Troubled Chesapeake Bay Needs New Protections, Says Enviro Group

A long-running voluntary effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay has been a big flop — that’s the basic assessment announced yesterday by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a nonprofit conservation group. “All the scientific data suggests that the bay is not improving,” said foundation President William C. Baker. The group called for creation of a new governing body with the power to make and enforce rules and levy taxes in six states, including Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, in order to pay for cleanup. One of the most vexing problems plaguing the bay is nitrogen runoff, which comes from livestock operations and wastewater-treatment plants. Due largely to nitrogen pollution, 40 percent of the bay is oxygen-starved this summer, meaning that fish and plants have a hard time surviving; this is the highest percentage of “dead water” in the bay since the foundation began keeping stats 20 years ago.