Worcester Ranks Fifth In Irene Damage

BERLIN — Verisk Analytics, a leading national risk assessor, this week released a report on the preliminary estimate of insured property damage by county for Hurricane Irene in late August, and somewhat surprisingly, Worcester County was ranked fifth in the country.

The Verisk Catastrophe Index supplies highly detailed insured property loss estimates, by county and line of business, after catastrophes. The Verisk Catastrophe Index estimate for Hurricane Irene was prepared for the District of Columbia and the 13 states and 191 counties within them affected by Irene.

New Jersey, New York and North Carolina were the top three states with sustained insured property damage topping $500 million from Hurricane Irene, with Virginia and Maryland completing the top five. Suffolk County, New York, followed by Dare County, North Carolina, with more than $200 million of insured property damage in each, ranked first and second by insured damage among the 191 counties affected by Hurricane Irene.

Completing the top five worst hit counties from an insured property damage standpoint, with more than $150 million in damages in each, are Nassau County, New York; Monmouth County, New Jersey; and Worcester County. Eight counties in total had estimated insured property damage in excess of $100 million.

Coastal Cleanup A Success

OCEAN CITY — Volunteers picked up approximately 31,000 pounds of trash from beaches and rivers throughout Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey during the 25th annual Coastal Cleanup in September.

The amount collected represented an increase from the estimated 19,000 pounds of trash collected last year, and event organizers believe that could be because extra debris washed ashore during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

The event, co-sponsored by Delmarva Power and area environmental, governmental and business organizations, attracted over 2,700 volunteers at 50 sites. Delmarva Power was the primary corporate sponsor for the 21st consecutive year, providing commemorative T-shirts for participants.

“Judging by the number of volunteers who participated, I think it is evident that Coastal Cleanup continues to be an annual environmental tradition in this area,” said Delmarva Power spokesman Matt Likovich. “We appreciate the volunteers’ time and energy in cleaning up our beaches and rivers.”

Clean Project Launched

ANNAPOLIS — Governor Martin O’Malley last week announced the state is seeking proposals for the purchase of electricity generated from animal waste as part of the “Clean Bay Power” project to promote the use of renewable energy, reduce Maryland’s contribution to agricultural runoff in the Chesapeake Bay, and encourage job creation.

The state’s renewable energy portfolio standard requires that electric suppliers purchase 20 percent of their power from clean energy sources by 2022. Maryland is seeking to purchase electricity from manure-based fuels in an effort to reduce the amount of nutrients, specifically nitrogen and phosphorus, which enter the Chesapeake Bay. These nutrients are partly responsible for the declining health of the Bay.

“It is only through a diverse, renewable fuel mix that we will be able to reach our aggressive goal of generating 20 percent renewable energy by 2022, create jobs through innovation, and protect our precious environment,” said O’Malley. “With projects like ‘Clean Bay Power,’ together, we can work toward a more sustainable future for our children and create jobs in this changing new economy.”

Striped Bass Thriving

BERLIN — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) this week announced figures for the 2011 spawning class of striped bass, which suggest the species is thriving in the Chesapeake.

DNR officials announced on Tuesday the 2011 Young of the Year (YOY) Striped Bass Survey is 34.6, well above the long-term average of 11.9, and exceedingly higher than 2010’s result of 5.9. This year’s survey marks the fourth highest measure of striped bass spawning success in the Chesapeake Bay in the survey’s 58-year history.

“This reinforces our understanding that when conditions are right, the striped bass population is capable of producing robust year classes of young rockfish,” said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell.

During this year’s survey, DNR biologists counted more than 59,000 fish of 47 different species while collecting 4,565 YOY striped bass. Typically, several years of average reproduction are intermixed with the occasional large and small year-classes.

“We are extremely pleased to see this year’s results,” said DNR Biologist Eric Durell. “It is interesting to note that the four largest year classes on record have occurred since the moratorium was lifted in 1990.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.