The Chesapeake Bay has experienced serious environmental decline starting in the early twentieth century. Problems include large reductions in sea grass, reduced amounts of fish, shellfish, oysters and crabs.
In 1970 many people expressed their environmental concerns about the unsafe water quality that has hurt fish and birds living in and around the Chesapeake Bay. This was also causing a threat to people who wanted to enjoy their recreational time on the Chesapeake Bay.
Marine scientists believe that these changes are related to ecological stress due to increased human activities on the Chesapeake Bay. They think it is from pollution, sewage and fertilizers running in to the bay waters that continues to harm the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Commission predicts that by the year 2020, the population of the bay watershed will increase to 17.4 million. Without additional environment attention on the bay ecosystems, the Commission predict that stress on the natural system will increase dramatically.
Toxic chemicals are entering the Chesapeake Bay and its food chain. These poisonous chemicals come from sources including industrial discharges, oil spills, agricultural runoff, urban runoff, and rainfall. Metals such as cadmium, copper, chromium, lead, nickel, and zinc are polluting the bay. In 1975, the unfortunate release of a large quantity of the pesticide, called Kepone (which is it’s registered name), into the James River in Virginia was one of the worst toxic inputs into the bay’s ecosystem.
Most toxic substances persisted in the Chesapeake Bay environment for many years, and had adverse affects throughout its food chain. This complicates the situation involving releasing of toxins. Only 1 percent of the settling waste that enters the Chesapeake Bay is flushed into the ocean. The remainder settles in the bay’s waters to form bottom sediment. This toxic contamination has been cause of the loss of many species in the bay.
Since 1983, when the Chesapeake Bay Agreement was signed, the federal government and the states of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia pledged to take action to reverse environmental deterioration.
The agreement propelled action. There has been upgrades of sewage treatment plants, controlled urban runoff, controlled manure and fertilizer runoff, reduced soil erosion, stricter discharge permits, and a ban of the use of phosphorous detergents. This agreement outlined the goal of reducing the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the bay by 40 percent from that day forth to protect the bay. The Chesapeake Bay Agreement has been amended in 1987, 1992, and 2000. In 2010 the EPA – The Environmental Protection Agency created what they called a “pollution diet” to continue to set limits as mentioned above, of the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that are allowed to flow into the Bay each year. They continue their clean up plans which is helping protect the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.
When visiting the Chesapeake Bay, please treat it with respect. Do not throw trash or anything else in the water. Be a part of the healing process, so we can enjoy the beautiful Chesapeake for many years.
Please contact or call Gibson’s Lodging of Annapolis before you arrive, and reserve your Bed and Breakfast room, 1-877-330-0057.