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25-Year Cleanup Effort Fails to Restore Americas Largest Estuary | Special Reports | English   Leave a comment

Chesapeake Bay Bridges

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25-Year Cleanup Effort Fails to Restore Americas Largest Estuary | Special Reports | English.

via 25-Year Cleanup Effort Fails to Restore Americas Largest Estuary | Special Reports | English.

The Chesapeake Bay is a national, natural American treasure. It was formed 15,000 years ago when an immense glacier melted and flooded an ancient river valley.  Today, the estuary marks where the Potomac and 150 other rivers, streams and creeks merge on their way to the Atlantic Ocean. The sprawling 166,000 square-kilometer watershed stretches through six states and the nation’s capital, nourishing a multitude of land and marine species.  It’s also the source of fresh drinking water, food and recreation for 17 million people.

Pollution is a longstanding problem

Pollution has long been a problem.  Since the early 1980s, a regional partnership under the federally-funded Chesapeake Bay Program has been charged with cleanup. While some progress has been made, goals have been routinely missed.  Jeffrey Lape, program director, says that failure was underscored in the 2009 Chesapeake Bay Program annual report that looked at such indicators as water quality, wildlife habitat and fish population. “We have rolled them up into a single index, which on a scale of 100, using 100 as a restored Bay; the Bay health is about a scale of 38,” Lape says.

Industry and agriculture are leading Bay polluters

This did not happen overnight.  Industrial growth, a population boom and fertilizer runoff from farms and lawns are to blame. Beth McGee, a water quality expert with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, says the nutrient overload from nitrogen and phosphorus promotes algae blooms that suck life from Bay waters.  “When the algae die they settle to the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay and some of the deeper rivers and when they are decomposed, oxygen is used up. And like us, the animals that live in the Bay – the fish, crabs and oysters – need oxygen to survive,” McGee says.  She adds that the result is, “a dead zone in the summertime when a huge amount of the Bay is off limits to aquatic life.”

Blue point crabs, once plentiful, are nearly gone

VOA – Z. Palacio

Chesapeake Bay waterman John Freeman from Hampton, Virginia, has seen a dramatic decline in blue crabs compared to when he started crabbing 66 years ago. Today half of the 10,000 watermen are part timers.

 

John Freeman, 80, has watched these changes over a lifetime.  A waterman by trade, he’s trapped crabs near his home in Newport News, Virginia, for 66 years, just like his father before him.  “Right now it’s awful,” he says from the cabin of his boat. “We’re not making any money. Just surviving,” he adds.  Blue crabs, native to these waters, have declined by 70 percent over the last 15 years. Despite new restrictions on the fishery, crabs have not rebounded and watermen are turning to other jobs. Freeman says he raised six children as a crabber, a career it’s likely his 22 year old grandson Evan won’t follow.

Pollution keeps children on dry land

Howard Ernst

Charlie, Simon and Emily Ernst enjoy the beach at the end of their block in Annapolis, Maryland, yet often can’t swim there because of polluted water.

 

Elsewhere in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, near the Maryland state capital in Annapolis, Howard Ernst, a U.S. Naval Academy political scientist, walks out on the pier at Chase Creek, a tributary of the Severn River. He lives just up the street and doesn’t allow his young children to play much in the water because of the pollution.  “You can fish, but you’d have to follow state fish advisories for mercury and there are plenty of those. You can crab there, but the primary concern is swimming in the water after rain events. For the entire Severn River the County has a warning that after a one inch [2.5cm] rain event, they advise not going in any of these waters for 48 hours,” he says.

In his new book Fight for the Bay, Ernst writes that failed policies have allowed, “pollution to go on unabated in a way that the Bay can’t handle, whether it’s agriculture, whether it’s steel mills, whether it’s air pollution. It’s in their economic best interests to dispose of their waste in public spaces like the Bay.”

White House orders new clean up for Chesapeake

Earlier this year President Barack Obama issued an executive order to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. Ernst says a strong federal initiative could be a game-changer. “If the administration gets serious about agricultural regulations, finds funding for storm water upgrades, for sewage upgrades and addresses air pollution, which also pollutes the Chesapeake Bay, then we will be in a different situation,” Ernst says.

