Bay Journal

MD, VA lead Bay states in reducing nitrogen, phosphorus

  • By Karl Blankenship on January 01, 2006
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When it comes to nutrient reductions, Maryland and Virginia reign as the champions among the original Bay Program partners, figures show. Measured in pounds, Maryland has achieved the greatest nitrogen reductions, while Virginia has achieved the greatest phosphorus reductions since the mid-1980s.

Of the original four jurisdictions — Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia —only Maryland is more than halfway toward meeting nutrient reduction goals for both nitrogen and phosphorus. (New York, Delaware and West Virginia did not commit to nutrient reduction efforts until after 2000.)

Virginia has achieved more than half of its phosphorus goal, but only about two-fifths of its nitrogen goal, while Pennsylvania has achieved a quarter of its nitrogen goal and two-fifths of its phosphorus goal.

The District of Columbia has achieved more than 70 percent of its nitrogen goal—mainly because of upgrades to its massive Blue Plains wastewater treatment plan. It has smaller phosphorus reductions, largely because it made huge phosphorus cuts in the early 1980s, before Bay nutrient reduction efforts began.

Figures also show that Maryland has spent the most on Bay-related activities.

According to figures in a recent report from the Government Accountability office, Maryland spent $1.86 billion on Bay-related activities (not all related to nutrient reductions) between 1995 and 2004.

During that same period, Pennsylvania spent $892 million on programs that benefited the Bay, while Virginia spent about $752 million and the District of Columbia spent $169 million.

The federal government spent about $1.9 billion over the same period of time. About half of the federal money was in funds that directly supported Bay-related efforts, while the rest was in programs that indirectly supported those efforts—money that helped the Bay, but would have been spent on regional environmental efforts (such as many farm conservation programs) regardless of the Chesapeake restoration program.

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About Karl Blankenship

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and executive director of Chesapeake Media Service. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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