By: Kelsey Garletts
The Chesapeake Bay is a beautiful destination for many tourists from all over the country. From its amazing sunsets to non crowded beaches, the Chesapeake Bay is a relaxing and wonderful place to be. Although the bay may look this way on the outside, the inside is dealing with some very concerning issues. One main and very important source of this pollution is agricultural runoff and more importantly, fertilizers. When this pollution enters the bay it forms algal blooms that are large and block sunlight from entering the bay. This decreases the amount of oxygen that forms and kills the underwater grasses. These areas in the bay have been labeled “dead zones”, where no oxygen forms, and are the locations where fish and shellfish also die and decompose. Aside from blocking oxygen, algal blooms also raise pH level in the waters which spreads and kills more bay life and prospers the growth of parasites. Besides killing bay life, these algae that form also can be toxic and sicken people who ingest the water.
Fertilizer was invented in the 1940’s by farmers to kill bugs and weeds that were thriving on their crops. The fertilizer contained chemical pesticides, nitrogen and phosphorus, that had a better affect than manure did on plants. Back in the 1940’s the farmers and locals did not realize what these fertilizers were doing to the Chesapeake Bay so they were used quote often, quickly polluting the bay. Runoff gets into the bay from groundwater and through rivers and streams that flow into the bay. This means that not only are the local farmers causing pollution, but also farmers from all over.
By addressing my issue and proposing a solution I believe all of my stake holders would benefit. The Chesapeake Bay Program and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation may gain more followers and more workers to help clean the bay. Locals and tourists would have clean waters to swim and relax in without the worry of constant pollution. Also businesses would stay at a growing rate because of the products they will continue to receive from a clean bay. Finally the species in the bay will finally have a home to live in and continue to prosper and grow in the bay.
Things are being done to help clean the bay but by health standards the pollution level in the bay is still in critical condition. In order to make the bay a cleaner and runoff free location different solutions have been suggested. “The five most cost-effective conservation practices include streamside buffers, streamside fencing, nutrient management plans, and continuous no-till, and cover crops. These practices reduce the most amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus per dollar spent” (Chesapeake Bay Foundation). Each of these solutions has different methods in preventing run-off. Something needs to be done to change their practices and clean the Chesapeake Bay back to its healthy state. Without enforcing the solutions suggested before nothing will change and the bay will continue to be polluted. It’s time to educate farmers and make a change in the bay now, before it gets worse and we lose many resources important to us.
Critical Source Summary:
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, . “Farming’s Critical Role to Keep Our Waters Clean.” Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, n.d. Web. 7 Oct 2013. <http://www.cbf.org/how-we-save-the-bay/issues/agriculture>.
This web page discusses the issues farming has with pollution. However, it also brings about another side of this issue and how the farming business is being demised. This foundation mentions solutions and what they are doing to clean the bay. Also they mention how we can help. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is an important one help define my position because they are a nonprofit organization that is doing all they can to save the bay. I can find any information I want about the bay and what runoff is actually doing to the bay. The solutions they list are actual solutions that are being put forth currently to clean the bay free of pollution.