 

EPA

EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson announces a presidential order to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay, creating “a tougher era in federal leadership.”

 
Lisa P. Jackson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator calls the effort, “a new era in federal leadership.” She says a preliminary report in response to the President’s Executive Order outlines a tougher stand against Bay polluters. “We do understand that if we are going to prove that we are serious about the Bay, we absolutely must step up our oversight and if necessary our enforcement of the regulations that are there to protect the Bay, to protect human health and to protect the extraordinary ecosystem,” Jackson says.

A strategy for Bay cleanup is expected to be finalized by May 2010.

 

Visible in stone: women’s history through the buildings they lived and worked in   Leave a comment

 

"When I was a servant in Rosemary Lane......

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For most of the Victorian period, working class women were rarely able to take advantage of education. By the late 19th century however, schools were spreading, and there were even vocational centres which trained girls for domestic service. This is a turn-of-the-century laundry class at the Housewifery Centre in Greenwich.

Picture: The Women’s Library.
 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatpicturegalleries/8036921/Visible-in-stone-womens-history-through-the-buildings-they-lived-and-worked-in.html?image=1

 

Posted October 17, 2010 by dmacc502 in culture, economy, global, history

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American Cities Pre-1950   Leave a comment

American Cities

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Children playing leap frog in a Harlem street, ca. 1930. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

American Cities

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Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone. The storefront sign reads “Free Soup, Coffee and Doughnuts for the Unemployed.” February 1931. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

American Cities

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Refreshment stand in New York City where pineapple and orange nectar drinks are sold for 5 cents, July 1932. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

American Cities

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Civil Works Administration (CWA) workmen cleaning and painting the gold dome of the Denver Capitol, 1934. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

American Cities

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Rows of laundry outside a New York City apartment house. Posters below advertise coming attractions at the Roosevelt and Apollo Theaters. 1935. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

American Cities

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New York City at night, ca. 1935. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

American Cities

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Downtown Cleveland, Ohio, in winter, from the air. The Cuyahoga River winds through the flats. Dec. 1937. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

American Cities

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A full house, seen from the rear of the stage, at the Metropolitan Opera House for a concert by pianist Josef Hofmann, Nov. 28, 1937. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

American Cities

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Aerial view of a traffic jam, 14th Street and the Mall, Washington, D.C., Apr. 1937. (Courtesy of the National Archives)

http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2010/07/22/from-the-archive-american-cities-pre-1950/2360/

 

Posted October 17, 2010 by dmacc502 in American, economy, government, income

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Poverty In Suburbs Increasing Rapidly During Economic Downturn   Leave a comment

Poverty

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Poverty In Suburbs Increasing Rapidly During Economic Downturn.

via Poverty In Suburbs Increasing Rapidly During Economic Downturn.

The American suburb is no longer a refuge from poverty in cities.

A pair of analyses by the nonprofit Brookings Institution paints a bleak economic picture for the 100 largest metropolitan areas over the past decade and in coming years, and finds that suburbs now are home to one-third of the nation’s poor, and rising.

The study of census data finds that since 2000, the number of poor people in the suburbs jumped by 37.4 percent to 13.7 million. The growth rate of suburban poverty is more than double that of cities and higher than the national rate of 26.5 percent.

At the same time, social service providers are spread thin in many suburban areas, according to a detailed Brookings survey of groups in representative metropolitan areas of Chicago, Los Angeles and the District of Columbia. That has forced providers to turn away many poor people due to scarce aid that typically goes to cities first.

“Millions of Americans at all income levels moved to the suburbs looking for better schools, better jobs, affordable housing, and a sense of security, but in recent years, as incomes have fallen, people had a harder and harder time making ends meet,” said Scott Allard, a University of Chicago professor who co-wrote one of the reports.

“As a result, Americans who never imagined becoming poor are now asking for assistance, and many are not getting the help they need.”

After the recession began in 2007, the suburbs continued to post larger increases in the number of poor – adding 1.8 million, compared with 1.4 million in the cities.