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Posts from the ‘Current issues’ Category

National Ocean Policy

The following is reprinted from the recent BoatUS e-newsletter. It highlights ongoing planning that can affect recreational boating. Right now the focus is on the Northeast. Expect that to expand – an issue worth watching….

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Over the last two years, BoatUS has been working on the National Ocean Policy, set in place with an Executive Order from President Obama. How could this affect your access to the water, and on the water?

Early on recreational boating was not being adequately considered, so BoatUS took every opportunity to speak up for our favorite pastime, which now is included in their plans as a key “stakeholder.”

As part of this work, a study is now underway in New England to measure the economic impact of recreational boating. (Boaters can participate in this study by clicking here.) Be on watch for similar studies and planning that could affect boating in your region and please let us know when you see things starting to happen in your area.

As Ryck Lydecker, Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs, says “Now that policy makers recognize us as “stakeholders” let’s make certain to stake our claims,”
For more background on this topic, click here.

Trashing the Bay

Having just returned from a sail from Annapolis to Baltimore and return, I was pleased to read in the Bay Journal about efforts to keep trash and other debris out of the waters.  Lara Lutz wrote about the Anacostia litter cleanup.  While the Anacostia contributes to the Potomac and is down Bay from where I normally sail, similar issues exist for all the rivers and streams within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Not only is trash in the water unsightly, it is also unhealthy and presents hazards to navigation. In just a few hours of travel we encountered lumber, logs, and other hard debris that can cause damage to boats – potentially creating safety issues. Other forms of trash were common and likely originated from careless disposal. For a more detailed look at this issue, pick up the June issue of the Bay Journal, or follow the link to read on-line – http://www.bayjournal.com/issue/10935

The Bay Journal reports on all things relating to the Chesapeake Bay including current events and more in-depth information about progress in improving Bay health. As sailors on the Bay, we all should keep a close watch, and lend a hand when and where ever we can.

Good news from the Bay Program

Blue Crab population hits a 20 year high!

—  (from Chesapeake Bay Program)

The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population increased 66 percent in 2012 to its highest level since 1993, according to the annual blue crab winter dredge survey conducted by Maryland and Virginia.

 

The enormous increase was fueled by a “baby boom” – an almost tripling of the juvenile crab population, from 207 million last year to 587 million. This figure smashed the old record of 512 million juvenile crabs set in 1993.

Overall, the Bay’s crab population has risen to 764 million, more than triple the record low of 249 million set in 2007. That deep decline set in motion four years of concentrated efforts to rebuild the stock.

“Just a few short years ago, the future did not look bright for our blue crab population,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Our female crabs were being overfished, and our fishery was at risk of complete collapse. We teamed up with our neighbors in Virginia and at the Potomac River Fisheries Commission to make the tough choices, guided by science, to reverse that population decline.”

Bay-wide, the crab harvest has increased substantially since 2008, when 43 million pounds were caught. In 2011, an estimated 67.3 million pounds of crabs were harvested from the Bay.

Not all news from the survey was bright: the number of spawning-age females dropped by roughly 50 percent to 97 million. However, this figure is still above the health threshold. Maryland and Virginia will work together to produce a management strategy to avert another stock decline for this segment of the crab population.

Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ website for more information about the winter dredge survey and the 2012 blue crab figures.

Climate change strategy available for review and comment

edited from DOI press release……

In 2010, Congress called for a national, government-wide strategy to address impacts of changing climate, and directed the President’s Council on Environmental Quality and the Department of the Interior to develop it. CEQ and Interior brought together a partnership of federal, state and tribal fish and wildlife conservation agencies to draft the strategy. More than 100 researchers and resource managers from across the country contributed to the draft document.

That draft titled “National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy” is available for public review and comment through March 5, 2012. It can be found on the web at www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov

The strategy creates a framework for unified action to safeguard fish, wildlife and plants, as well as the important benefits and services the natural world provides, including jobs, food, clean water, clean air, building materials, storm protection, and recreation.

Department of Interior Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes noted: “The impacts of climate change are already here and those who manage our landscapes are already dealing with them. The reality is that rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, loss of sea ice and changing precipitation patterns – trends scientists have definitively connected to climate change – are already affecting the species we care about, the services we value, and the places we call home. A national strategy will help us prepare and adapt.”

Author Comment:  Coastal areas are especially vulnerable to changes that can affect recreational boaters, marinas and other shore-based services. It is incumbent upon the boating community to pay attention to this report, and be sure that it addresses those interests.

The draft Strategy is available for review and comment. The 45-day public comment period is from January 20 to March 5.

Imagine clean waters

If I have your attention – come on back for observations and views about current conservation issues as this site grows.

Come on along!

Welcome to Chesapeaketidings… a place to find stories about our adventures sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and other wanderings.   You will also find news and views about conservation issues, and my occasional musings about current events, natural resource policy matters and other miscellaneous issues of interest.

Follow Bay conditions – real time!

The Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System offers extensive real time date on Bay physical /chemical conditions —  Annapolis Buoy – CBIBS