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The Chumph Tries to Kill the Chesapeake Bay and Kill More Jobs

One of my favorite memories as a young boy was when visiting country relatives who lived along one of Virginia’s rivers emptying into the Chesapeake Bay. In the summer, we’d go fishing a few miles down river for the plentiful Sea Trout, Spot, Croaker, and Bluefish. And yes, “Croaker” is a type pf fish prevalent along the mid-Atlantic seaboard considered a delicacy by some, and a trash fish by others because it has lots of bones.

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Atlantic Croaker. So named because it makes a sound when caught. They breed in a 6 year cycle, and disappear for a year. Depending on year, they can range from 3-4″ to over 18″ in length.

In the fall Hunting season, the men in the Hunt Club would sometimes go out to the Oyster Grounds along the river, and collect bushels of the delicious bivalves. We would usually all ride on one of the flatbed Lumber Trucks, and wade out at low tide to chip Oysters off what is called Oyster rock, filling bushel baskets. Then on the way back home, “shuck” a few to eat raw, flavoring them with Vinegar, splitting up the catch so everyone had some to take home.

By the late 60’s – there just wen’t any Oysters.

The bay (and ocean side) has made a big comeback from the devastation of the Oyster stock by over-fishing and pollution. And a number of small aquaculture companies have had success in farming Oysters and Clams for the commercial market. I started “planting” my own clams, and raising Oysters in baskets which are designed to float, suspending the Oysters in a cage under water.

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While people both farm clams and use the floats for Oysters for commercial purposes, many people here who live along the water, or have access to a dock will raise Oysters or Clams for their own personal consumption. Originally the floats were designed to raise the Oysters above the bottom to avoid the deadly MX Virus, as well as pollution. Now, they are the basis of a sustainable aquaculture system.

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Now, Putin’s Bitch wants to take us back to the “bad old days” by destroying the very Chesapeake Bay clean up efforts which allowed the Oyster and Clam businesses on the bay to come back. POS needs to keep his freaking small paws off the Bay!

This is why the Farmers in my part of the world…

Weren’t stupid enough to vote for Trump

Chesapeake Bay’s Booming Oyster Industry Is Alarmed By Trump’s EPA Budget Cuts

Ryan Coxton resurrected his family’s oyster business in 2001 from the same muddy swath of Virginia river bottom his great-grandfather leased 102 years earlier. The slippery, jagged-shelled bivalves became so popular in the decades after the Civil War that a gold rush ensued in the Chesapeake Bay and its teeming estuaries, at times spurring violent rivalries that became known as “the oyster wars.”

But the Rappahannock Oyster Co. ― the first iteration of it, at least ― died in 1991 with Coxton’s grandfather. By the time Coxton and his paternal cousin, Travis, started growing oysters as a hobby on the family’s old property, the oyster industry in the region had all but collapsed.

Overfishing over the last century badly hurt wild oyster populations. Diseases ravaged the remaining creatures in the 1950s. Runoff pollution from farms and sewage treatment plants tainted the waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. Bacteria and algae fed by the pollution blossomed into massive, toxic plumes that sucked up oxygen and blocked sunlight, stymying fish populations and thinning the marsh grasses that oysters cling to to keep from slipping into the soft, silty mud and dying.

Things started changing in the last several years as the effects of an Environmental Protection Agency cleanup that began in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan took effect. (President Barack Obama imposed even stricter targets in 2009). Levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, a third of which settled on the water from being wheezed by power plants into the air, fell. The water cleared. Grasses grew back in dense thickets, tightening the river bed with roots.

By 2004, Coxton quit his day job and started cultivating oysters full time. At first, restaurants in the area, knowing how dirty the water had been, wouldn’t buy his product, even though it was safe to eat. He shipped them to upscale eateries in New York. But as water quality improved over the past decade, local demand came roaring back. Coxton opened his fifth restaurant Thursday evening and plans to cut the ribbon on a sixth in September.

Now the program that saved the Chesapeake Bay oyster industry is in jeopardy. The budget President Donald Trump proposed Thursday would eliminate funding for the $73 million initiative, along with more than 50 other programs and 31 percent of the EPA’s overall budget. Funding isn’t the only thing on the chopping block. Trump vowed to boost economic growth by axing regulations, particularly environmental rules he blames for holding businesses back. Already, his administration has scrapped a rule protecting streams from coal mine pollution, tossed out a directive ordering oil and gas drillers to report methane emissions and overturned a regulation giving the EPA power to police fertilizer and manure runoff from farms, the chief contaminants in the Chesapeake Bay.

