After decades of effort, the voluntary, collaborative approach to restoring the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay— the largest estuary in the United States—has not worked and, in fact, is failing. A diverse group of 57 senior scientists and policymakers have joined forces to save the Bay. This is our plan.

NEWS & UPDATES FROM BAY ACTION PLAN

Glendening, Scientists: Untreated Manure Poisons Chesapeake Bay

(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.) On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, members of the Senior Scientists & Policymakers for the Chesapeake Bay made their case for reducing pollution from agriculture at a hearing before the Maryland Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening provided a strong statement (PDF) in support of SB…Continue Reading

The Biggest Problem for the Bay: Animal Waste

(Posted by Sen. Gerald Winegrad. This op-ed first appeared in The Baltimore Sun on February 20, 2012.)

Millions of tons of one of the Chesapeake Bay‘s largest sources of pollution continue to be dumped onto farm lands without proper regulation. Farm animals produce 44 million tons of manure annually in the bay watershed, and most of it is collected and disposed of on farmland — or left where it falls.

This ranks the bay region in the top 10 percent in the nation for manure-related nitrogen runoff, and the problem of proper management of this waste is exacerbated by the fact that three highly concentrated animal feeding operation areas contribute more than 90 percent of the manure. The Delmarva Peninsula, one of these three areas, has some of the greatest concentrations of chicken farms in the country.Continue Reading

Manure to Hit the Fan on Maryland SB 594

(Posted by Sen. Gerald Winegrad.)

Everyone knows that human excrement must be sanitarily and environmentally treated before discharge into our waterways or when taken from septic tanks. What most people don’t know is that millions of tons of farm animal excrement are put into the environment totally raw and untreated. Much of the polluting nutrients and bacteria wind up in the Chesapeake Bay’s creeks and streams or in groundwater destroying water quality.

When 13 million people in the Bay watershed flush their toilets, the wastewater flows through miles of pipes and many pumping stations to the nearest treatment plant. These plants must meet stringent federal and state standards for destroying disease-causing organisms and for removing environmentally harmful chemicals and nutrients. The plants must keep comprehensive records and are repeatedly inspected for Clean Water Act compliance. The public has full access to all such records and can even sue should any plant violate its strict permit limits. Continue Reading

Former Md. Governor Says It’s Time to Push Back

(This eighth installment in our series, What’s It Going to Take?, looks at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

In this exclusive interview on the state of the Chesapeake Bay, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening tells the Bay Action Plan that it’s time to broaden the base of citizens willing to speak out on behalf of the Bay:

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Nutrient Trading, Poultry Farms and Planetary Finitude

(Posted by Stuart Clarke)

(This is the seventh in an ongoing series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)
Whats It Going to Take?

The Town Creek Foundation will be spending out our endowment and closing our doors in the next ten years. As we approach our sunset, we are working to blend our concern with achieving tangible progress restoring the Chesapeake Bay with our desire to help catalyze the systemic transformations necessary to make that progress sustainable.

We believe that Maryland’s efforts to restore the Bay have evolved to the point where a special window of opportunity has opened for substantial progress. With the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and the Watershed Implementation Plan process, Maryland has established clear goals, an ambitious timetable, and reasonably robust planning processes. Much work remains to be done to sustain this effort where it is strong and to strengthen it where it is weak, and over the next ten years we will be investing in this work.Continue Reading

‘Don’t Let the Tea Party Set the Agenda’

(This is sixth in an ongoing series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

In this exclusive interview, Maryland state Sen. Paul Pinsky tells the Bay Action Plan that, “We shouldn’t be taking our cue from the Tea Party,” when it comes to cleaning the Chesapeake Bay. “The correct response to them is to ask, ‘What is the right thing to do?’ We shouldn’t allow them to shape the dialogue.”

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Nutrient Trading: Our Concerns

(Posted by Bill Dennison)

Nutrient trading is the buying and selling of nutrient reduction credits that have a monetary value for the reduction of either nitrogen or phosphorus loading to the waterways. The concept of nutrient trading is to unleash free market forces for nutrient reduction strategies, similar to the approach used with carbon trading to address global warming.

Nutrient trading is a relatively new concept in ecosystem restoration that has been initiated for the Chesapeake Bay. Using the new Google analysis tool (‘ngrams’), nutrient trading only appears in the literature around 1990, but has increased rapidly, with a doubling of citations roughly every three years. There is excitement about nutrient trading as a new approach, and this excitement is evident in the various policy statements explaining nutrient trading. Along with this excitement, there is considerable skepticism also evident, and the issue is often emotive.

The Senior Bay Scientists and Policymakers group has reviewed the status of nutrient trading as applied to Chesapeake Bay restoration. We found that there are a variety of different definitions for nutrient trading being used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies, and that there is a lack of data and case studies to support or refute assertions about nutrient trading. The fact that nutrient trading is complicated, emotive and data poor makes this approach one that deserves close scrutiny and scientific rigor. Within the Senior Bay Scientists and Policymakers group, our nutrient trading report is a carefully crafted consensus between fairly intense and polarized viewpoints and it took quite a bit of effort to strike this balance.
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It’s Time to Put Up or Shut Up

(Posted by Chris Trumbauer Anne Arundel County Councilman

(This is fifth in an ongoing series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)
Whats It Going to Take?

If your family is like mine, the struggling economy is making every household economical decision a critical one. I cringed when I got my latest fuel oil bill and turned the thermostat down a couple of degrees to try and lessen the pain of the next bill. My wife and I both own fuel-efficient cars, but we still restrict driving as much as possible to delay filling up our tank as long as we can. Like many families, we are putting off important purchases, hoping to get a little more time out of a pair of shoes or a winter coat.

None of this, however, dampens my strong desire for clean water and healthy air. Pollution is pollution whether it contaminates our environment in a recession, or in an economic boom.
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No More Bay Business As Usual

(Posted by Fred Tutman.)

(This is fourth in an ongoing series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)
Whats It Going to Take?

Who doesn’t want to see our Bay, rivers, or streams restored to health? So it raises the legitimate question of why something coveted by so many, continues to elude us? The irony is that virtually everybody wants clean water until they have to actually sacrifice or take proportional measures in order to get it. Sure, clean water is great as long we can win the next election, make the maximum profit on the next construction job, maintain the waterfront view, get jobs and economic development, and if nobody will get upset.
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‘One Big Dead Zone’

(Posted by Sen. Brian Frosh.)

(This is third in a series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

Whats It Going to Take?

“Unless we are very aggressive in the next few years, we could easily lose the Bay. It could be one big dead zone.” – Maryland State Senator Brian Frosh.

Despite decades of efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, rapid population growth has offset much of the progress. Some people are beginning to lose faith that a restored, healthy Bay is even possible. Sen. Brian Frosh explains in this exclusive Bay Action Play video:

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