Friday, May 1, 2015

Can the Bay and Blue Crabs Survive?

    In recent decades, the Chesapeake Bay has been drastically becoming more and more polluted. With the overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorous in the water, fish (and especially blue crab) populations have taken a huge hit. The main contributors to the devastation of the Bay are wastewater treatment plants, chicken manufacturers, and coal-fired power plants.
    In 2010, however, steps were taken to increase the health of the Bay. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Chesapeake Bay Program, all came together to get six states (Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia) and the District of Columbia to save the Bay by reducing pollution in its watershed. Some of the actions required by the EPA are for states to find point and nonpoint sources of pollution that can be altered to lower pollution and evaluate their individual state’s legislation that may not be providing enough enforcement of current restorative actions.
    I think that this article, though not immediate news, is important to get out there right now as blue crab season has just started. It will take time and everyone’s cooperation to get the Bay healthy again and it is important to keep the public informed about the steps being taken so that they too can help in the process. One of the most influential actions being taken in Maryland is the Department of Agriculture’s Phosphorous Initiative that was signed into law in March. This initiative will put harsher restrictions on the amount of phosphorous that farms can put into their soil and try to control the overuse of chicken manure throughout the state.
    As well as just the environmental impacts, Maryland’s Phosphorous Initiative will research and evaluate the economic impact on local farms in the spring of 2015 to further evaluate what other actions need to be taken and if the current ones are effective. Maryland will remain one of the major contributors to the Chesapeake Bay’s pollution and as so we need to be at the forefront of trying to keep the Bay healthy.
--Brittany Miller

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