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NEWS
April 28, 2010
Underwater grasses made robust gains in the Chesapeake Bay last year, scientists report, reaching their greatest extent in seven years. But the submerged vegetation, which provides shelter and food for fish and crabs and helps clear the water, is still less than half what it once was. Reporting on the results of the Chesapeake Bay Program's annual aerial survey, scientists said bay grasses spread across 12 percent more of the Chesapeake's bottom, covering...
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NEWS
September 9, 2014
I'm left speechless after reading your recent editorial on the Conowingo Dam ( "Damning the dam," Sept. 1). It would seem to me that some Chesapeake Bay cleanup lobbyist wrote this article. Of course we have to continue our efforts to restore the bay. Of course overflowing sewers and stormwater run-off continue to damage the environment, and of course they must be stopped. But your writer is either ignorant of history or too young to remember tropical storm Agnes and how it virtually wiped out the grasses in the bay, causing damage we are still feeling more than 40 years later.
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NEWS
By Dennis O'Brien and Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF | November 1, 2002
WASHINGTON - Underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay have reached the highest level since researchers began tracking them in 1978, federal officials announced yesterday. Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program said a survey last year found 85,252 acres of grasses baywide, 27 percent more than was found the previous year. About 15 percent of the aerial surveys could not be completed because of flight restrictions imposed on small planes after Sept. 11 last year.
NEWS
By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2014
Paul Spadaro walked along the edges of his backyard along the Magothy River and pointed to the shallow waters, clouded by a brown, murky mass. There was a time, the Severna Park resident said, that the waters were teeming with bay grasses that filtered the currents. Then came development, and natural shoreline gave way to wooden bulkheads and fertilized lawns that seep nutrients into the river. That created murkiness, he said, blocking the sunlight the plants needed to grow. To hear Spadaro tell the tale, Mother Nature would put greater Anne Arundel County in timeout if it were possible.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,tim.wheeler@baltsun.com | April 30, 2009
In rare good news for the Chesapeake Bay, scientists reported Wednesday that underwater grasses made significant gains last year in the beleaguered estuary, growing thickly enough in the upper bay to visibly clear the water while continuing to rebound in the lower bay. Aerial surveys found that the grasses had spread across nearly 12,000 additional acres of bottom last year, an increase of 18 percent from 2007, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program, the...
NEWS
By Chris Guy and Rona Kobell and Chris Guy and Rona Kobell,Sun reporters | August 28, 2007
CAMBRIDGE -- From a cramped office on the Eastern Shore, researchers Laura Murray and her husband, Michael Kemp, have spent more than two decades studying the decline of underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay and measuring what that means to the health of the estuary. All their work was lost yesterday in the flash of an early-morning fire that destroyed twin trailers that housed their offices, their computers, their research papers and irreplaceable data. "I just feel hollow," said Murray, after surveying charred rubble at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental and Estuarine Study.
NEWS
By Heather Dewar and Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF | November 11, 2000
Seeds buried in the mud of Chesapeake rivers for as long as 2,000 years show that human beings, not forces of nature, are to blame for the destructive disappearance of the bay's lush underwater grasses. That's the conclusion of a new study by two Johns Hopkins University scientists who dug deep into 12 bay rivers and creeks, bringing up long cylinders of sediment deposited on the bottom over the past two millennia. Buried in the sediment are pollen, seeds and other clues that tell experts when and how some major changes took place in the bay's environment.
NEWS
By Heather Dewar and Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF | February 3, 2001
Maryland needs "swan-free zones" to protect rare birds and bay grasses from being overwhelmed by huge flocks of mute swans, a state task force says. To keep the birds in check, the task force recommended fencing off some vulnerable tracts of shoreline, harassing swans in those areas with dogs, fireworks or loud noises, and tampering with eggs in the nest so they don't hatch. As a last resort, the state should consider shooting some mute swans, the task force recommended. But the panel, set up by the Department of Natural Resources, ruled out a public hunting season for the big birds, which resemble their native relatives, tundra swans and trumpeter swans.
NEWS
By Rona Kobell and Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF | May 27, 2005
Underwater bay grasses had a banner year in the upper Chesapeake Bay in 2004, with the largest increases in and around the Susquehanna River. The multistate Chesapeake Bay Program released results of its annual bay grass survey yesterday, and the findings confirmed what scientists have seen on boat trips along Cecil, Harford and Baltimore county rivers: Multiple species of dense grasses have returned to areas that had been barren for many years....
