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.
March 21, 2011
Few experiences compare to boating in the Chesapeake Bay at dawn, gliding among blue herons and submerged oak trees. As a nature lover and conservationist, I often take young students to the Chesapeake to teach them about ocean ecology. Lately, these nascent outdoorsmen have been noticing disturbances in the complex chain of marine life that sustains the ocean and its estuaries. An alarming 70 percent of adult striped bass sampled in the Chesapeake Bay are infected with a serious condition called mycobacteriosis, and these ailing fish are migrating from their nursery in the bay all along the Atlantic Coast.
February 24, 2011
The America's Great Outdoors report, introduced by President Barack Obama last week, is a bold promise to strengthen Americans' connection to their greatest treasure: their waterways, forests, fields and urban parks. The plan would better target conservation dollars; coordinate federal, state and local programs; and fully fund the nation's primary source for conservation, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, with $900 million from gas and oil drilling royalties. It would use that fund not just for the conservation of grand natural features such as Yellowstone National Park, but for the development of new urban green spaces, the conservation of working ranches, farms and forests; the expansion of public access to the nation's rivers and new watertrails called blueways; and the restoration of major ecological systems.
December 11, 2010
My neighbor might be an endangered species. No, not a Democrat. A real, not-many-of-you-fellas-left critter in trouble. Smaller than a grain of white rice and just as colorless, Kenk's amphipod lives in small springs and seeps into my portion of Montgomery County known as Inside the Beltway. It looks like a shrimp, although "you'd probably have to eat all the ones in existence to make a meal," says Dan Feller, a Department of Natural Resources biologist who spends his time trying to find living things that almost aren't anymore.
October 17, 2010
James Prosek has spent much of his professional life writing about and painting pictures of glamour fish — the trout, the salmon — that are appealing to the eye and the palette. Born the same week and year I graduated from college (sigh), Prosek has 10 fishing books to his credit (double sigh). Galleries have had shows featuring his fish paintings and he won a Peabody — broadcasting's equivalent of the Pulitzer — for his ESPN documentary on Izaak Walton, the 17th-century author and trout angler.
September 30, 2010
Wolves, as you have undoubtedly heard, are once again thriving in Yellowstone. The 66 trapped in Canada and released in Yellowstone and the Idaho wilderness in 1995-96 have generated more than 1,700 wolves. To the delight of scientists and tourists — and the dismay of many ranchers — more than 200 wolf packs exist in the area today. Courts and government agencies are still sorting out how the wolves should be managed. But one thing is abundantly clear: The reintroduction has succeeded in ways that extend far beyond the health of the wolves themselves.