(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Today, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the University of Michigan, and the U.S. Geological Survey released the forecast for the Chesapeake Bay dead zone this summer. They predict a slightly smaller than average dead zone this year, due to reduced rainfall this spring and less nitrogen pollution flowing into the Bay.
In response to the prediction Lisa Feldt, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration, issued this statement.
“A prediction for a dead zone that is “slightly smaller than average” is nothing to cheer. If accurate, we will continue to see harmful algal blooms and underwater dead zones where crabs, fish, oysters, and other marine life can’t survive.
“The good news is that dead zones are shrinking over time, but more must be done to accelerate progress.
“While most jurisdictions are largely on track to meet pollution-reduction goals, Pennsylvania and New York are not even close.
“The Susquehanna River delivers roughly 40 percent of the nitrogen pollution that causes underwater dead zones. To restore the health of the Bay, Pennsylvania and New York must dramatically accelerate efforts to reduce pollution. But those two states’ current plans to achieve the 2025 goal are woefully inadequate. And EPA abdicated its responsibilities under the Clean Water Act by accepting these deficient plans without imposing consequences.
“That is why CBF, and the Attorneys General from Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Delaware, have filed notices of intent to sue EPA. If EPA does not hold Pennsylvania and New York accountable, restoration efforts will fail, and the Bay and its rivers and streams may never be clean.”