Bay Journal

September 1994 - Volume 4 - Number 6

Draft toxics strategy hot spots, promotes prevention

BY the turn of the century, a draft Bay Program toxics reduction strategy would seek sharp - but largely voluntary - reductions in the amounts of harmful chemicals released into the environment, reduced use of pesticides, and cleanups at contaminated "hot spots."

Ultimately, the draft "Basinwide Toxics Reduction and Prevention Strategy" calls for achieving a "toxics free Bay." It defines that as a Bay "without toxic or bioaccumulative impacts caused by chemical contaminants introduced to the system from c ontrollable sources." No time is set for when that goal should be achieved. ...

Virginia moves forward on tributary strategies, monitoring

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality plans to complete draft strategies for its major tributaries in September, assuring that preliminary nutrient reduction plans for all major Chesapeake tributaries - which were agreed to in 1992 - will be completed by the October Executive Council meeting.

"The development of the Commonwealth's strategies is an important priority for this Secretariat, and I intend to be closely involved in the process," said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Becky Norton Dunlop. "We are committed to moving fo rward with the program." ...

Impact of court’s ruling on ‘taking’ case weighted

A recent Supreme Court ruling may not directly impact the Bay Program's efforts to "move upstream" and protect small rivers and streams, but it could make local governments more reluctant to aggressively act to preserve the land along those water ways, some attorneys believe.

The recent decision, which ruled against an Oregon city's attempt to create a streamside public greenway from private property, was hailed by property rights advocates who have argued for years that environmental regulations place unfair burdens on landowners. ...

Congress funds study of sediment trapped by dams

A Congressional conference committee recently approved a bill that would provide $250,000 to develop a management plan for sediment trapped behind the large hydroelectric dams on the Susquehanna River.

The money is the first part of a multi-year project by the Army Corps of Engineers to study issues related to water flow management and water quality in the Susquehanna River, which may ultimately impact the Bay.

"The Bay is actually the heart of a complex, but delicate system," said Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., who sought funding for the study. "The problem of sediment from the Susquehanna illustrates how changes in one part of the system can lead to probl ems in other areas. We need to understand these relationships so we can maintain the vitality of the Bay and other rivers and streams feeding into it." ...

Can a computer curb the need to dredge

MDE is using a GIS developed for the tributary strategies to solve other problems:

Dirt washed off the land and into the Bay can cloud its water, smother bottom-dwelling organisms, and carry with it nutrients and toxic chemicals from the uplands.

All that creates a problem - and not just for the fish and the watermen who make a living off them.

Just ask the Maryland Port Administration.

Each year, it has to dredge about 600,000 cubic yards of sediment out of the Patapsco River. Most of that is thought to originate not from the Port of Baltimore, but from upstream erosion. ...

1994 freshet bring wave of ills to the Bay

One April morning, a young couple was cruising along Barren Island, some 80 miles south from the mouth of the Susquehanna River, when they spotted something bright blue sticking out of the water.

They went for a closer look. Half buried in the sediment was a recycling bin. The bin was from Scranton, Pa., halfway up the Susquehanna River.

"People always ask, 'Does stuff from up there ever get to the lower Bay?'" said Kent Mountford, an ecologist with EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office, who was along on the trip. "You bet it does." ...

Federal agencies commit to restoring Bay ecosystems

An agreement among 25 federal agencies and departments that operate in the Bay watershed commits them to a series of actions - ranging from promoting forest buffers along streams to creating habitat - that will help manage the Chesapeake as a "co hesive ecosystem."

The agreement signed July 14 by senior officials from each agency was in part a response to Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review which called upon federal agencies to promote cross-agency ecosystem management and planning. ...

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