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Are states on track to meet Chesapeake Bay restoration deadline?

  • Scott LaMar

 Scott LaMar / WITF

Airdate: Thursday, October 6, 2022

Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia – the three states that produce 90 percent of the pollution that enters the Chesapeake Bay collectively are not on track to meet the 2025 deadline toward restoration of the Bay. Pennsylvania in particular is not on track to meet its goals of reducing nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into the bay. That’s the conclusion of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 2022 State of the Blueprint report released yesterday.

The report indicates that Pennsylvania is behind in reducing both nitrogen and phosphorus, but is on track for reduction of wastewater.

On today’s Smart Talk, Harry Campbell, Science Policy and Advocacy Director for Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania said there is reason for optimism though,”With the passage of the most recent state budget, back in July, Pennsylvania established something called the Clean Streams Fund, and as part of that, which included $220 million investment in clean streams initiatives across the state of Pennsylvania. As part of it, it created an agricultural cost share program, a program that will help farmers across the state of Pennsylvania, but particularly in the Bay Watershed, design and implement best management practices that keep soils and nutrients on the land instead of in the water. It has been the Achilles heel to Pennsylvania’s effort that we did not have such a plan or such a program across the state of Pennsylvania. We have created that and now we are poised. There’s a lot of momentum to become the bay’s hero.”

That money will be a big boost to farmers who have sometimes struggled to pay for ways to mitigate runoff as Campbell described,”We have over 54,000 family farmers across the state of Pennsylvania, over 30, roughly 32,000 in the Bay Watershed of Pennsylvania alone, which is that middle part of the state. And each and every one of those individual farms have an opportunity to be a conservation hero, a steward of the land, and by providing them the resources, the technical and financial assistance to design and implement these practices, not only are we helping improve our rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay, but also to provide them for economic vitality into the future and sequester carbon to deal with carbon, to deal with the issue of climate change and other factors. So this is an investment in our farms, in our families and in our communities in order to restore not only rivers streams, but the bay, too.”

Campbell stated it’s doubtful the states in the Bay agreement will meet the 2025 deadline but that they should stay committed.


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