The year 2018 has been one of extremes—both, good and bad. The Chesapeake Bay was recognized for becoming THE model of environmental improvement. At the same time, record breaking storms delivered flooding and pollution.
The international recognition is well deserved. Since CBF's landmark federal litigation in 2009, the Bay has seen significant water quality improvements. There are three fundamental drivers to this progress: superb science, federal laws that require state clean-water and clean-air policies (if enforced), and broadly applied citizen advocacy.
The torrent of pollution from the storms was a test of the Bay's new-found resilience. Despite the flush of nutrients and sediment, the Bay's dead zones did not grow as predicted, and grasses hung on. Scientists are monitoring for possible longer-term harm.
The Bay weathered another onslaught: an attack by the Trump Administration. First, it attempted to defund the historic Chesapeake Bay Program which began in the Reagan Administration. Failing there, it also is trying to roll back a long list of environmental regulations critical to the Bay's health.
As we look to 2019, we know our efforts must intensify to meet all new challenges, from extreme weather to extreme politics. The Bay's improvement is fragile. Climate change will make progress more difficult. So will anti-environmental policies.
We will do everything in our power to maintain and further the Chesapeake Bay's reputation as THE environmental success model, world-wide. Thank you for your continued investment.
—William C. Baker, CBF President & Harry T. Lester, CBF Board of Trustees Chairman