The Chesapeake Bay Comeback

Scientists say the Chesapeake Bay hasn't been this healthy in more than three decades. It's a testament to federal environmental regulations.
June 17, 2018, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Nicole R Young

"In sharp contrast to the days when the [Chesapeake Bay] was so beleaguered that every meaningful species experienced sharp population declines, officials and scientists from the District, Maryland and Virginia announced Friday that it is in the midst of a full and remarkable recovery," reports Darryl Fears.

Fears surveys the improvements—some regions of the bay are improving quicker than others, before giving credit to a 15-year, $19 billion cleanup plan administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. The plan limits pollution levels in six states and the District of Columbia.

Under the plan, which President Barack Obama mandated in 2010 through an executive order, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, along with the District, agreed to substantially improve wastewater treatment facilities and decrease runoff from farms once responsible for significant amounts of waste reaching the rivers and streams that run into the bay.

The bay's report card now earns a C, with some areas, like water clarity, still earning an F. "But the James River area and the lower stem of the bay closer to the Atlantic both earned grades of at least B-, their highest ever, and shored up the overall score," according to Fears.

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Published on Friday, June 15, 2018 in The Washington Post
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