Chesapeake Bay Action PlanAfter 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.
The legend of Robin Hood is about a fabled band of brave outlaws in medieval England who took money from the rich under a repressive monarchy and redistributed it to the poor. Sounds like a good thing right? Take something from somebody who has too much and give it instead to somebody who has not enough. What could be wrong with that? Fast forward into reality on the Chesapeake Bay, the 21st century and the lopsided world of “net environmental impacts” where we can take a perfectly good and functioning wetlands site, turn it into a parking lot and then make up for it by restoring a wetlands half way across the state. … Continue Reading
The recent deluges leading to massive stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay may cause great damage to an already seriously impaired system. We previously have discussed in this spot the huge flows of Bay-choking nutrients and sediment from farms each time it rains. Now, we will devote discussions to the pollution flowing from developed lands including huge amounts of nutrients, sediment, and toxic chemicals.
The Chesapeake’s watershed before 1607 was 95 percent forested with huge acreage of intact wetlands. These forests and wetlands absorbed and held nutrients and sediment. The flow of these Bay-killing pollutants was greatly accelerated due to enormous changes in land use when we converted forests and wetlands to agriculture and then, more recently, to development. The Bay region has since lost about 50 percent of its forest cover and 72 percent of its wetlands. No change has been more devastating for the Bay.… Continue Reading
Here is some coverage from our June 30, 2011, action in the Anacostia River protesting the 28th year of not meeting the Clean Water Act deadline. We got some terrific media coverage. Thanks to all who came out! Here’s hoping that we won’t see a 29th year.
That’s the date by which the Clean Water Act promised that America’s waterways would be fishable and swimmable.
It’s 28 years since that deadline came and went. To bring attention to this anniverary, a group of hardy souls plunged into the murky waters of the Anacostia River to protest the continued failure to make good on that promise.
For the last decade I have written, talked, and sometimes even done things to promote clean water in the Chesapeake Bay region and beyond. But one thing I have always refused to do was to participate in that unique Chesapeake Bay tradition known as “the wade-in.”
The practice was made popular by my good friend and trusted ally, former Maryland State Sen. Bernie Fowler, who has conducted his wade-in for more than two decades. As regular as the fish that return to the Bay each spring, on the second Sunday in June, Sen. Fowler and his followers return to the banks of the Patuxent to see how far they can walk in the water before their shoes become obscured by the thick flow of agricultural pollution, mud, and sewage that plague that troubled river. Politicians make speeches, friends are acknowledged for their hard work, and Bernie loses sight of his feet at about 30 inches (never much different than the year before).… Continue Reading
(Posted by Jeanne McCann.)
Local photographer David Joyner interviews Riverkeeper Fred Tutman about his rural roots, growing up on a farm, how he came to be the Patuxent Riverkeeper and the specific pollution issues facing the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay, and his life as an environmental activist.