June 29, 2017

Enjoy the James River

Enjoy the view of the James River along the Colonial Parkway while you can. Before too long you'll be looking at 300 foot towers and a high-voltage power line across America's River. John Smith's view will be gone forever due to Dominion Power's unwillingness to submerge the line or convert the two old coal-burning units on the York River to gas. What's good for the York River will now be good for the James River!

The approval for this mega-project now has only one more hurdle (James City County Supervisors) after Virginia Marine Resources Commission members gave it unanimous approval this week. Their only caveat was to avoid installing pilings for the towers between February 15 and June 15 in consideration of any impact on fish. The toxic chemical kepone still lurks deep in the river bottom, so this may help a bit. But recent VIMS studies of the fish in the James River showed that kepone still lingers in them.

It really isn't easy being green these days as the EPA is neutered and clean water is threatened in numerous ways.


June 16, 2017

Summer on the Chesapeake Bay

Not to be a naysayer, but this summer may not be a good one for the Chesapeake Bay. It may face a larger than normal "dead zone" with less oxygen for its finned and shelled residents. Underwater sea grasses may not be happy either.

Recent progress on the health of the Bay has been promising, but the threatened lack of funding (out of D.C.) for cleaning up the Bay is not the only thing that might compromise the Chesapeake. The heavier than normal rainfall in recent months is washing all sorts of "stuff" into the bay and its tributaries. And that could mean more algal blooms this summer because algae loves nitrogen and "stuff." Most of this enters the Chesapeake from the Susquehanna River because Pennsylvania has less economic interest in the Bay and farmers there continue to allow their cows to wander into streams. Plus other initiatives that Maryland, Delaware and Virginia policy makers and legislators have supported receive less interest in Pennsylvania.

A regional pollution diet is needed. And voluntary goals, without funding, may not be reached.