Predictably scary: nutrient pollution

To the uninitiated, the forests of Pennsylvania have no connection whatsoever with the manatees of Florida. After all, they’re separated by a thousand miles. The forests are on land, the manatees in the water. But both were in the news this Halloween week. Pennsylvania forests made regional news because Governor Tom Corbett approved legislation reducing […]

What’s clean water worth? The bottom line says billions

How much is clean water worth to you? Some of its benefits are incalculable – can you really put a dollar value on good health, a memorable fishing trip, or a babbling brook? But this week, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation tried. They looked at eight natural benefits that would be enhanced if the Chesapeake Clean […]

A leaking ark: Reports reveal pollution problems and species loss

Two reports released this week reveal dangerous holes in our haphazard collection of environmental safeguards. The first, an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General (IG), found that sewage treatment plants in America fail to address hundreds of hazardous chemicals routinely released by industry. The second, by the international conservation group World Wildlife […]

Shenandoah’s snot-grass isn’t child’s play

It sounds like something kids would say to gross each other out: snot-grass. But to Shenandoah Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble and others who use the river, it’s serious business. For the past 10 years, according to Kelble’s group, long strips of slimy green algae (reminiscent of certain substances known to emanate from human nostrils) have formed […]

Warning: You can run, but you can’t swim

Tucked away in a tiny notice in the sports digest of The Washington Post this week was one line that spoke volumes. The notice was reporting on the results of the ninth Annual Events DC Nation’s Triathlon benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The line read: “…the swimming portion of the event was canceled due […]

Looking out for the future

It was a bumpy ride on choppy seas in a fast boat between Cape Lookout National Seashore and the mainland last week as Hurricane Cristobal passed by a few hundred miles offshore. But Ray wanted to chat anyway. My husband John and I were the only other passengers on the last ferry leaving the island […]

Making the pen mighty: Communicating for conservation

Want to change the world (or at least clean up your local waterway)? Earlier this summer, The Downstream Project joined other Virginia and West Virginia conservation professionals in a workshop led by the communications firm Water Words That Work, hosted by the WV Conservation Agency. Water Works founder Eric Eckl shared his formula for stimulating […]

Sex and Drinking Water

It’s hard to get more fundamental than this. The water news this week focused on the toxic algal bloom in Lake Erie that poisoned Toledo, Ohio’s drinking water, and a federal study that discovered intersex fish throughout the Delaware, Susquehanna, and Ohio Rivers. But these stories really are just the tip of the iceberg: Many, […]

Would a moratorium solve the blue crab crisis?

This past week, the venerable Angus Phillips – former outdoors columnist for The Washington Post – emerged briefly from retirement to make an angry plea on The Post’s pages: ban crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay. He lamented this summer’s lousy blue crab numbers – foretold by this past winter’s dredge survey – and reminded readers […]

Oyster restoration offers a foothold for the future

This past spring, we blogged about a federal study demonstrating how oyster replenishment could eliminate nitrogen pollution in the Potomac River estuary. Now that it’s summer, the news is filled with encouraging stories of oyster restoration projects throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Josh Bollinger of The Star Democrat in Easton, Maryland recently reported on replenishment efforts […]