Chesapeake Bay Health Plans Expand

By Daniela Feldman

With a  goal  of preventing manure and other toxins from contaminating their local waterways in the Shenandoah Valley, Amish farmers from Lancaster County, Pa. have boosted efforts to alter paths of storm water runoff. They are being supported by federal and state environmental officers to clean up a region known for producing dire runoff, according to a Feb. 18 article in USA Today.

Caused by farmers using gross amounts of fertilizer, agriculture runoff, which pushes harmful toxins such as nitrogen and phosphorus into the Chesapeake Bay, is the most dominant pollution source , according to Tom Horton’s Turning the Tide.

Across the Chesapeake estuary, other states also have been promoting awareness of major pollution sources and studying methods to help the Bay’s heath.

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. recently announced efforts to create a Chesapeake Conversation Corps for Maryland students and young adults, according to the Baltimore Sun.  The service team would promote energy conversation and environmental protection. The participants would be trained for environmental jobs and serve as advocates for the environment and the Chesapeake Bay.

This efforts seem to be part of President Obama’s renewed effort at addressing numerous environmental issues, such as climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The Obama administration has also been  focused on the Chesapeake Bay, especially after Obama issued an executive order last May which called on the federal government to enhance protection and cleanup efforts in the Bay’s estuaries.

There is some evidence that Chesapeake Bay restoration is on the mind of many environmental activists, which could aid in Bay restoration. Making the Bay healthy requires support from those who live by the Bay and whose lives are directly connected to the Bay, as well as broader scale efforts.

Restoration efforts have been on the government’s agenda for decades and billions of dollars have been spent, yet the Bay’s health is still subpar.

I wonder if this is the time when things will change, when more people and officials will become active to restore such a valuable and rich ecosystem.

About Us

Bay on the Brink is a multimedia reporting project examining the fate of the Chesapeake Bay. It is produced by fellows at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism as part of News21, a consortium of journalism schools. This is the fellows' blog. The full project site is here: http://chesapeake.news21.com
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A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr