In order to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, it will take well planned, continuous efforts.  Past history shows that there has been much talk, but little to no action where the Chesapeake Bay is concerned.  Despite decades of plans and programs aimed at improving its health, the bay has continued to languish (Landers, J.  28). Previous commitments by state and government agencies have come up short. 

In May 2009, the Obama administration released the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (Landers 28).  The executive order established the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake Bay and gave direction to prepare a remediation strategy.  Six different federal agencies (and the six states that form the bay’s watershed) along with the Environmental Protection Agency came up with a strategy.  The chief goal is to achieve major improvements in water quality by 2025. 

In theory, the administration’s plans sound excellent.   Key goals outlined are as follows:

1)  Significantly reduce sediment, nutrients and other chemical contaminants; thereby improving the water quality of the bay

2)  Restore 30,000 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands & enhance the function of 150,000 acres of degraded wetlands as part of the strategy pertaining to fish passage and restoration of wetlands

3) Implement efforts to sustain population of fish and wildlife

4) Reduce environmental effects associated with agriculture by working with farmers and forest owners to put new conservation practices.

 Will the plans work?  Money is the proverbial elephant in the room.  With all its great ambition, the administration’s plan does not project cost or describe how additional funding will come for the programs.  One does not need to have a degree in economics to know that one needs to budget for big ticket items.  In addition to funding, working definitions must be established for the term “success”.  How does one bench mark if the plans are succeeding?  Without these fundamentals, the plans appear to be “pie in the sky”.  Clearly there has to be less day dreaming and more action.      

 

Works Cited

Landers, J.  (2010). Environmental Restoration:  Federal agencies release plan of improving health of Chesapeake Bay.  Civil Engineering, 28-30.

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