June 16, 2017

Summer on the Chesapeake Bay

Not to be a naysayer, but this summer may not be a good one for the Chesapeake Bay. It may face a larger than normal "dead zone" with less oxygen for its finned and shelled residents. Underwater sea grasses may not be happy either.

Recent progress on the health of the Bay has been promising, but the threatened lack of funding (out of D.C.) for cleaning up the Bay is not the only thing that might compromise the Chesapeake. The heavier than normal rainfall in recent months is washing all sorts of "stuff" into the bay and its tributaries. And that could mean more algal blooms this summer because algae loves nitrogen and "stuff." Most of this enters the Chesapeake from the Susquehanna River because Pennsylvania has less economic interest in the Bay and farmers there continue to allow their cows to wander into streams. Plus other initiatives that Maryland, Delaware and Virginia policy makers and legislators have supported receive less interest in Pennsylvania.

A regional pollution diet is needed. And voluntary goals, without funding, may not be reached.