The history of efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams are riddled with grand promises, high expectations, and missed deadlines. But the story changed when the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint was introduced in 2010.
Scientists say the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is the Bay's best, and perhaps last, chance for real restoration. The Blueprint is unlike state and federal agreements entered into in the past. This one has teeth. It includes pollution limits, state specific plans to achieve those limits, two-year milestones to evaluate progress, and consequences for failure. The Blueprint also committed to implementation of 60 percent of the practices necessary for Bay restoration by 2017 and finishing the job by 2025.
We are now at the halfway point. And the Blueprint is working. Blue crab and oyster populations are rebounding. Underwater grasses are at record highs. Dead zones are shrinking. By these measures and others, we are making history. But this recovery is fragile.
While there are significant successes to celebrate, there are also troubling trends. Maryland and Virginia are largely on track in their pollution-reduction efforts, but there are major challenges ahead, as they seek to reduce pollution from nonpoint sources such as agriculture and polluted runoff. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania continues to fall short of the mark.
Which is why rumblings of delaying the 2025 deadline are extremely concerning. Now is the time to double-down on our efforts, not kick the can further down the road. If we are to meet our 2025 goal, EPA must take its role seriously. It must hold states accountable for meeting their pollution-reduction commitments on time. And it must provide greater investments in clean water while imposing meaningful consequences to those states that are falling behind, particularly Pennsylvania.
This Week in the Watershed: Rainy Days, Canoe Classic, and Midpoint Madness
- Recent flooding in Frederick and Ellicott City have exposed the need to address stormwater improvements, which directly impact the health of local waterways. (Frederick News Post—MD)
- A recent report found that the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, both currently under construction in Virginia, could pollute groundwater throughout the Commonwealth. (National Resources Defense Council)
- As a result of Virginia not adopting new menhaden harvest limits set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Old Dominion is at risk of completely closing its menhaden fishery. (Bay Journal)
- A report released by CBF found that at the midpoint of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint the health of the Bay is improving, but huge challenges remain. (AP News)
- Environmentalists and watermen came together to discuss the future of oysters in Maryland's Choptank and Little Choptank Rivers. (Bay Journal)
- Students throughout the Keystone State are gathering for the third annual Canoe Classic, taking place this Saturday. (ABC 27—PA)
- Heavy rains are worsening environmental problems at the development on the treasured Fones Cliffs on Virginia's Rappahannock River. (Free Lance Star—VA)
What's Happening Around the Watershed?
- Throughout Virginia: Join us for the 30th annual Clean the Bay Day! One of the largest volunteer efforts in Virginia, roughly 6,000 volunteers each year remove more than 100,000 pounds of harmful debris from Virginia's waterways and shorelines. With sites all across the Commonwealth, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Learn more and register!
- Columbia, PA: High school students from across the Keystone State team up in pairs of two to test their canoeing skills against other high school teams. This year's event will be part of the Riverlands Trail Festival and Lancaster Water Week. In addition to the canoeing competition, there will be educational exhibits, live music, and an awards ceremony. Register here!
- Easton, MD: Come on out to the Chesapeake Book Club to dive into local author Kate Livie's book Chesapeake Oysters: The Bay's Foundation and Future. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required. Register now!
- Annapolis, MD: Join us for a party with a purpose at the 13th annual Bands in the Sand! Enjoy amazing live music, cool drinks, and awesome grilled food on the water's edge. Buy your tickets now!
- Hopewell, VA: Join us for the first of three Gardening for Life Workshops. This workshop will focus on unlocking the secret of soils, with featured speaker Dr. Leonard Githinji, Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialist, Sustainable & Urban Agriculture. Register here!
- Talbot County, MD: Hit the water and join us for a paddle on Harris Creek. Witness the abundant wildlife and beautiful expanses of tidal marsh and learn about the site of the largest oyster restoration project in the United States. Register here!
- Easton, MD: Come on out to the first event in the Clean Water Concert Series featuring the U.S. Navy Band Country Current. All concerts are free and open to the public. Learn more here!
- Hopewell, VA: Join us for the second of three Gardening for Life Workshops. This workshop will focus on gardening in small spaces, learning how to make the most of your space when gardening. Register here!
- Virginia Beach, VA: Kick off the summer right and join us at our summer solstice sunset party. Enjoy a happy hour, live music, and oysters galore with a beautiful view at CBF's Brock Environmental Center. Register here!
- Easton, MD: Come on out to the second event in the Clean Water Concert Series featuring Cantare, music from Central and South America. All concerts are free and open to the public. Learn more here!
- Virginia Beach, VA: Join us to explore the fascinating history and origins of America that happened on and around the Chesapeake Bay as part of the second installment of the Brock Environmental Center Learning Series. Register here!
- Hopewell, VA: Join us for the third of three Gardening for Life Workshops. This workshop will teach you how to create a fruit orchard in your own backyard. Register here!
- Easton, MD: Come on out to the final event in the Clean Water Concert Series featuring the XPDs, playing Motown, R&B, and your favorite pop hits. All concerts are free and open to the public. Learn more here!
Issues in this Post
Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint Bay Grasses Blue Crabs Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint Dead Zones Eastern Oysters Restore Water Quality CBF in Maryland CBF in Virginia Eastern Shore Office Federal Affairs Office Hampton Roads Office Maryland Office, Annapolis Pennsylvania Office Virginia Office, Richmond