Positive News to the North

Following up on prior post on what it takes to restore nutrient impaired waters, the Chesapeake Bay Program released an update on their improvement progress.  They report:

According to data from the CBP and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads to the Bay were below the long-term average in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, nitrogen loads fell 25 percent, phosphorus loads fell 44 percent and sediment loads fell 59 percent. Below-average loads are considered positive because reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution can improve water quality.

The most recent assessment of water quality—which examines dissolved oxygen, water clarity and chlorophyll a (a measure of algae growth) in the Bay and its tidal waters—makes these improvements clear: between 2013 and 2015, an estimated 37 percent of the tidal Chesapeake met water quality standards. While this is far below the 100 percent attainment needed for clean water and a stable aquatic habitat, it marks an almost 10 percent improvement from the previous assessment period.

So, actions by the Bay states to reduce polluted agricultural and urban runoff and along with nutrient loads from wastewater plants is having a marked effect on improving water quality in the Bay. Implementing actions that solve problems – that’s a model that NC should follow to deal nutrient pollution instead of the delaying tactics which are doing nothing to help clean up our impaired waters.

Positive trends in cutting back nitrogen pollution.
Positive trends in cutting back nitrogen pollution.

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