The Chesapeake in Focus: Transforming the Natural World

The Chesapeake in Focus: Transforming the Natural World

by Tom Pelton

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When Captain John Smith arrived in Virginia in 1607, he discovered a paradise in the Chesapeake Bay. In the centuries that followed, the Bay changed vastly—and not for the better. European landowners and enslaved Africans slashed, burned, and cleared the surrounding forests to grow tobacco. Watermen overfished oysters, shad, and sturgeon, decimating these crucial species. Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond used its rivers as urban sewers. By the 1960s, the Chesapeake was dying.

A crossroads of life and culture, the Chesapeake straddles the North and the South, mixes salt water with fresh, and is home to about 18 million people and 3,600 species of animals and plants. Although recent cleanup efforts have improved its overall health, they have not been enough to save this national treasure. In The Chesapeake in Focus, award-winning writer Tom Pelton examines which environmental policies have worked and which have failed.

Based on Pelton’s extensive experience as a journalist and as the host of the public radio program The Environment in Focus, this sweeping book takes readers on a tour of the histories of the Chesapeake, as well as the ecological challenges faced by its major tributaries. It details the management of blue crabs, striped bass, and other delicious wildlife, profiles leaders and little-known characters involved in the restoration campaign, and warns of the dangers of anti-regulatory politics that threaten to reverse what has been accomplished. Looking to the future, Pelton offers a provocative vision of the hard steps that must be taken if we truly want to save the Bay.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421424767
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 03/21/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 958,139
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tom Pelton is the host of the public radio program The Environment in Focus. A former staff reporter for the Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune, he has also written for the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Harvard Magazine, and other publications.

Table of Contents

1. The Waters
Susquehanna River
Gunpowder River
Corsica River
Patuxent River
Potomac River
James River
Southern Bay
2. The People
Harry Hughes
Parris Glendening
John Griffin
Bonnie Bick
Michael Beer
Carole Morison
Ooker Eskridge
3. The Wildlife
Dermo and MSX
Blue Crabs
Striped Bass
American Eels
4. The Policies
Air Pollution versus Water Pollution
Climate Change
Advocacy and Pollution Trading

What People are Saying About This

Howard R. Ernst

"Tom Pelton's The Chesapeake in Focus masterfully captures the people, places, critters, and policies of the Chesapeake Bay region. It is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the difficult fight to protect the bay."

Ellen Silbergeld

"In Maryland, we love the Chesapeake Bay, or at least we believe these words when we say them. We are, in fact, loving it to death. In this remarkable book, arranged with increasing impact from rivers to people to fish and crabs, and finally to revealing decades of hypocrisy, Tom tells the truth, a truth we must accept if the bay is to survive."

McKay Jenkins

"Tom Pelton’s book on the Chesapeake is a gift to anyone who cares about this great national treasure. Pelton is without question the most gifted and informed writer the Chesapeake has had in a generation, and the knowledge he distills here—gathered from the rivers, the farms, and the people that make the bay so magical—comes at a critical time in the Chesapeake’s long recovery. I will be giving this to everyone I know who loves this beautiful estuary."

Bryan MacKay

"Pelton brings a clear-eyed analysis to what has worked, and not worked, in our decades-long effort to save the bay. This book is destined to enter the canon of Chesapeake Bay literature. It is a worthy successor to Tom Horton’s classic Turning the Tide."

Tom Horton

"The Chesapeake in Focus is a tour de force study of the decades-long attempt to restore the nation’s greatest estuary to health. Pelton gives credit where credit is due for recent cleanup successes, but he also lays out the unvarnished truths about the failures of EPA and questions whether mainstream environmental groups really have the gumption to fight for the progress we need. This is a good and constructive read about what it will take to restore the Chesapeake Bay."

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