Study Finds Reduction in Pollution in Chesapeake Bay - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Study Finds Reduction in Pollution in Chesapeake Bay

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SALISBURY, Md.-  A new report says the states in the Chesapeake Bay's watershed are making progress in reducing pollution, but fall short in preventing runoff from urban, suburban and farming sources.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Choose Clean Water Coalition conducted the study to ensure the Bay states and the District of Columbia are meeting their short-term goals. 

In 2009, President Obama put the federal Environmental Protection Agency in charge of bay restoration, since state-led efforts were unsuccessful. In 2010, the EPA and the Bay states set pollution limits, known as a pollution diet, that would restore water quality in local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake. Each state then developed its own plan to meet those limits. 

According to the report, Maryland and Virginia met its pollution reduction goals. 

Maryland exceeded goals in animal waste management, forest buffers, pollution reduction from septic systems and more. However, the report said Maryland fell short in planting trees outside of buffer zones. 

According to Virginia's report, the state met its goals for fencing cattle out of streams, urban stream restoration and more. The study said the state needs to improve on conservation tillage, stormwater practices and more. 

In Delaware's report, the First State fell short in its nitrogen and phosphorous reduction goals for 2013, but met goals with urban planting, cover crops and wetland restoration.

Jonathan Terry enjoys fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. Terry calls the report's findings a step in the right direction.

"I'm a little surprised. I thought it[the Bay] was only going to get worse," Terry said. " The last time I was in town, 20 years ago, it was pretty bad. I'm glad to see that it [pollution] has reduced a bit, but it could be better."

Jenny Roser said her family enjoys swimming in the Bay. She said everyone plays a part in making the water cleaner. 

"I think we all share in the responsibility to take care of our problem, not just one area of the state, but all areas and several states," Roser said.

Shelly Baird is executive director of the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, a group that aims to protect local waterways and the Bay. She said the group is one of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's partners.  

"It [the Bay] is important to everyone of all ages," Baird said. " You need to have clean water to support fisheries and our recreational opportunities."

"I believe Maryland, especially the Eastern Shore, is so important because of the natural beauty of our waterways," she said. 

The goal is to have practices in place by 2017 to achieve 60 percent of water quality improvements and complete the process by 2025. 

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