Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania have designated June 3-11 as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week to recognize the efforts of the many partners working to improve this valuable environmental and economic resource and national treasure.
Local governments and water utilities across metropolitan Washington have worked for decades to reduce pollutants entering the Bay and improve its water quality and these efforts are making a difference.
The region’s wastewater utilities have made major investments in their treatment plants and systems, resulting in significant reductions in nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) that are discharged to local rivers and the Bay since the 1980s. The potential for harmful algal blooms in the upper Potomac estuary has decreased significantly. And the populations of at least some of the plants and animals that live in this portion of the river, such as submerged aquatic vegetation and American shad, have rebounded.
These award-winning wastewater plants continue to protect human health and restore local water quality, while meeting very strict regulations, operating state-of-the-art facilities, planning for future growth, and finding new and innovative ways to become more sustainable. These efforts made it possible for the region to achieve a major wastewater goal a decade earlier than expected.
Local governments in the area also have to meet some of the strictest requirements for controlling stormwater pollution. As a result, localities are implementing some of the most innovative techniques and best management practices in the Bay watershed and the country. These efforts, like green infrastructure and stream restoration, are well underway and will further help the region achieve its Bay water quality and sustainability goals.
COG members and water and wastewater utilities have invested billions of dollars and resources as leaders in the Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts and are seeing measurable improvements in Bay, Potomac, and Anacostia water quality, while also helping to protect the region’s drinking water sources. There is a clear and direct federal interest in the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries given that the Bay is the nation’s largest estuary, is a $130 billion annual economic driver, is home to approximately 18 million people, and multiple federal agencies provide significant technical support to the Bay restoration effort. Reductions in critical funding for the CBP, or that of the other associated federal agencies, at this tipping point in the Bay’s progress, would risk slowing or reversing the progress and investments made to-date by the Bay states, local governments, and water and wastewater utilities.
Find out more about what you can do in your community to help support the restoration of the Bay and local waterways; get ‘Back to the Bay’ by taking part in a Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week event near you.
MORE: #AreYouBayAware on Twitter