“Oysters are filter feeders,” Coxton, 47, told The Huffington Post in a recent interview. “We can’t operate without clean water and a good environment.”

It wasn’t long ago that another Republican eager to placate his party’s populist wing took aim at cleanup efforts pursued by his Democratic predecessor. Weeks after taking office in January 2015, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan blocked regulations aimed at limiting Eastern Shore poultry farmers’ use of chicken manure on their fields. The phosphorus-rich fertilizer is a leading source of runoff in the Chesapeake Bay.

A month later, the Hogan administration received a letter from the EPA warning that, if the state dropped new manure rules, it would need another policy to meet the agency’s pollution limits. Maryland Democrats scrambled to pass bills that would have done just that. In response, Hogan made an about-face. He ordered an immediate ban that targeted fields oversaturated with manure, even though he gave other farmers more time to comply, local NPR station WYPR reported.

“We have listened to the agricultural and environmental communities to find a fair and balanced plan for limiting phosphorus,” Hogan said in a statement at the time. “The enhanced Phosphorus Management Tool regulations … will protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay while still supporting a vibrant agriculture industry in Maryland.”

In a statement to The Huffington Post, the governor vowed he would “always fight to protect our state’s most important natural asset.”

“If any of these budget proposals ever become law, we will take a serious look at how to address them during our budget process next year,” Amelia Chasse, the governor’s spokeswoman, said. “Since taking office, Governor Hogan has invested more than $3 billion in efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and will remain a fierce advocate going forward.”

Conservationists, clean water advocates and oyster farmers hope Trump will have a similar change of heart. Or, at least, that Congress will withhold approval for any budget that doesn’t include funding for the project. Republican lawmakers, some of whom already joined Democrats in opposing Trump’s cuts to a similar cleanup effort in the Great Lakes, are expected to oppose the reductions.

“This just makes no sense. We are in disbelief,” said William C. Baker, president of the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “The EPA’s role in this cleanup is nothing less than fundamental. It’s not just important; it is critical.”

Oyster farmers emerged over the past decade as a force in Virginia and Maryland. In the Old Dominion State, farmers sold $16 million in oysters in 2015 alone, besting all other states on the East Coast, according to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s 10th annual report on the state’s aquaculture industry. Though smaller in Maryland, the industry has ballooned in the last eight years, said Jeffrey Brainard, a spokesman for the EPA-funded Maryland Sea Grant, which is also earmarked for disposal.

In just the last five years, farmers in the Chesapeake Bay region helped double oyster production on the East Coast to 155 million bivalves per year, said Bob Rheault, executive director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association.

“We’re literally an engine of job growth, especially in Chesapeake and especially for the watermen of that region who are up for the challenge,” Rheault said. “These proposed cuts are just job killers.”

“It’s like, my God,” he added, sighing loudly, “if we don’t have clean water, we don’t have customer confidence.”

Uncertainty over the future of the EPA cleanup program has spooked some who left other jobs in recent years to join the booming industry. Johnny Shockley, 54, quit commercial fishing to build a sustainable oyster hatchery on Hooper’s Island, the bayside archipelago where he grew, a third-generation waterman. Now the man The Washingtonian once called “the Chesapeake Bay’s hope on the half shell” worries his small empire of sustainable oyster hatcheries could be imperiled.

“One of the reasons why folks were getting in and willing to change their lives and commit their livelihoods to these efforts is the support we’ve seen from the federal government in the last 25 to 30 years,” Shockley said. “All of a sudden we’ve been threatened to see that all taken away.”

 

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Jaws on the Potomac!

Just when you thought all the sharks had moved to tony Law Offices or cushy Lobbyist quarters on K street!

Seen 1 shark …You’ve pretty much seen them all. Turns out during the 1920’s there was a “bathing beach” located at the Tidal Basin, complete with sand down to the river. This is a collection of the “bathing beauties” attire one might have run into at that time.

From the Ghosts of DC Blog

This is not a joke. A long time ago, there was a perceived oncoming epidemic of invading sharks, hell-bent on destroying humans and their boats.

I found this article in the Washington Post from July 26th, 1911 — by the way, two days earlier, Hiram Bingham had announced the discovery of Machu Pichu. This shark story is fantastic.

Alexandria, Va., July 22.–Savage sharks, which have attempted to climb on board small boats and drag occupants into the water, have created widespread excitement among the rivermen of this city, and are responsible for the organization of the “society for the suppression of man-eating fish,” of which Capt. Henry Simmons is president.

