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: Septic

The Anacostia River Plunge

(Posted by Howard Ernst.)

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

Fertilizer and Waste Are Killing the Chesapeake Bay

(Posted by Tom Fisher.)

For the last 400 years agriculture has been an important component of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Wheat and other grains in the 1700s and 1800s led to widespread clearing of forests, but poor management practices resulted in soil erosion that left a clear signal in the sediments that is still visible in cores retrieved from the bay. The introduction of European soil conservation methods in the 1800s helped stabilize a denuded landscape, and abundant oysters and submerged grasses cleared the waters. Continue Reading

Septic Solution for a Cleaner Chesapeake Bay

Posted by Sen. Brian Frosh.

Some of the best minds—including the diverse group of scientists and policymakers who are signatories of the Chesapeake Bay Action Plan—have devoted decades of study to determine the causes of the Bay’s decline and remedies for its revival. (If you haven’t already, check out the no-nonsense 25-Step Action Plan tab at the top of this page.)

Part of the Plan is to rein in nitrogen that now seeps from septic systems into the Bay and our groundwater.

We’ll take a significant step toward limiting nitrogen if the General Assembly approves a proposal by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to ban future installations of septic systems in most new housing developments throughout the state.
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