Delaware Public Media

Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative

The Chesapeake Bay is America’s largest estuary, with a watershed that spans 64,000 square miles, touching on six states. It’s an economic engine to two of those states, a source of food for many and close to the hearts of millions.Five public radio organizations—WYPR in Baltimore, Virginia Public Radio, Delmarva Public Radio at Salisbury University, Delaware Public Media and WESM at The University of Maryland Eastern Shore are collaborating to produce reports examining a broad spectrum of issues affecting the Bay and its watershed. 

Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative is funded with grant support from the Clayton Baker Trust, The Bancroft Foundation, Michael and Ann Hankin, The Jim and Patty Rouse Foundation, The Rob and Elizabeth Tyler Foundation, and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

File photo courtesy of USDA.

The Delmarva Peninsula lies under the Atlantic Migratory flyway, a path waterfowl migrate through. As Europe deals with recent outbreaks of a severe strain of Avian Influenza, some local poultry growers worry that just one infected bird passing through the region could contaminate and kill whole flocks of chickens.

 


Crisfield, on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, is probably best known for the annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, a political schmooze fest of legendary proportions. But the town soon will have another claim to fame. It’s about to be the first municipality in the Delmarva region powered by a windmill.

James Morrison / Delaware Public Media

A ship that sailed to the beaches of Iwo Jima during World War II and rescued seven people during one of the world’s largest-ever recorded storms will soon sit at the bottom of the Atlantic, a couple dozen miles off the coast of Delaware and Maryland. 

 

 

Searching for ghost pots in the Chesapeake

Jan 6, 2017

Every year, Chesapeake Bay watermen toss about 600,000 pots overboard to catch one of our favorite delicacies – the blue crab. But inevitably, some of those crab pots disappear. They become "ghost pots," killing millions of crabs and other marine species trapped inside.

It’s estimated there are about 145,000 ghost pots bay-wide. Some 58,000 are lost in Maryland and 87,000 in Virginia. Laid end to end, they'd stretch 53 miles. That’s from Havre de Grace to Tilghman Island in Maryland or from the mouth of the Potomac River to the mouth of the Bay in Virginia.

A recent study from EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program has confirmed that the water quality in the nation’s largest estuary is improving, thanks to a pollution diet for states in the Bay’s watershed.

But there’s one part of one state—the five counties of South Central Pennsylvania—that lags behind in reaching its pollution reduction goals, mostly because of fertilizer that runs off farm fields into Bay tributaries.

Katie Peikes / Delaware Public Media

Ospreys, falcons and eagles are among the species of raptors that fly through the Chesapeake Bay region as they migrate.

And in our latest Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative story we learn that as they do - a group of volunteers is taking note.

Delaware Public Media’s Katie Peikes tells us they’re part the Hawk Watch initiative - an international effort to study raptors during their migratory period.


CNN

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could not disagree more on climate change. Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, sees it as a real threat while Trump, the Republican, dismisses it as a hoax.

And because climate change can lead to rising sea level, among other things, their views on the subject are important to those who live and work on the Chesapeake Bay.

John Lee

Oysters are nature’s filtration machines, and there used to be enough of them in the Chesapeake Bay to filter and clean all that water in three days. Now, there are so few oysters it takes more than a year.

So, environmentalists are trying to rebuild the population by growing oysters.

Pamela D'Angelo

The Atlantic blue crab, Chesapeake Bay’s signature crustacean, has been through tough times in the last 20 years. Some recent improvement has been credited to restrictions on harvesting females. Yet Virginia still allows the harvest of egg-bearing females, something Maryland banned back in 1917. The reasons why seem to be wrapped up in economics.

Photo credit: Joel McCord

While you finish up leftovers from that Thanksgiving turkey, here’s something else to think about this time of year; oysters. Fat, juicy Chesapeake Bay oysters. Five years ago, if you had a Maryland oyster – it was most likely caught wild by a commercial waterman. Now, it’s increasingly likely those oysters are farm raised.

As part of our with WYPR in Baltimore , Virginia and Delmarva Public Radio and WESM – WYPR’s Joel McCord joins us this week to tell us  that Maryland’s oyster aquaculture program has mushroomed since 2010.  It still has a way to go to catch up with Virginia, but is well ahead of  the one here in the First State – which hasn’t gotten off the ground.