Two-Stage Ditch Could Reduce Farm Runoff on Eastern Shore

John Swaine III, Talbot County, Md.

John Swaine III, Talbot County, Md.

John Swaine III stands with his back to a field of soybeans, his sunburnt arms crossed, a dusty John Deere cap tucked over his strawberry blond hair. Near his feet is a ditch that runs adjacent to the winding country lane, Bellevue Road, that bisects his Talbot County, Maryland, farm.

The ditch is meant to collect rainwater that flows off of the fields and the road. For years, Swaine felt helpless when he saw the muddy brown water accumulating in the channel during a storm, knowing it contained soil from his fields that was enriched with commercial fertilizers. “It bothered me to see that water with sediment in it flowing right into the creek,” he says. “Still does.”

The problem is especially bad when the ditch overflows. The water crosses the road, runs through a field on the other side and eventually into Tar Creek. Read More >

States, Army Corps Say No to Asian Oysters

Non-native oysters will not be introduced to the Chesapeake Bay, state officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced yesterday. For the past five years, state officials in Virginia and Maryland, along with the Corps of Engineers, have conducted a $17 million study on the feasibility of introducing the Crassostrea ariakensis species to the Bay to rebuild the oyster population. An article in today’s Washington Post quoted Roger Mann, a professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, who discussed the implications of introducing the non-native species. “The problem is, with all of this, that you don’t really know until you do the experiment. Once you’ve done it, it’s too late.”

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) applauded the decision in a news release issued yesterday. “This decision supports native oyster restoration and says no to further testing of Asian oysters unless it is conducted with no risk to the Bay,” said Roy Hoagland, CBF Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration. “Governors O’Malley (MD) and Kaine (VA) and Col. Anninos (Army Corps) have correctly recognized the dangers that non-native oysters pose as well as the enormous potential for restoration of the native population.” Read More >