Chesapeake Bay Collaborative | WYPR

Chesapeake Bay Collaborative

The Chesapeake Bay is America’s largest estuary, with a watershed that spans 64,000 square miles, touching on six states. It’s an economic engine to two of those states, a source of food for many and close to the hearts of millions.Five public radio organizations—WYPR in Baltimore, Virginia Public Radio, Delmarva Public Radio at Salisbury University, Delaware Public Media and WESM at The University of Maryland Eastern Shore are collaborating to produce reports examining a broad spectrum of issues affecting the Bay and its watershed. 

Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative is funded with grant support from the Clayton Baker Trust, The Bancroft Foundation, Michael and Ann Hankin, The Jim and Patty Rouse Foundation, The Rob and Elizabeth Tyler Foundation, and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Joel McCord

Crisfield, on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, is probably best known for the annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, a political schmooze fest of legendary proportions. But the town soon will have another claim to fame. It’s about to be the first municipality in the Delmarva region powered by a windmill.

A ship that sailed to the beaches of Iwo Jima during World War II and rescued seven people during one of the world’s largest-ever recorded storms will soon sit at the bottom of the Atlantic, a couple dozen miles off the coast of Delaware and Maryland. 

 


 

Searching for ghost pots in the Chesapeake

Jan 6, 2017
Pamela D'Angelo

Every year, Chesapeake Bay watermen toss about 600,000 pots overboard to catch one of our favorite delicacies – the blue crab. But inevitably, some of those crab pots disappear. They become "ghost pots," killing millions of crabs and other marine species trapped inside.

It’s estimated there are about 145,000 ghost pots bay-wide. Some 58,000 are lost in Maryland and 87,000 in Virginia. Laid end to end, they'd stretch 53 miles. That’s from Havre de Grace to Tilghman Island in Maryland or from the mouth of the Potomac River to the mouth of the Bay in Virginia.

Joel McCord

A recent study from EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program has confirmed that the water quality in the nation’s largest estuary is improving, thanks to a pollution diet for states in the Bay’s watershed.

But there’s one part of one state—the five counties of South Central Pennsylvania—that lags behind in reaching its pollution reduction goals, mostly because of fertilizer that runs off farm fields into Bay tributaries.

Tracking raptors on the coast

Nov 22, 2016
US Fish and Wildlife Service

Every fall, ospreys, falcons, eagles, hawks and other raptors migrate through the Chesapeake Bay region on their way to warmer places. And as they do, groups of volunteers keep track of them as part of the Hawk Watch initiative - an international effort to study raptors during their migratory period.

CNN

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could not disagree more on climate change. Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, sees it as a real threat while Trump, the Republican, dismisses it as a hoax.

And because climate change can lead to rising sea level, among other things, their views on the subject are important to those who live and work on the Chesapeake Bay.

John Lee

Oysters are nature’s filtration machines, and there used to be enough of them in the Chesapeake Bay to filter and clean all that water in three days. Now, there are so few oysters it takes more than a year.

So, environmentalists are trying to rebuild the population by growing oysters. And one of the so-called oyster gardens is in an unlikely place-- Baltimore’s polluted inner harbor. It’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Baltimore Initiative.

Without the she crab, there'd be no he crab

Oct 3, 2016
Pamela D'Angelo

The Atlantic blue crab, Chesapeake Bay’s signature crustacean, has been through tough times in the last 20 years. Some recent improvement has been credited to restrictions on harvesting females. Yet Virginia still allows the harvest of egg-bearing females, something Maryland banned back in 1917. The reasons why seem to be wrapped up in economics.

Joel McCord

A few years ago, scientists began worrying that blue catfish, the much larger cousins of those squirmy, yellowish bottom feeders, might take over in Chesapeake Bay. They’re big—better than 100 pounds in some cases--voracious eaters and they’re prolific. So, at least one seafood wholesaler appropriated a slogan applied to other invasive fish--eat ‘em to beat ‘em—and began aggressively marketing them. And local watermen have found a new market and seemingly endless supply. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture via Creative Commons

  Environmentalists saw a victory last week when congress allocated close to 11 million dollars of the 2016-spending bill for land conservation along the rivers of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

For the past four years environmentalists from the region have been urging Congress to permanently protect close to 15,000 acres of land in the watershed.

Joel Dunn, the President and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy based in Annapolis says 35 nonprofits, four Indian tribes, five governors, nine U.S. Senators and 17 members of the house, put together a large proposal to protect vital areas along the rivers of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Captain John Smith trail.


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