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.

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Category Archives: Leadership

Chickens and the Bay

Chickens and the Bay

Gerald Winegrad’s recent column “Farms and King Chicken Stand in the way of a cleaner Chesapeake Bay” is an alarm bell we should heed (The Capital, June 21). Big agri-business pollutants are unequivocally and on record the biggest source of nutrients and sediment choking the Chesapeake Bay.

Chicken operations produce more than 600 million chickens on the Eastern Shore. Thousands of tons of nutrient-rich raw excrement are dumped on farmland.

Industry shills unabashedly tout limited successes and shift the blame to development and its stormwater flows while corporate giants like Perdue, Mountaire, and Tyson ramp up chicken operations where one farm operation can produce 1.5 million chickens a year. Making matters worse, the giant agri-businesses take the chickens, leaving the manure with the farmers where the cheapest option is usually followed — putting it on the land, where there may already may be enough phosphorus and nitrogen.

The simple solution is avoided: Make the giant chicken corporations take care of the manure in a sound environmental fashion!

The usual corporate rebuttals offered up by industry shills, split hairs over whether their waste streams are a really big problem, or a little itty bitty ones.

They seek to distract us by chastising Winegrad for painting farmers as villains but the same lobby does not hesitate to villainize developers by finger-pointing nitrogen flows from urban stormwater.

Fact: in 2018, farms, (including chicken farms), produced 119 million pounds of nitrogen poisoning our waters while all urban runoff produced 39.7 million pounds. Meaning, factory farms produced three times more nitrogen than urban runoff. Check the facts, Follow the science and not the rhetoric!

Chicken farms and other farms produced 56% more phosphorous than stormwater runoff. Agriculture is far from meeting its EPA mandated nitrogen reductions by 2025 and must reduce them by 30% by 2025 while they expand chicken operations.

Gains touted by the industry are overstated as they use questionable calculations. To save the Bay we simply cannot let the chicken industry dominate Maryland politics.


Patuxent Riverkeeper

Upper Marlboro

Former Md. Governor Says It’s Time to Push Back

(This eighth installment in our series, What’s It Going to Take?, looks at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

In this exclusive interview on the state of the Chesapeake Bay, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening tells the Bay Action Plan that it’s time to broaden the base of citizens willing to speak out on behalf of the Bay:

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‘One Big Dead Zone’

(Posted by Sen. Brian Frosh.)

(This is third in a series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

Whats It Going to Take?

“Unless we are very aggressive in the next few years, we could easily lose the Bay. It could be one big dead zone.” – Maryland State Senator Brian Frosh.

Despite decades of efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, rapid population growth has offset much of the progress. Some people are beginning to lose faith that a restored, healthy Bay is even possible. Sen. Brian Frosh explains in this exclusive Bay Action Play video:

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2012: Changing the Dialogue About Chesapeake Restoration

(This is the first in a series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

(Posted by Bill Dennison)

What's It Going to Take?Our New Year’s resolution for 2012 should be to improve our public dialogue about Chesapeake restoration. Instead of public arguments, recriminations, and debates about the watershed models, we should be talking about innovative approaches to reducing nutrients reaching the Bay. Instead of arguing about how restoring Chesapeake Bay will be too expensive, we should be embracing the new jobs that restoration activities create (see the Chesapeake Bay Foundation report “Debunking the ‘Job Killer’ Myth: How Pollution Limits Encourage Jobs in the Chesapeake Bay Region”). Instead of bemoaning the difference between current conditions and the “good old days,” we should be celebrating the achievements that are being made with respect to realistic, short term targets. Continue Reading

Attacking the Model Is No Favor to Farmers

(Posted by Hank Zygmunt.)

After attending the recent U.S. Agriculture Congressional Chesapeake Bay House hearing I recalled many conversations I had with a number of farmers throughout my career. At workshops, farm visits and town hall meetings, farmers shared concerns about local water quality and their desire to share in the responsibility to restore their local streams, creeks and rivers.

For farmers, saving the Chesapeake Bay is secondary to their concerns about the health of their local waterbodies. And understandably so, because most of them are not directly impacted by the degraded water quality of the Bay even though they are part of the overall process as it relates to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. However, whether located in the Shenandoah Valley, the Eastern Shore or Lancaster County, there is a strong recognition, from all sectors, for the need to address local water quality challenges that are dominated by agricultural production.Continue Reading

New Leadership for Chesapeake Bay Action Plan

We are pleased to announce today the formation of the executive council of the Senior Bay Scientists and Policymakers, almost one year to the day after launch of the Chesapeake Bay Action Plan website.

Composed of leading scientists and policymakers, members of the executive council are all long-time champions of the Chesapeake Bay, and they will lend their substantial talents and expertise to help our group shape important policy decisions. They will also provide direction to help the Senior Bay Scientists and Policymakers strategically focus our collective efforts, and harness the power of the many organizations supporting this work, so we can be most effective.
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