The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 2022 State of the Blueprint shows Maryland and Virginia making good progress, Pennsylvania considerably lagging.
Last week the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) released its annual State of the Blueprint. The report outlines the health of the bay and updates on the pollution reduction progress made by states in the bay watershed. A common theme for several years has been Maryland and Virginia both coming close to meeting their reduction targets and Pennsylvania significantly lagging; this year is no different.
Agriculture accounts for the bulk of the remaining pollution watershed-wide, and no state is on track to reduce it enough. Pennsylvania—given its significantly larger agricultural footprint in the watershed and past under investment in conservation programs—is especially far off track. These issues raise serious concerns about the ability to improve and sustain water quality over the long term.
Maryland remains on track to meet its overall 2025 pollution-reduction commitments. However, there are red flags. The state’s progress relies heavily on technology upgrades at wastewater treatment plants, but operational failures at two of the largest plants jeopardize its gains. Moreover, this one sector alone cannot sustain progress over the long term. Agricultural pollution is declining as more conservation practices are placed on farms, though not fast enough to meet the state’s commitments. And polluted runoff from urban and suburban areas is growing. Maryland must broaden its pollution-reduction strategy to manage these sources, blunt the effects of climate change, and ensure all communities benefit from investments in clean water.
The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is working to reduce pollution in the bay, but we collectively will not meet our 2025 pollution reduction targets at the current pace. Not meeting these goals can spell significant environmental and economic costs for the region. A dirty bay impacts local economies, food supplies, and quality of life.