August 30, 2012
Now it's official: A report released today (8/30) finds the Conowingo Dam is losing its ability to prevent pollution from reaching the Chesapeake Bay. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the reservoirs behind Conowingo and other dams on the lower Susquehanna River are nearly full of sediment and are increasingly failing to trap it as it washes down river. The 94-foot-high hydroelectric structure at Conowingo is just the last and largest of...
March 28, 2012
What is this new weed all over my place? It has a thin stem and little white flowers. The little leaves are in a circle around the plant base. Weirdly, it also has needles on the stems. There are so many of these stems in my lawn and beds, I thought they were grass! What do I do? Weed quickly! Those "needles" are seed pods that will explode open and project their seeds everywhere. Welcome to hairy bittercress, a weed having a banner year. Though flourishing now, this is a winter annual weed and most of its seeds germinated last fall.
February 23, 2012
I am appalled to learn that Maryland has forced the elimination of phosphorus from liquid injector tree fertilizer. It is the phosphorus that is most important to root development. A mature tree will certainly use all the phosphorus injected into the soil with nothing left to harm the Chesapeake Bay. It is this lack of proper root development that has made falling trees, once rare, now a common occurrence. I should not have to quote tree experts on the importance of feeding trees anymore than I should have to quote nutrition experts on the importance of feeding humans.
February 20, 2012
Millions of tons of one of theChesapeake Bay'slargest sources of pollution continue to be dumped onto farm lands without proper regulation. Farm animals produce 44 million tons of manure annually in the bay watershed, and most of it is collected and disposed of on farmland - or left where it falls. This ranks the bay region in the top 10 percent in the nation for manure-related nitrogen runoff, and the problem of proper management of this waste is exacerbated by the fact that three highly concentrated animal feeding operation areas contribute more than 90 percent of the manure.
May 7, 2011
While we've made progress on plans to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland still needs to get serious about reducing pollution from farm runoff ("Scientists criticize tracking of Chesapeake Bay cleanup," May 5). Manure runoff is a major pollutant, and our current system allows too much phosphorus-rich manure to be applied to farmlands. If soil becomes saturated with phosphorus, a bay-killing pollutant, and then still more manure is applied, it becomes easier for the phosphorus to get into nearby waterways, leading to algae blooms that choke the bay of life.
December 16, 2010
At six weeks of age, the average chicken produces about 5 ounces of waste each day. That may not seem like much, but multiply it by 80,000, which is how many birds may be found in a single commercial chicken house, and it's ankle-deep in short order. For most farmers this has been regarded as a prized asset, not a problem. Poultry litter is periodically spread on fields to fertilize crops and spare farmers the expense of buying expensive commercial fertilizers. It's the proverbial cycle of life.