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From the Chesapeake Bay Foundation:


Today at 12:15 pm, on the terrace of the Cannon House Building in Washington, D.C., a historic piece of legislation was announced.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation fully supports this legislation.

Because the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams are critically impaired, and because more than 40 percent of the Bay’s pollution can be attributed to agricultural runoff, Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), and Tom Davis (R-VA) introduced the Chesapeake’s Healthy and Environmentally Sound Stewardship of Energy and Agriculture Act of 2007 (CHESSEA). They were joined by several other members of Congress, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), JoAnn Davis (R-VA), Albert Wynn (D-MD), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Frank Wolf (R-VA), James Moran (D-VA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Thelma Drake (R-VA), Todd Russell Platts (R-PA), Chris Carney (D-PA), and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC).


The CHESSEA legislation would be the federal government’s largest single investment in solving the water quality problems that plague the Bay states’ waterways, and will provide critical federal dollars to accelerate implementation of the region’s Tributary Strategies, consistent with the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement’s 2010 goals.

CHESSEA would direct Farm Bill funding toward water quality improvement and farm viability across the region. Specifically, it would support regional agricultural conservation programs by targeting farms in watersheds that have recognized nutrient pollution degradation, agreed upon multi-state commitments to address that pollution, and identified restoration plans and goals.

CHESSEA is a bold idea. Essentially, it brings more money for more farmers in the states whose rivers feed the Bay, cleaner water for all of us, and a fair share of taxpayers’ dollars being spent locally.

The CHESSEA Act:

increases funding for the Chesapeake Bay region from existing Farm Bill programs (including EQIP, CSP, AMA, and others) that support conservation practices on area farms;
provides support for the development of bioenergy and renewable energy systems, particularly in the Bay watershed;
provides Bay state farmers with greater access to “green payments”; and
encourages comprehensive conservation planning by establishing a technical assistance pilot program in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
If passed, CHESSEA would provide the federal funds needed to meet pollution reduction goals from agricultural sources, as stipulated by the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement. With projected matches from states and farmers in the watershed, this should translate into a 65 million pound annual reduction of nitrogen pollution entering the watershed, bringing the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement to 59 percent of the reduction goal.

CBF applauds Representatives Van Hollen, Scott, Gilchrest, Davis and all the other members of Congress mentioned above for proposing this bold and timely legislation.
 

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Thanks for the post Ed. :))
 

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I'm just curious and not looking for a big debate, but what about sewage / wastewater treatment and stormwater runoff. Please, don't get me wrong as agricultural runoff is a good place to start. But isn't wastewater also a major source of nitrogen? Just sounds to me like like to address waste treatment facilities, it would be govt vs. govt. At least some bi-partisianship is addressing a major problem with the bay and kudos to all those involved.:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm just curious and not looking for a big debate, but what about sewage / wastewater treatment and stormwater runoff. Please, don't get me wrong as agricultural runoff is a good place to start. But isn't wastewater also a major source of nitrogen? Just sounds to me like like to address waste treatment facilities, it would be govt vs. govt. At least some bi-partisianship is addressing a major problem with the bay and kudos to all those involved.:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
The best way to eat a whale is one bite at a time.

At this point, I think its easier to deal with this than with sewage. besides, I'd tend to think that 'stormwater runoff' would basically be fertilizer and stuff, wouldn't it?

Ed
 

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Good point Ed. I am just glad to see something being done to address nutrient runoff. And to see dems and reps from all the concerned states involved is awesome. Let's just hope it "stays on course." :yes: :yes:
 

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Refer the the attached web site. ENR stands for enhanced nutrient removal. WWTP are doing something, whether it will be enough or note, only time will tell.
 

