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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Tag Archives: Gerald-Winegrad

Weak Regulation of Manure Proposed

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad)
The Maryland Department of Agriculture announced the development of weakened proposed regulations that are well short of the positions advocated by the Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay to address the pollution from millions of tons of chicken and other farm animal manure that is poisoning ground and surface waters.  Some key elements of the proposals don’t even go into effect until 2016, allowing four more years to do just some of what has been required for land application of treated human sludge since 1985!

The reports from the University of Maryland scientists appointed by the Administration were kept from us and the public until just before the announcement of the proposals for regulations. These scientists recommended much more than was incorporated into the regulations and noted that the EPA’s Bay Program found that farm animal manure is responsible for 24 percent of the phosphorus (this is more than all the municipal WWTPs and industrial dischargers) and 15 percent of the nitrogen flowing to and choking the Bay. This does not include the atmospheric contribution of nitrogen from the volatilization of manure and fertilizer, and subsequent atmospheric deposition of the nitrates estimated at 7% of total bay nitrogen. Septic tanks Baywide are somewhere around 3 percent of the nitrogen, near zero of the phosphorus and for Maryland it’s 6 percent of the nitrogen and near zero of the phosphorous.

Please see our letter to the Governor’s Bay Cabinet urging action on new regulations. The new regulations ignore our science-based recommendations to conform chicken manure and other animal waste and nutrients placed on farm fields with the 1985 requirements for treated human sludge including:  prohibition on winter application after November 1, better buffer requirements including a 100′ buffer in the Critical Area, and a prohibition on the application of manure and other nutrients with phosphorus when the soils are already super-saturated with phosphorus. Also rejected was a requirement that there be adequate monitoring and enforcement of the Nutrient Management Regulations, which is currently lacking.

Please see The Sun article on the cozy relationship between Governor O’Malley and Perdue’s General Counsel and the Food and Water watch release on this issue.

It’s hard to win when you are playing against a stacked deck.

Also see the letter from two full-time working farmers on the need for better nutrient management regulations and in support of our positions.

Maryland Clean Water Legislation Awaits Committee Votes

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad)

Maryland’s 2012 General Assembly Session is now more than halfway over, and while elected officials are currently focused on the state’s budget, several pieces of important Chesapeake Bay legislation that would help clean up our waters await committee votes.

Today the Executive Council of the Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay delivered this letter to key legislators in support of the following legislation that is in line with our 25-step “action plan,”  specifically with respect to science-based recommendations to control agricultural pollution, foster clean development, upgrade septic systems, and improve wastewater treatment plants:Continue Reading

Goodlatte Again Attempts to Block Bay Restoration Efforts

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad)

In his continuing efforts to undermine Chesapeake Bay restoration, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has introduced HR 4153 along with Rep. Tim Holden (D-Penn.). The legislation is another attempt to prevent the EPA from implementing the long-awaited, court-ordered Chesapeake Bay restoration plan known as the Chesapeake TMDL (total maximum daily load). The pollution diet under the TMDL was necessitated by the Bay states’ repeated failures over decades to meet agreed upon reductions for nutrient and sediment pollutants so as to clean-up the 90% of the Bay that is so polluted that the Clean Water Act is violated. Continue Reading

Protecting Forests and Increasing Buffers to Restore the Bay and Local Rivers

(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.)

With all the recent focus on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and local WIPs, here’s something that may have flown under the radar of Marylanders following Bay restoration efforts: the Maryland Sustainable Forestry Council is developing a set of legislative proposals to achieve a “No Net Loss” of forests in Maryland, due by December 1, 2011. It seems like we could easily be losing sight of the forest for the trees!

Last week, former Maryland State Senator Gerald Winegrad testified before the Council. As Senator Winegrad notes in his testimony [link], “the Sustainable Forestry Council can greatly assist in efforts to restore the Bay by focusing on nonpoint source pollution as forests and wetlands are the greatest protectors of the Bay from pollutants.”Continue Reading

Protecting the “Most Important Fish in the Sea”

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad.)

Conservationists have been working for seven years to gain conservation measures for menhaden. This species plays an important role in the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem as a filter feeder, as a critical prey species for other fish and for piscivorous (fish-eating) birds. That’s why this keystone species has been called the most important fish in the sea.

After the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 2010 stock assessment found that menhaden are at their lowest point on record, the group is on the brink of adopting historic coast-wide conservation measures for this over-fished species. Yesterday, a group of 30 Chesapeake Bay leaders sent this letter to ASMFC urging restrictions on fishing this critical species.
Continue Reading