NPR Profiles Chesapeake Bay Successes, Funding Threat

A feature item on NPR’s All Things Considered featured the Chesapeake Bay – discussing the decline in the Bay’s “dead zone” but the potential for federal budget cutbacks supporting restoration efforts.

From the NPR website:

Dead zones form when the water becomes too concentrated with nitrogen and phosphorus — allowing algal blooms to grow and block out sunlight from reaching beneath the water and causing populations of fish and crabs to plummet.

Then, last summer, scientists recorded no dead zone in the Chesapeake Bay. And wildlife was returning, too. The EPA’s new plan seemed to be working.

Scientists and advocates for the bay say that success is fragile. And it may be even more so now. The Trump administration’s budget proposal calls for eliminating the program’s $73 million in funding.

“I think if we saw the federal government withdraw, you would see the Chesapeake Bay revert to a national disgrace right as it’s becoming a great national source of pride,” Baker says. “Things are going in the right direction, but nature can turn on a dime and I don’t think it’s a scare tactic to say within the next eight years, we could see the last 35 years of effort go down the tubes and start to change direction.”

And that could have implications not only for the future of the bay cleanup, but for any other states hoping to clean up some of the country’s other most polluted waters — from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hear the full article using the NPR audio player:

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties