U.S. Water News Online
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Scientists involved in the Chesapeake Bay
cleanup effort said there are encouraging signs that the massive
effort to restore the bay is beginning to show some results.
``The overall message is we've seen improving trends in the last
few years,'' Steve Preston, Chesapeake Bay Program monitoring
coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey, said.
He said concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the bay
from its tributaries have begun to decline slowly in the Maryland
portion of the bay and have leveled off in Virginia despite pressures
from a growing population in the bay watershed.
Richard Batiuk, associate director for science for the
Environmental Protection Agency's bay program, said reductions in
pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus should continue as the bay
area states improve sewage treatment plants and reduce runoff from
farms and suburban areas.
Bay grass beds have made a significant comeback, and the rockfish
population is booming, Batiuk said.
The upbeat assessment given at a briefing for the news media
contrasts sharply with gloomy assessments of the state of the bay
provided this summer by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. William Baker,
president of the bay area's largest private environmental group, said
at a news conference in August that the bay program is ``getting very
close to becoming a model of failure, not success.''
Baker said in an interview he has not seen any encouraging signs.
The claims made by the government scientists ``seem very odd to me,''
``The last thing we need is the EPA telling the public that things
are getting better and not to worry about it,'' he said.
Batiuk and other scientists at the briefing said partners in the
bay cleanup program have a long way to go to achieve a healthy bay,
but that improvements are being made.
``We are trying to clean up hundreds of years of pollution. We are
actually seeing a system starting to respond,'' Batiuk said.
Asked about Baker's negative assessment of progress in cleaning up
the bay, he said the role of environmental groups is to keep the
pressure on government to carry out its responsibilities to the bay
Preston said it takes a while to see results in something as
complex as the program undertaken by governments in the Chesapeake
Bay watershed to reduce pollution and maintain a healthy bay.
``It's natural that people will get impatient,'' he said.
the U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.