According to Capt. Simmons, who had an encounter with one of the fish, the sharks are desperate, hardened, and totally without fear of human beings. They are not even scared of motorboats, he declares.

“Something must be done,” said Capt. Simmons last night, “before it is too late. Positive measures must be resorted to if these sharks are to be shown where they get off. We cannot afford to have our leading citizens attacked. As soon as I learn the best way of killing a shark, I shall lead a party that will exterminate them; yes, suh, exterminate them.”

Capt. Simmons’ adventure occurred about 30 miles below here, last Wednesday. He was moving along in his gasoline boat, when, in the distance beheld a man in a batteau [sic], who seemed to be earnestly punching something. As Capt. Simmons drew nearer, his horrified eyes discerned a giant shark–a creature between 15 and 20 feet long–which was determinedly trying to climb into the small craft.

While he hurried to the batteau man’s assistance, the fish made a vicious leap, and almost got over the gunwale. The man punched the shark on the nose, and it fell into the water.

This is the way Capt. Simmons tells the rest of it:

“I was astonished. Throwing on the high speed clutch of my boat, I hurried toward the man who stood panting as he nursed the bruised place where his hand had come in contact with the shark’s face.

“Hurry,” he yelled, or you may be too late. This shark is trying to find something. I don’t know what it is, but I won’t give it to him.

“I picked up a chunk of iron and cautiously went alongside. As I did, the enraged shark came to the surface, and, with gleaming eyes, again rushed toward the batteau. His mouth was open, and I could see his interior works as he lashed himself against the side of the batteau. Just as he poised himself for a spring, I struck. I hit him fairly behind the ears, and, with a roar, he disappeared under the water and made away, leaving a trail of foam behind him.”

Returning to Alexandria, the captain spread the news, and, within a short time, plans were arranged for a shark hunt. Several other residents claim to have seen these creatures in the river. The “society for the suppression of man-eating fish” was formed late yesterday afternoon, and comprises the leading fishermen of this community.

OK – So that was fun (although a real article) establishing that a long time ago, sharks actually roamed the river up to near Washington DC. 30 miles south would have been about the Occoquan Bay. Of course the river was a lot bigger then, before much of it was drained to supply drinking and potable water to the region. If you are familiar with Georgetown. you will notice the canal is about 20-30′ higher than the surface of the river at 33rd st NW. That is because until about the Civil War, what is K St., where Wisconsin ends would have been under 10-20 ft of water. Several rivers/creeks were covered over as well. Here is a high res PDF showing where those rivers that were  covered over are in relationship to the modern DC. Goose/Tiber Creek still run under the streets today. The washington Monument sits at the edge of what was the river in 1792.

One of the earliest Maps of the (then) planned city of Washington, DC. You will notice that “Goose Creek” AKA Tiber Creek and James Creek are gone. That is because they were buried by city developers. Goose/Tiber still runs under Constitution Ave. which was the Washington City Canal.

In 1790, reportedly as 13′ shark was caught from the docks in Georgetown. which brings us to my latest story, SHARKS in the Potomac!

2 Sharks Caught at Mouth of Potomac River

Fishermen have caught two bull sharks at the mouth of the Potomac River in Maryland about 200 yards from a spot where people had been swimming.

John “Willy” Dean caught the 8-foot, male sharks weighing about 220 pounds each in nets on Tuesday near Point Lookout State Park where the Potomac meets Chesapeake Bay. The catch comes three years after Dean captured the first bull shark recorded in the Potomac in 37 years.

The first shark had drowned while caught in the net. The second was alive and thrashing when hauled on board by Dean and three other fishermen.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fact sheet says bull sharks live off the Atlantic coast and are common in lagoons, bays and river mouths. They can be found where fresh water meets salt water.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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MY President!

The title for this one is a riff off of a Wanda Sykes joke told at the National Press Club Dinner. If you don’t get it – watch the video.

Chesapeake Bay Sunrise - Winter

Chesapeake Bay Sunrise - Winter

MY President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order today to clean up the Chesapeake Bay! At freakin’ last there is hope to enjoy the Breakfast of Baysiders once more before I pass from this earth. The tasty morsel called a Chesapeake Bay Oyster. There have been wars fought in this part of the country over these bad boys, and a good number of brawls over which is best – Seaside Oyster or Bayside. And don’t even get into the discussion of whether Tangier Sound or Mobjack Bay taste better! Anyway – fried or on the half shell – this is the start to some seriously good eatin’ Chesapeake Bay style!

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Posted by on May 13, 2009 in You Know It's Bad When...

 

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