Delaware Public Media

Pamela D'Angelo

Pamela D'Angelo

Big poultry on the DelMarVa Peninsula began by accident when Delaware homemaker Cecile Steele was shipped 500 chicks to raise instead of the 50 she ordered. She kept them, made a profit and ordered 1,000 the next year. And so, an industry was born and has been growing ever since.

But the hundreds of thousands of tons of manure produced each year so close to the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways worries residents throughout the region.  Contributor Pamela D'Angelo has more on how some of those concerns are being addressed on Virginia's Eastern Shore and what First State officials are saying .

Pamela D'Angelo

For as long as there’s been a Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at the mouth of the bay, there’s been a gift shop and restaurant perched on an island in the middle of it all. But now that Virginia has broken ground to add a parallel tunnel, the restaurant is about to become history.

Reese Lukei

Osprey, like bald eagles, are a comeback story.

Their eggs were destroyed by the pesticide DDT, until it was banned in 1972, when there were only about 1,400 breeding pairs of osprey around the bay. By the late 1970s scientists began seeing osprey in southeastern Virginia, according to Reese Lukei, who monitors osprey nests in that region, along with Chrystal Matthews for the William and Mary Center for Conservation and Biology and the Virginia Aquarium.

Pamela D'Angelo

In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order recognizing the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure. That began a federal-state partnership to restore and protect it, including a plan to revive the wild oyster population through sanctuaries on restored reefs in Maryland and Virginia.

But President Trump's proposed budget eliminates funding for that plan, further complicating an already complicated effort to restore the reefs gutted by a century of overfishing, disease and pollution. 

Pamela D'Angelo reports for Chesapeake: A Journalism Collaborative.

Pamela D'Angelo

The Chesapeake Bay's crab, oyster and bait industry has been losing its American workforce since the late 1980s, as the old hands retire and younger workers seek better paying jobs.

The packing houses turned to foreign, seasonal workers to fill the gaps, but the visa program Congress established for that, dubbed H2B, quickly reaches the 66,000 worker cap. And that’s forcing some seafood processing plants to shut down.

Pamela D'Angelo

The Atlantic blue crab, Chesapeake Bay’s signature crustacean, has been through tough times in the last 20 years. Some recent improvement has been credited to restrictions on harvesting females. Yet Virginia still allows the harvest of egg-bearing females, something Maryland banned back in 1917. The reasons why seem to be wrapped up in economics.

Pamela D'Angelo

Recently, we’ve reported on the issue of coastal erosion in the First State– how climate change, rising seas and coastal storms impact Delaware, the nation’s lowest lying state.  We’ve looked at the problems it creates not only for the shoreline, but for the state’s Inland Bays and marshes in places like the Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge – and how it could cause problems for threatened species that use them like the red knot.   We’ve also told you about new methods being used to combat the problem in Delaware, including something called living shorelines.

Delaware is not alone in fighting this battle and in this week’s Enlighten Me - as part of our new collaboration with WYPR in Baltimore, Virginia Public Radio and others – we bring you a look at how its playing out in elsewhere on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Contributor Pamela D’Angelo tells us that in Maryland some of the Chesapeake Bay’s pristine wildlife refuges are drowning, casualties of erosion and the rising waters caused by climate change.  And now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is using Superstorm Sandy money and the latest science there to restore and protect two of Maryland’s prized refuges – in ways similar to what we see here in the First State.