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.
February 19, 2013
Hardly a month goes by that The Sun does not further document how Chesapeake Bay pollution is eroding the livelihoods of our watermen. In a cynical moment, I once wrote in my book, "Bay Country," of a day when "we will memorialize the vanished watermen in a Colonial Williamsburg - Watermens' World, we'd call it ... tourists could view actors tonging Fiberglas oysters from the comfort of underwater viewing lounges.... " Now I'm encouraged to report that the Chesapeake Conservancy has an innovative program up and running that trains real life watermen to share their skills with tourists, supplementing their incomes while we work to restore the Chesapeake's seafood bounty.
June 24, 2012
While I agree that chemicals and manure are major problems contributing to Chesapeake Bay pollution, there are two additional concerns that should be addressed. One is the pollution associated with power mowers, leaf blowers and edgers. Most or these gasoline engines have little or no pollution controls. The second is the increasing population in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. During my lifetime, the population in Maryland has more than tripled, and homes and highways continue to reduce the efficiency of trees in cleansing the environment.
May 26, 2011
My first visit to the Chesapeake Bay was disappointing to say the least. As a place that receives millions of visitors a year, it shouldn't be too much to expect clean water. Roughly 20 percent of all wetlands may no longer be protected by the Clean Water Act. We need EPA director Lisa Jackson and the EPA to act now to protect America's waterways. Muhammad Yasin, Reston, Va.
November 27, 1994
RHODES POINT -- Picture a colossal hot dog, a third of a mile long, being filled with tons of sand and muck sucked from the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay and stretched out along a narrow spit of land.It may be an unattractive notion, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hoping that the "hot dog" device will help ward off the Chesapeake Bay's ravenous appetite for land that is eating away at the only natural buffer keeping the tiny Smith Island village of Rhodes Point from slipping into the water.
June 29, 2010
The Chesapeake Bay and the rich habitat it contains provide outstanding sporting opportunities for the region's millions of hunters, anglers and birders. As a Maryland resident sportsman, conservationist and professional wildlife biologist, I support the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, which is currently before Congress. The legislation would improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and ensure that generations of sportsmen and other outdoors enthusiasts will continue to enjoy the region's wildlife-oriented traditions.
July 9, 2011
We applaud Sen. Ben Cardin's courageous opposition to the pesticides bill now before the U.S. Senate ("Cardin opposes break on pesticide," July 4). This proposal would cancel the Environmental Protection Agency's permit program limiting the amount and types of pollutants discharged into waterways and threaten the Chesapeake Bay. Without definite limits on hazardous pesticides, it will be impossible to keep Maryland's streams and rivers free of toxic chemicals. Without the permit program, 95 percent of our streams will continue to show pesticide pollution, and the majority of our aquatic communities will be exposed to complex mixtures of chemical contaminants that have the potential for harm.
January 20, 2011
It defies all logic that a farm with 100 acres could harm the Chesapeake Bay more than a shopping center, apartment complex and attendant parking lots on 100 acres could do. Back when the bay was clean, we had more farms than we do now, and we had many less people with their cars, sewage treatment plants and garbage. Are farmers singled out as evil bay polluters ( "Faulty stewardship," Jan. 13) because there are fewer of us? We are good stewards of the land, and fortunately we have the voice of the American Farm Bureau to speak for us. Milly B. Welsh, Davidsonville
December 10, 2009
Since 2007, the Department of the Environment has made enforcing environmental laws one of our top three priorities - along with increasing transparency and improving our fiscal structure. Progress includes enacting standard operating procedures to correct enforcement delays, increasing enforcement activity 34 percent in fiscal year 2008 and securing two of the highest penalties ever collected for state environmental violations. We did this without additional inspectors or resources. Over the past three years, due to the national economic recession and necessary state budget reductions, MDE reduced its budget by $27 million - equivalent to about a third of our annual operating budget.
February 21, 2013
As a concerned mother and environmentalist, I want to thank The Sun for its recent article on pollution in the Chesapeake Bay ("Report finds widespread contaminants in the bay," Jan. 22). Meaningful efforts to significantly improve the bay must address pesticide runoff. The Pesticide Use Reporting Bill would require certified pesticide and fertilizer applicators to report usage data to a centralized database. Centralizing such information would benefit public agencies in their response to fish kills, dead zones and human health outbreaks.