The Pope on Climate Change and Monks on Water Quality

HCA1

The environmental world got a boost last week when the Vatican released the Pope’s Encyclical on climate change.  So now we have science and religion on the same side; no big-bang theory v. evolution on this issue.  Who can deny climate change now?  Here’s a link to a youtube trailer “Pope Francis: The Encyclical” which […]

Leaves from Native Trees – The Foundation of Freshwater Ecosystems

Click on the image of the front cover of the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Virginia Wildlife Magazine to read the article.  Permission to post this image and the article was granted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Virginia Wildlife Magazine published my article “Fish Need Leaves” in their Jan/Feb 2015 issue.  More information about Virginia’s premier wildlife magazine can be found here: www.dgif.virginia.gov/virginia.wildlife Excluding livestock from streams is a first big step for agriculture in restoring water resources and complying with the law that the US Congress passed in 1972 – The Clean […]

Lake Erie Needs a Pollution Diet

Lake Erie algae bloom.  Photo by Peter Essick of National Geographic.

This is an OPED piece I wrote for the Bay Journal News Service which was published on 8/19/2014.  I have added photos and links.  Here’s a link to the Downstream Project’s Amy Matthews Amos blog about it. Surviving a heart attack is a huge wake up call that usually warrants a change of diet. Toledo, […]

Swoope Almanac – Summer 2014: Tomatoes, Bobwhites and Middle River Flowing Like Chocolate Milk

Male Northern Bobwhite in the backyard at Meadowview.

I love the smell of hay…and putting it away for the winter.  It’s a good feeling; knowing all the winter feed for the cows is ready. Jeanne is now in the throws of bush hogging the pastures with her new fifteen foot wide “bat-wing” mower. We mow the pastures to cut the seed heads off […]

Poague Run – Sterling Example of Watershed Restoration

Poague Run farm day

I watched the children carry their jars with native Brook Trout fingerlings to the edge of Poague Run.  They carefully stepped close to the water and tipped the jars over releasing the fish into the stream.  This simple act is a conservationist’s “Mount Everest”.   Together, we climbed the mountain.  Together we restored a stream. […]

Why Do Farmers Fence Their Livestock Out of Streams?

Dr. John Wise, large animal vet, beef cattle farmer and co-founder of Westwood Animal in Staunton, VA.

Why do farmers fence their livestock from ponds, streams and wetlands?  Of the hundreds of farmers I have talked to that have done it these are the top four reasons: 1. They need more water and better water distribution over the farm. 2. To improve herd health and reduce bio-security risks. 3. To eliminate calving […]

Progressive Farmer Magazine Features Valley Farmer, Conservation and CBF

Click on this image to read the full story in Progressive Farmer.

Deborah Huso, Free Lance Writer for the Progressive Farmer Magazine called me back in July.  “I’d like to do a story on stream fencing, the Farm Bill and conservation.  Do you have any farmers in mind that I could interview”, she said.  This was music to my ears. I didn’t have to think twice.  For […]

This is What a Well Functioning Riparian Buffer Looks Like

There are many definitions of riparian buffer.  In this post and the video linked here we offer the elements of a well functioning buffer and show what they look like.  Riparian buffers are one of the most effective Best Management Practices to abate non-point source water pollution.  The word “riparian” comes from Latin and means “adjacent to […]

Well Managed “Open-Space” Should Not Be Taxed

Hugh Hammond Bennett, father of soil conservation in America.

“Well-managed” farmland and other working “open-spaces” should not be taxed when they provide ecosystem services  exceeding the cost of  public services for the land. In many states including Virginia, local governments have a special way of collecting revenue from their constituents that have farmland or “open-space” called “land-use” taxation.  It’s a method of calculating a tax […]

Harpers Ferry – a History Steeped in Irony

View of the mouth of the Shenandoah taken from the bridge over the Potomac River at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

I’m standing in the middle of the footbridge across the Potomac River at Harper’s Ferry looking downstream.   Beneath me flows the nation’s river that at this point in its journey, drained six million acres of land. Just downstream to my right the waters from another two million acres join the Potomac – it’s the Shenandoah […]