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In the thread on the Conservation and Policy board on bay grasses, I just mentioned that we need the political will to take the medicines that are needed to address Bay water quality. This may, I repeat may, be such an opportunity. It sounds good on the surface, but I have some concern that it is just another way to throw money at special interests, in this case farmers, without really enforcing anything in the way of effective controls. I haven't been able to read the proposed bill, but it looks like the plan is to direct some existing Farm Bill funds to farmers in the Bay area in the hopes that they will take advantage of improved technologies which may result in improved water quality at some point. It looks to be the carrot without the stick.

I think farmers have been relatively successful in the political battles to ensure that the stick stays in the background, even though that might not be the most efficient way to achieve environmental gains. Maybe this is one where we need to hold our nose a bit and swallow the medicine.
 

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To those folks who constantly point the finger at agriculture as the source of most pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, please tell me why the Bay was healthier in the 1950's and 1960's when the acreage of land under agriculture was far greater than it is today. Could it be the growth of the population of people in the state, the fact that people who can afford it choose to not live in our cities due to crime, poor schools etc. and the consequent sprawl of residential development across the Bay watershed? In 1950 the population of Maryland was 2,343,000. In 2005 it was 5,600,388. You do the numbers. Anyway you look at it, that's a lot more concrete, asphalt and roof surface area for runoff, a lot more toilet flushes, a lot more dog and cat poop going into the Bay. Residential growth and strip malls have gobbled up some of the state's best farm land. More cars are on the road than ever before and we have more roads than ever. But less farm land. A perfect example is Kent Island in Queen Anne's County.

Don't blame the farmer (or the waterman) for the decline of the Bay. Blame the politicians and businesses that promote growth at any cost. Blame the greedy land speculators. Blame the state policies that make Maryland a haven for illegal immigrants.
 

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Don't blame the farmer (or the waterman) for the decline of the Bay. Blame the politicians and businesses that promote growth at any cost. Blame the greedy land speculators. Blame the state policies that make Maryland a haven for illegal immigrants.
You were doing OK until you got to that quote.
So you are blaming the state of the Bay on politicians, businesses, and illegal immigrants?
Nice... :cool:

I applaud the legislation, and hope it forces agriculture to consider its impact on the Bay, and take measures to correct and reverse the damage..
 

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Sorry Megabyte, but the blame for the state of the Chesapeake Bay and the coastal bays in Worcester County lies squarely in the laps of state and local governments(which for far too long were driven by the mantra that growth is good) and greed driven developers. I'd throw lawyers into the mix too, but I wouldn't want to offend too many people.
 

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USGS data indicate that in the three major tributaries to the Bay (Susquehanna, Potomac, and the James), the average land use is about 69% forested, 26% agricultural, and 2% urban. I know, they don't add to 100%, but there are rounding issues. If we assume (probably) safely,that the forested areas are not major contributors of nutrients, then we see that the amount of agricultural land is about 10 or more times greater than the amount of urban land in these major watersheds. The USGS has also produced a map USGS Chesapeake Bay Activities Features Page of Bay drainage areas yielding nitrogen and the hotspots are in the agricultural areas. I think that steps need to be taken in all of the areas. I think the bill under discussion demonstrates the concern over agricultural impact by directing Farm Bill funds to subsidize the efforts of the farmers in reducing nutrient loads. The current Green Fund bill in Maryland actually proposes taxing development to subsidize the farmers efforts once again. I only would like to see the farmers see a bit more of the stick, along with the carrots.

Illegal immigrants? Why did I even respond to this post?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yep...those hi nitrogen areas in red sure do appear to be rural and agricultural in nature, rather than developed.

That's not to say that other problems and causes don't still exist, but this bill does seem to pinpoint something that is having a significant effect.

Ed
 

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sewage spills

Great first steps taken by our legislators but when will they address the massive sewage spills that took place in past two years?
 

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I'd bet that yield per acre has gone up significantly since 1950 as well. Could it be that massive infusions of nutrients into the fields have contributed to the water decline since the 1950's?

One thing I know is that my local farmer just spread his semi-truck load of fertilizer for the season, and the pellets somehow are on the road. Ready to dissolve and run right into the creek.
 
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