Chesapeake Bay

Coming Soon: Paper on Phosphorus Pollution in Chesapeake Bay

Posted on Updated on

Over the past several weeks, my colleague and I, Neil Saunders, have written several posts on phosphorus regulations in Maryland. In addition to these posts, we have been working on a paper on phosphorus in the Chesapeake Bay, which looks at the nutrient, how it’s used in agriculture, and how phosphorus acts as a pollutant in underwater ecosystems. I have been researching phosphorus pollution from agricultural activity in Maryland, with a focus on the use of chicken manure as a fertilizer. Neil has been researching the pollution issue from the legislative end, looking at the history of regulations affecting water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and the history of phosphorus regulations in Maryland. He has described Maryland’s proposed regulations, the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT), and described how the PMT fits in with broader efforts to curb pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.


We will be publishing our paper to this site in segments, likely a chapter at a time, over the next few weeks. Our hope is to increase understanding of the issue of phosphorus pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, and the impact agricultural activities can have on our local watershed. Phosphorus pollution to the Bay can be reduced considerably with the right legislation in place.

Oyster Gardening on Antipoison Creek

Posted on Updated on

Early last month I started growing oysters off of the dock at the house on Antipoison Creek. The oysters came out as seed from Oyster Seed Holdings, LLC, a hatchery on Gwynn’s Island, Virginia, and were raised by a third party, Oyster Mama’s Bay-Bies, until they reached the size of a quarter. I have 300 oysters growing in a bag inside of an oyster float off of the dock. The oysters will stay in the bag until they grow big enough to float in the cage by themselves.

Oyster gardening is pretty low maintenance. The cage and bag need to come out of the water every week or two to be cleaned. The cage needs to be checked just as often to make sure no predators, like blue crabs, are inside, eating the oysters.

The oysters will go dormant over the late fall and winter as the water temperatures drop. This batch will be ready for eating hopefully by early next fall, when they grow to be at least 3 inches long. (I have triploid oysters, which usually reach maturity in 18 to 24 months.) Until then, the oysters are doing their part to clean the Chesapeake Bay- each one filters up to 50 gallons of water a day!

DSC_1666  DSC_1671 IMG_1696 IMG_1697

Market Based Approaches to Reduce Nitrogen Runoff

Link Posted on Updated on

Market Based Approaches to Reduce Nitrogen Runoff

The Maryland Sea Grant, a research program out of the University of Maryland, publishes a magazine, Chesapeake Quarterly, on environmental issues in the Chesapeake Bay region. In April they featured a story on water quality trading in the Chesapeake watershed. Water quality trading can take place between farmers and cities, where farmers plant cover crops and adopt other practices to reduce nitrogen runoff, and in return can receive financial grants from local wastewater treatment plants, for example. So far, water quality trading has not been very successful in the area, in terms of participation. The article, “Trading Away Toward a Cleaner Bay,” examines why this is the case, and looks at other market based approaches to limit nitrogen runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.

Current Water Quality Issues

Posted on Updated on

Articles I’m reading this afternoon dealing with water quality issues in the watershed:

Postponing Stormwater Programs in Virginia (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Water Quality Improving Due to Air Regulations (Bay Journal)

Maryland Counties Lax in Monitoring Stormwater Runoff (Baltimore Sun)