also for the water the shellfish clean under the state’s nascent nutrient trading program. But partnerships like Parker’s and Bricker’s won’t be happening in the Chesapeake, or anywhere else, if the Trump administration’s proposed budget is approved later this year. The work is funded by Maryland Sea Grant — one of 33 Sea Grant programs around the nation that help translate science into sustainable coastal economies.
An earthquake, and then a flood, forced officials to repair a parking lot retaining wall in hilly Ellicott City. Howard County’s innovative repair job did more than restore the wall — it netted the community an architecturally designed staircase, showy native gardens, a waterfall, less stormwater pollution of the Patapsco River and a BUBBA.
Gov. Larry Hogan last month announced yet another study of a third span across the Chesapeake Bay. The study is expected to cost $5 million and take up to four years. Its goal is to determine the appropriate site for a third span and how to pay for it.
Gov. Hogan’s announcement came with the current Bay Bridge in the background. The setting suggests that the third lane will be built at the current Sandy Point site. Maryland would be well served, however, by building the next bay crossing from Baltimore County to Kent County.
It is getting embarrassing. As Maryland’s General Assembly drew to a close last month, the state’s Department of Natural Resources was once again bowing to pressure from watermen whom it is charged by law with regulating. It was the third time in less than a year.
Native Americans around the Chesapeake Bay may have lived hand to mouth in prehistoric times, but they apparently never got so desperate or greedy that they depleted a readily available food source: the estuary’s once-abundant oysters. That’s the upshot of a new study looking at Bay oyster sizes and harvesting activity through the ages
Maryland legislators and contract farmers hired by companies to grow chickens are proposing the Poultry Litter Management Act that would require major animal agriculture companies to pay the cost of properly disposing excess manure on their contract farms. It’s a fairness issue, it has an adverse impact on our environment and we need to clean it up,” said Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore, “and those individuals who are making the mess need to clean up the mess.”
Asked about the long-smoldering fight over a 160-megawatt trash incinerator proposed in south Baltimore, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a forum Wednesday that he has “no position on it because I don’t have the facts.” The woman who asked the question found Hogan’s reply “infuriating,” even though he promised to have his staff meet with her and the group opposing the incinerator. “We’ve been fighting this proposal for four years,” she said. But Hogan’s environment secretary knew a lot about the project.