Make no mistake, the Bay is still a system dangerously out of balance—the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to list the Chesapeake and its tidal tributaries as impaired. Health departments still caution people to stay out of the water for 48 hours after a heavy rain. Fish consumption warnings continue. Human health is at risk. And tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in fishing and related industries alone.
But there is progress. In 2008, Maryland and Virginia set science-based regulations to curtail female crab catch, and this year's crab score leapt by 15 points. Underwater grasses, once devastated by pollution, are doing much better. Dissolved oxygen, buffersd, water clarity, and toxics scores showed measurable progress as well.
But if the Bay is to reach that elusive tipping point we all seek, we will need a near revolution of public outrage and commitment. We must hold government accountable to enforce pollution reduction laws. And we must overcome those forces which argue that the environment is expendable, that it must be sacrificed.
The time for action and stewardship is now.
Excerpt from the President's Messsage, page 2