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.

Agriculture and the Bay: What the Science Shows

(Posted by Ed Hatcher.)

Dear Bay Action Plan Readers,

Welcome to Day 1 of the Bay Action Plan’s month-long focus on Agriculture and the Bay: What the Science Shows.

Kicking off our launch is a video interview with former Maryland state Senator Gerald Winegrad; an academic webinar by Dr. Russ Brinsfield, Director of the Wye Research and Education Center and Executive Director, Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, and a bibliography of resources on the relationship between agriculture and the Bay and clean water generally.

And don’t miss this provocative post by Dr. Howard Ernst, Associate Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy, and author of several books on the Bay.

The Bay Action Plan blog is designed to combine and raise the voices of more than 55 scientists, academics, and senior policymakers and to ensure that their concrete and research-based plan to restore the Bay receives the attention it deserves.

Given that agriculture is indisputably the single largest polluter of the Bay, it should surprise no one that several of the Bay Action Plan recommendations focus on such vital issues as cover crops, confined animal feeding operations, and agricultural runoff.

Our intention is to lay out for policymakers the latest scientific research on the Bay and what some of the most thoughtful and experienced Bay leaders have to say about it.

Efforts to regulate clean water in the Chesapeake Bay are now under attack by the American Farm Bureau, which has sued the EPA to prevent implementation of the agency’s pollution diet plan. It is, of course, the Bureau’s right to sue, demand that policymakers understand the full ramifications of their policies, and make sure the concerns of their constituencies are heard.

What should not be tolerated by anyone, however, are the deliberate distortions of scientific evidence and the efforts by special interests to smear the messenger.

This month’s blog is intended to highlight what the research and facts have to say about agriculture and the Bay. We sincerely encourage policymakers to examine the scientific evidence and include it as part of their considerations.

Former Maryland state Senator Gerald Winegrad discusses how agriculture contributes to bay pollution:

Former Maryland state Sen. Gerald Winegrad discusses agriculture and bay pollution.

(See our entire interview with Sen. Winegrad here.)

And then check out this one-hour webinar on “Reaching Our Nutrient Reduction Allocations,” conducted by Dr. Russell B Brinsfield, and Dr. Ken Staver, both of the University of Maryland Wye Research and Education Center. (Webinar will open in a new window.)

We hope you are enlightened and emboldened by the information you find here. Please leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

One Response to Agriculture and the Bay: What the Science Shows

  1. Excellent website with excellent information, and not a moment too soon! Leaders of the Bay Action Plan, including former Maryland State Senator Gerald Winegrad, Professor Howard Ernst from the US Naval Academy, and many other distinguished authors and specialists, as well as those helping disseminate the Plan, including Ed Hatcher and The Hatcher Group, are to be congratulated on crystal clear, authoritative, and forward-looking analyses and proposals. Certainly this is the path forward that all neighboring states and jurisdictions (not just Maryland, the District, and Virginia, but those bordering on the Susquehanna River, such as Pennsylvania) must follow. Bravo!