NEWS
By Rona Kobell and Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF | May 19, 2004
Chesapeake Bay grasses suffered their worst decline in 20 years after a torrent of rains last spring and summer washed huge amounts of sediment and nutrients into the water, according to a report released yesterday. The findings, which come from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science's study of submerged aquatic vegetation in the bay from May to October last year, show that the grasses decreased 30 percent throughout the tidal bay, and 41 percent in Maryland. The report marks a setback for the multistate push to restore the grasses -- and with them crab and fisheries habitats -- by 2010.
NEWS
By Gerald W. Winegrad | May 8, 2014
The recent bad news on the serious decline in female blue crabs (" May 1) and the subsequent editorial ("Singing the blues," May 5 ) calling for much tighter harvest restrictions should be a wake-up call for all who care about the Chesapeake Bay. The winter dredge survey found one of the lowest crab levels in 25 years of sampling. The harvest in 2013 was the lowest in more than 20 years. At the root of this decline are two factors: overharvest and poor environmental conditions.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 21, 2014
Underwater grasses rebounded last year in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, partially reversing a three-year decline in a key indicator of the bay's health, scientists said Monday. Aerial surveys detected a 24 percent increase in aquatic vegetation baywide, from 48,195 acres in 2012 to 59,927 acres last year. That's only about third of the goal federal and state officials have set for restoring grasses to levels approaching what they were 50 or 60 years ago. Robert J. Orth, a biologist with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science who coordinates the two-state survey, called last year's growth "a good recovery from what we've been seeing in the previous three years, but it still is far off from our high point" of nearly 90,000 acres in 2002.
NEWS
March 12, 2014
In his recent State of the State Address, Gov. Martin O'Malley touted his accomplishments in Chesapeake Bay restoration. On closer examination, the record reveals that his claims were misstatements, at best. The truth is that Maryland's portion of the bay remains severely degraded. Oyster, shad and soft clam fisheries have collapsed, bay grasses declined in 2012 to the lowest levels since 1986, and dead zones proliferate. Did the governor intentionally ignore the increasing reports of people with serious flesh-eating skin infections threatening their limbs and lives because they swam or fished in Maryland's waters?
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | April 18, 2013
The Chesapeake Bay and its rivers have lost 44 percent of their underwater grasses over the past three years, scientists reported Thursday, reducing vital habitat for crabs and fish to a level not seen in nearly three decades. Scientists blamed weather and storms for much of the decline seen last year, but they said an as-yet unexplained long-term decline in the bay's water clarity has played havoc with this key indicator of the Chesapeake's health. An aerial survey flown from late spring to early fall last year found 48,191 acres of submerged vegetation, down 21 percent from the extent of grasses seen in 2011, according to scientists from Maryland and Virginia.
FEATURES
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | March 28, 2012
The protective underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay have dropped to their lowest levels since 2006, according to the latest report from Maryland and Virginia scientists. The scientists from the Chesapeake Bay Program, a regional partnership, view the grasses as a key measure of bay health because they provide shelter for fish and crabs, protect the shoreline and keep the water clear. The program measures the grasses annually from the Susquehanna Flats to the mouth of the bay, as well as those in the system's rivers.
FEATURES
By Tim Wheeler and The Baltimore Sun | December 15, 2011
A bit of good news - the vast, grassy Susquehanna Flats apparently weathered Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in good shape. Scientists conducting their annual checkup of the bay's underwater grasses found the lush bed at the mouth of the Susquehanna River largely intact when they examined aerial photos taken in late November. Researchers had feared for upper bay grasses, and the Flats especially, after seeing the heavy rains and flooding produced by Irene in late August followed by Lee in early September.  After Lee in particular, the raging Susquehanna flushed an estimated four million tons of sediment out into the bay from behind Conowingo Dam.  Some predicted the storms would deal a serious setback to the bay's health, just as it was showing some signs of improvement.
NEWS
By Jay Apperson and Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF | May 19, 1999
They came to the water's edge carrying aluminum pans that seemed perfect for a sheet of lasagna but were filled instead with a marshy mix of sand, soil and grass. Some slid into too-big chest waders and slipped into the creek, where a biologist dressed like a frogman scooped a handful of brown and green and disappeared beneath the water's surface.One wild celery plant planted, 99,999 to go.That might seem like a lot of celery grass, or it might seem like a pittance when set against the vast waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Either way, the elementary, middle and high school students who yesterday brought their classroom-grown seedlings to Baltimore County's Rocky Point Park were literally delving beneath the surface to learn a lesson in save-the-bay ecology.
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