Recent conversations have brought to my attention the lack of success with the Blueprint for the Chesapeake Bay so I decided to do some research into it. Known as the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint (CCWB), six states within the Bay watershed agreed and signed onto the Blueprint to reduce nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment runoff into the Chesapeake in efforts to restore the Bay. Those states are New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia
Within the Blueprint, milestones were set for each state to accomplish. I came across reports produced by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC) on interim progress achieved by each state. These reports were derived from limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 under the Clean Water Act. Although there are 6 states, to monitor for progress, my concentration zeroed in on the Delmarva Peninsula including Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Indicators are – the milestones won’t be met for certain “stakeholders”!
Further research into the subject had my head spinning. I often wonder if things are done this way just to confuse people! To sum it up – attempting to sift through all of the related documents, publications, agreements and re-agreements, memorandums of understanding, analysis, legislation, and any other document you can imagine, it is a wonder that anyone knows exactly what is supposed to be done to clean up the Bay.
Agriculture is one of the major contributors to the killing of the Chesapeake Bay and that is a fact. Within the framework of federal and state agreements limits on Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment were established. This relates primarily to agricultural runoff.
“While pollution controls put in place over the last five years have lowered the amount of nutrients and sediment entering the nation’s largest estuary, new data show that agricultural sources have sent more nitrogen and sediment into the Bay since 2007 than previously thought.” Chesapeake Bay News/Chesapeake Bay Program
This troubled me because I have observed local area grain farmers monitoring soil conditions before planting crops and re-monitoring throughout the growing season. Of course I’ve heard a lot of mumbling and grumbling about the excessive paperwork and field work required, however they do what they must. These farmers, in my humble opinion, have been vigilant.
I think it’s safe to say that we all know where the problems stem from! Chicken manure is the number one product of the Bay woes coming from the Eastern Shore. I once heard the descriptions that chicken manure was spread like icing on a cake over the Eastern Shore and one of Maryland’s past Governor’s described the states eastern shore of the Bay as the “shithouse” of the state. What a legacy for us Eastern Shore folks!
Efforts by farmers to try and stem the flow of manure pollution into the Bay have overwhelmed them. There is way more chickens than available land to utilize manure produced from those chickens. Heck, there are more chickens than people – 449,226 people, only 8 percent of Maryland’s population compared to 305,200,000 chickens (2013). The answer to that problem was to establish State programs to assist. Implementing taxes including a tax just to flush the toilet. That was my favorite! All courtesy of taxpayers to clean up a mess that wasn’t created by them and doesn’t belong to them!
With the wild frenzy occurring within the chicken industry to build more chicken house developments, we will never reach the milestones set out in the Blueprint. Period! Delay’s in identifying the problems with more studies, panels, organizations, commissions, advisory boards, or whatever other clever name can be thought of doesn’t solve the problems.
Maybe a little bit of common sense would help. It’s perfectly clear that we already have too many chickens being produced on the Delmarva Peninsula. Why in the world would we allow increased numbers in production of chickens?
The Blueprint for the Chesapeake aims only to restore Bay health not to aim higher than restoration. It’s highly unlikely that it will ever be restored to its original state rather restored to a palatable state where it will be safe for human utilization. We can throw all of the tax dollars we want toward fixing problems created by private industry or we can tell private industry to clean up its own mess!
This folks is part of the REAL cost of cheap chicken!
I’ll be perfectly honest about the Chesapeake Bay being a pet peeve of mine. I don’t believe that any one of us has the right to wantonly destroy a National treasure. It shouldn’t matter who you are or what you have or don’t have. There are NO exceptions. There are consequences to actions and if you are a culprit of destruction to the Bay, you, alone, are responsible for your actions.