Federal data released Friday, Jan. 23, shows that the amount of pollution flowing from nine major rivers into the Chesapeake Bay in 2013 was below a 25-year average.Bay Woebegone, where half of the years are below average. . . Good news for sure, but hardly proof of progress.
But most of the Bay’s tidal water remains unhealthy, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program.And how much progress is significant?
“We have made significant progress in implementing our nutrient and sediment pollution control practices since the pollution diet, or TMDL, went into effect in 2010,” said Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale.
Between 2011 and 2013, 29 percent of the water quality standards necessary to support underwater plants and animals were achieved, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. That’s a 2 percent drop from before, and is likely a result of weather-related challenges underwater grasses have faced over the last five years, according to the Bay program.Woohoo! A 2 percent drop! And probably caused by the weather! I blame
However, scientists expect the lower pollution levels to have a positive impact on the long-term health of the Bay. The drop in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution loads in 2013 is credited to below-average river flow and pollution-reduction practices implemented on land.
And people wonder why I'm pessimistic about improving conditions in Chesapeake Bay.