Chesapeake Bay, We Have A Problem… Blog 4

The Chesapeake Bay seems to be filled with different problems that rise because of pollution but what is the main problem here? That problem would be agricultural runoff! But the exact issue with runoff is the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that is being dumped into the bay because of fertilizers. Although farmers often use natural sources as fertilizers, “they frequently apply commercial fertilizers as well. The result is soil that is saturated with excess nutrients. Attached to the soil, the nutrients wash toward the bay in overland runoff. They can also dissolve in water that percolates below the surface into streams and rivers flowing to the estuary. Polluted land equals polluted water” (Baker, and Horton). THIS IS A PROBLEM. The bay is being destroyed, along with its marine life that thrives inside of it. But why is agricultural pollution the biggest of the bays worries? The answer is “the runoff of “nutrients,” the nitrogen and phosphorus are prime culprits in the bay’s decline, is several times as great from farmlands as it is from any other source”(Baker, and Horton).  Something more needs to be done.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Chesapeake Bay Program are people who are slowly working to fix this problem. Their ultimate mission is to clean the bay to good health and meet the water quality standards. These foundations and programs are the main supporters of the clean bay and work to prevent runoff in the future. They do all they can to make the issues known to more people than just the locals but it is harder than it seems. They have created web sites and information all over to help spread the word and really affect the person reading enough to do something. What this all really comes down to is that if people aren’t educated about what is happening then the bay will continue to be polluted.

However, there is another side to this argument. This is the famers that cause the pollution. Farmers rely on chemical fertilizers to help their crops grow and to produce more for their business. Yes, they do understand that they are adding to the pollution, but their business is what is seen as most important to them. Because of this they have gained agreement from other farmers and people around who believe crops are more important than the pollution they may be causing. However, some farmers are switching to other methods, but majority have not caught on to that trend. They persuade people by describing the importance of crops and food to our society and without it many markets will crash. Farmers try to gain the sympathy from people making them want to support their business while people completely forget about the pollution they are causing.

Something needs to be done! People need to be aware and farmers need to use different solutions for fertilizer to stop this problem!




Works Cited/ Critical Source Summaries

Baker, William, and Tom Horton. “Runoff and The Chesapeake Bay.” Black and White Photographs. 16.6 n. page. Web. 4 Oct. 2013. <

This journal focuses on the main issue of pollution for the Chesapeake Bay, runoff. They state two types of runoff, agricultural and developmental runoff. Agricultural runoff and caused by farming and chemical fertilizers farmers use. These fertilizers add more nitrogen and phosphorus to the bay than is needed and it is killing the life in the bay.  The developmental runoff adds sediment pieces to the bay from rainwater and drainage from construction areas. Sediments damage fish eggs, kill fish by getting into their lungs, and damages prime habitats in the bay. The journal mentions that things are being done, but not quick enough.

Comis, Don. “New Poultry Litter Applicator Offers Hope for Chesapeake Bay Area.” Agricultural Resource. 58.7 (2010): n. page. Web. 4 Oct. 2013. <

This article discusses something being done about the pollution. A Poultry Litter Applicator has been invented by people from Pennsylvania State and Virginia Tech and is being tested in areas around the Chesapeake Bay area. This applicator helps spread litter throughout the fields without damaging the lands and getting the most use of manure as possible. This is a great invention because then chemical fertilizers will be used less and pollution would decrease.

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