Volume 14, Issue 26 ~ June 29 - July 5, 2006

Way Downstream

In Maryland, summer means Bay Bridge back-ups. But drivers don’t have to travel blindly into the congestion magnet. See farther down the road with the Maryland Transportation Authority’s free hotline — 1-877-bayspan — which gives up-to-the-minute recorded updates on Bay Bridge traffic, including delays, wind conditions and other precautionary messages. Dial the year-round service before you head down to the ocean (that’s daniation for Baltimoreans) …

In Annapolis, finally, our state reptile, the diamondback terrapin, gets relief. Maryland Department of Natural Resources has developed a conservation management plan on the recommendations of the Maryland Diamondback Terrapin Task Force Report and the requirements of a new law.

Proposed rules would limit harvested terrapins to four to seven inches. Harvesting season would shrink from nine months to three months, Aug. 1 through Oct. 31. Finally, commercial harvesters must be permitted and file reports.

Emergency regulations will head off the approaching nine-month harvest season, slated to start Aug. 1, while the rules are reviewed. Add your voice to the debate in two ways:

• Public hearing 7pm Monday, July 10, in C-1 conference room, Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis.

• By email until July 17 for the emergency regulation; July 21 to Aug. 21 for permanent regulation: swidman@dnr.state.md.us

Our Creature Feature, from Laguna Beach this week, appeared under a headline that assured we would read what followed: California Pelicans Held On Suspicion of Being Drunk.

Remember Hitchcock’s The Birds? The gulls that pecked at Tippi Hedren supposedly were deranged after eating shellfish tainted with domoic acid. That’s what the poison authorities in California believe was devoured by brown pelicans found dazed in the street on Saturday. One crashed into a windshield and was seriously injured after apparently eating contaminated algae. Three others were undergoing tests at a wildlife center. A public warning was issued to look out for more birds acting drunk and disoriented.

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