Steve McCoy is the manager of Sandy Point, which is best known for its beach that looks out onto the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. They haven't had to close the beach at all this year due to a bacteria outbreak in the water, or even issue an advisory for visitors.But when asked to point out other gains in Bay health, all environmentalist could point out was more regulation:
"That advisory basically recommends that visitors not come in contact with the water, or if they do, make sure they clean up as soon as possible," McCoy says.
Closures and advisories typically occur after heavy storms. That's because they bring runoff into the Bay or overflow nearby sewage treatment plants.
"We haven't had any of those significant storms over the last couple of years, so we've been fortunate in that aspect," McCoy says.
But there are other factors making the Bay safer for beach-goers, according to environmental groups. It's the federal government's recent efforts to clean up the Bay, according to Kimberly Williams of Environment Maryland. She says those efforts got a boost last month when 10,000 miles of streams and rivers in Maryland came under protection of the Federal Clean Water Act.Until the Supreme Court takes it away again.
"We can't see a clean, thriving and healthy Chesapeake Bay if we're polluting the waters that run directly into it," Williams says. But Williams adds there needs to be further action. "We are calling on our state officials to protect the Chesapeake Bay by reducing agriculture pollution into the Bay."How about you cut what you eat 50%?
Fishing is down; the striper quotas for both recreational and commercial fishing were reduced about 20%. Bluefish have not really replaced the missing stripers as often happens. The number of croaker this year was pathetic, and the two species of sea trout, Weakfish and Speckled Trout, might as well be absent. And you can't look to shellfish, crabs are down this year for about the 5th consecutive year, and while oyster have shown a mild recovery they are still much lower than historic levels.
If this is better, give me worse.