Thursday, August 29, 2019

Today's Chesapeake Bay News

Hold on tight!
A couple of interesting articles in today's Chesapeake Bay newsfeed. As expected, Queen Ann County had voted to ban balloon releases: Maryland county bans release of harmful helium balloons
A Maryland county has voted to ban the release of environmentally harmful helium balloons.

WBAL reports that on Tuesday , Queen Anne’s County commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance that prohibits the release of nonbiodegradable helium balloons into the air.

Those who deliberately violate the ordinance can be fined up to $250.

Queen Anne’s Conservation Association Director Jay Falstad told WBAL the balloons pose an environmental threat. He said they can get stuck in trees, in the Chesapeake Bay or in off-shore clusters in the Atlantic Ocean.
As I noted before, this makes more sense than the various straw bans, but it still won't save the planet.

Second: New striped bass regulations lower recreational catch in Virginia
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission approved a set of emergency measures Aug. 27 to help protect the struggling striped bass population in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic coast. That includes lowering the number of “keepers” for recreational anglers from two to one fish per day.

Charter boat industry leaders said the change will devastate their business for striped bass, also known as rockfish. But the move’s backers said it and the other new measures are needed to keep fishery managers from having to enact the state’s first fishing moratorium on the species since 1990.The action will reduce the amount of striped bass lost to recreational fishing in Virginia by 24%, said Alex Aspinwall, a data analyst with the state commission.

“No one wants their ox gored,” said Steven Bowman, head of the commission. But “this ox is not just gored. This ox is lying on its side in need of treatment.”
No word on how those restrictions will be enacted, but traditionally, the actual regulations aren't enacted until it's necessary to print the guide. Or even later.

Maryland officials deny permit for solar farm that Georgetown University wanted to build
Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles has denied a permit for a controversial solar farm project that Georgetown University wanted to build in rural Charles County, Md.

The project required razing about 210 acres of trees, which angered local activists. Protesters at public hearings hosted by Grumbles argued that while they applauded Georgetown’s goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, the project would actually harm the environment by endangering birds and causing runoff that would damage tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay.

Grumbles said in a statement Wednesday that “water quality-related conditions” were not met at the site, a rural area about 12 miles west of La Plata.

“While Maryland strongly supports the increased use of clean and renewable energy sources, these two proposed projects would harm the nearby high-quality stream in Charles County and threaten our continued restoration progress in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Grumbles said. “This is an unacceptable trade-off for the environmental benefits of clean energy.”
. . .
The parcel, located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, is one of the state’s “targeted ecological areas,” meaning it is a conservation priority for the Department of Natural Resources. A number of at-risk birds — including bald eagles, warblers, eastern whip-poor-wills and wood thrushes — live there in the Nanjemoy forest, according to the Audubon Society of Maryland and D.C.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Labor Day With Jayne Mansfield up on time and within budget at The Other McCain.

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