Chesapeake Bay Bouncing Back From Polluted Past

By on May 6, 2015

The Chesapeake blue crab — which turns reddish orange when cooked — could disappear from the bay within a century if water quality and fishing pressure don’t improve. (Credit: Maryland GovPics/CC BY 2.0)

The Chesapeake Bay is bouncing back after decades of pollution, according to an NBC article. Chesapeake Bay is supplied by a 64,000-square-mile watershed spanning Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Since the 1980s, the bay suffered high nutrient and sediment levels, due to pollution from waste runoff. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency forced the six states and D.C. to clean up their acts. By 2017, 60 percent of pollution control measures must be in place. The rest must be met by 2025.

The bay’s health has improved, thanks to cleanup efforts. Although Chesapeake Bay is recovering, it is too soon to tell for its famed blue crabs. The blue crabs’ recovery has been difficult to predict because of multiple factors. The crab count report and a winter dredge survey will be available this month.

Top image: The Chesapeake blue crab — which turns reddish orange when cooked — could disappear from the bay within a century if water quality and fishing pressure don’t improve. (Credit: Maryland GovPics/CC BY 2.0)

One Comment

  1. Ted Lionel

    May 7, 2015 at 10:09 am

    I fear the statement that the bay is coming back is reckless at this point. Please, prove me wrong.

    From my home on St. Jerome’s Creek, I see all the SAV is gone, as well as the soft crabs and and clams that used to be there. The oysters are dropped to less than 1% of their population, and falling. I used to be able to tong enough for dinner from my dock. I have not seen Menhaden in the creek for 8 years. My neighbor is fighting Vibrio he got from the bay outside the creek. The crab season last year was horrible, with only slight improvement predicted for this year. Legal sized rockfish used to be abundant, but now I find maybe a dozen a season I can harvest. Bluefish are scarce too. The sand just rolls down the beach and fills the channel to the creek since the SAV is gone. I have not caught a fish from the beach in 12 years. The water is too shallow now. Sediment and pollution roll down the Susquehanna River; you can see it from aerial photos. Other than the winter, can’t see the bottom of our shallow creek, unless the water is less than a foot deep.

    The NBC referenced article addresses a small part of the bay’s improvement. It’s not time to celebrate the “…Bay is bouncing back after decades of pollution.”

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