Restoring the Chesapeake is easy. This is a message we need to send to all of the newly elected and recently re-elected political leaders in the watershed so they can make Bay restoration their legacy.
Our elected officials face myriad challenges as they take office for this new term. Our society needs to address an overwhelming number of issues: terrorism, homeland security, poverty, education, disease, racism, social inequity, family abuse, hunger and others.
There are no simple answers to these challenges. In many cases, there are no clear paths for political leaders to follow to solve these problems. How does an elected leader eliminate racism? How does an elected leader stop the scourge of cancer?
The steps and the tools necessary to meet the major issues facing our society, as well as the world, are unclear. They have not been developed yet.
No amount of money, no amount of public spending will solve some of these societal ills. But that does not mean we should not try.
Cleaning up the Bay is another matter. We know what steps we need to take to restore the Chesapeake.
It is not an insurmountable technical challenge. We need to reduce the nutrient and sediment loading from four major sources by:
- Bringing all sources such as public and private wastewater treatment plants into compliance with enhanced nutrient reduction;
- Installing and implementing state-of-the-art best management practices on all farm land;
- Addressing stormwater runoff in existing developments and urban areas as well as implementing low impact development in new developments; and
- Lowering nitrogen air pollution from all stationary and mobiles sources.
The technical solutions to the Bay cleanup are well-known and well-documented. We also know how much it will cost—about $2.4 billion per year. So who is going to pay for this?
We are! The people who live and breathe in the Bay watershed should pay the cost. We are the ones who are polluting the Chesapeake watershed every day.
If every man, woman and child in the Bay watershed were to pay, on average, the $166 for the use of the environmental services that the environment is providing, we would be able to pass to future generations a cleaner, more pristine Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Our political leaders need to know how close and within our grasp a restored Chesapeake watershed truly is. The technology is here and the amount of investment is known.
I hope you will join me in sending this message to the Chesapeake Executive Council and that they will take this message to heart. A clean Chesapeake could be their legacy.
The Bay cleanup has never been a partisan issue. And now with all six governors, the mayor of the District of Columbia and both chambers of Congress controlled by one party, it is even less so.
Let’s help our political leaders seize this unique opportunity to finish the job and create a Chesapeake region where blue crabs, shad and children can thrive.
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Opportunities
The Susquehanna Sojourn, which takes place July 16–22, will celebrate its 17th year by reaching the Chesapeake Bay for the third time.
Starting from Safe Harbor on July 16, sojourners will arrive in Port Deposit, MD, on July 21 to meet up with the crew of the shallop recreating the voyage up the Bay by Capt. John Smith. Paddlers will follow the shallop and the John Smith 400 festivities to Perryville, MD, and Havre de Grace, MD.
Participants will paddle northeast along the upper edges of the Chesapeake Bay, and cross to Elk Neck State Park—weather permitting—to end the sojourn with a celebratory feast on the Eastern Shore!
For details, contact Deborah Rudy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-737-8622.
Patuxent River Sojourn
The Patuxent River Sojourn, which takes place June 14—19, starts at Governor’s bridge in Prince George’s County, MD, and ends at King’s Landing in Calvert County, MD.
Participants will learn about the Patuxent’s natural resources and history as they paddle and camp.
For information, contact Kate Dowling at mailto:email@example.com or 410-377-6270.
James River Sojourn
The James River Sojourn begins on June 16 at Columbia, VA, and finishes June 23 at Dutch Gap, VA.
For information, contact Leslie Middleton at 804-775-0951 or firstname.lastname@example.org.