The Department of Defense invested $128 million last year through its participation in the Chesapeake Bay Program’s efforts to restore the Bay.
The department operates 138 installations and annexes in the Bay watershed, covering more that 400,000 acres. In its annual report on the Bay, DoD said that it planted 189 acres with 54,956 trees and restored 9,251 feet of shoreline and streams that feed the Bay.
Both are aimed at slowing or blocking the flow of pollutants such as nitrogen or phosphorus that create low-oxygen dead zones.
Some 232 projects aimed at diverting polluted stormwater run off from 358 acres of parking lots and other impervious surfaces from flowing directly into the Bay and its tributaries.
“Since 1984, DoD has been a committed partner in Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration. said Rear Adm Charles W. Rock, commander of the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic Region.
Rock, the defense department’s lead agent for the Chesapeake Bay Program, a combined effort of federal and state governments as well as nonprofit groups, said DoD personnel kept their focus on Bay restoration despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
On the other hand, there's no evidence the planning they did do was taken seriously.
Indeed, the military bases have played a role, albeit a relatively small one, in the Bays problems, and cleaning up specifically problems caused by military operations is warranted: WaPoo, Military bases near Chesapeake Bay contaminated with ‘forever chemicals,’ new report warns
Nine military bases near the Chesapeake Bay are contaminated with “forever chemicals” from firefighting foams used by the Defense Department, an environmental advocacy group warned this week.
The new report from the Environmental Working Group, citing tens of thousands of pages of records obtained from the Defense Department, said that the biggest risk is that the chemicals might have flowed out of the groundwater at military sites in Maryland and Virginia and into the Chesapeake, contaminating the region’s wildlife — including its famed shellfish — affecting the food chain and possibly sickening people.
Known as PFAS, the group of man-made chemicals has been around since the 1940s and is found in hundreds of everyday products, including pizza boxes, nonstick cookware, stain-repellent fabric and cleaning products. They do not break down in the environment and can slowly accumulate in the human body, which research has shown could be linked to an increased risk of cancer and birth defects, among other ailments.
The chemicals are also present in “aqueous film-forming foam” that the Defense Department first developed in the 1960s to quickly put out jet-fuel fires, during training exercises and in actual blazes.
When asked to comment on the report, a spokesman for the Defense Department offered links to two websites with news releases about the department’s efforts to clean up the chemicals, its outreach and restoration efforts, and how the “national issue” needed “national solutions.”
Beyond that, the spokesman said in an email, “we have nothing further to provide.”
The nine affected sites include Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md., the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., which had the highest concentration of chemicals in its groundwater, at 2.2 million parts per trillion. (The Environmental Protection Agency has said that such chemicals should be at or below 70 parts per trillion in clean drinking water.)
Also on the list was Blossom Point, the Martin State air facility, Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Chesapeake Bay Detachment in Maryland, along with Fort Eustis in Newport News, Va., and Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.
An additional seven military sites may also be affected, the report said, though the Defense Department has not yet done testing to confirm the presence of “forever chemicals” in those places. Those are the Navy recreation center in Solomons, Md.; the Weide Army Heliport in Edgewood, Md.; Naval Training Center Bainbridge in Port Deposit, Md.; Fort Monroe in Virginia; the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach; the Williamsburg Fleet and Industrial Supply Center; and the Craney Island naval fuel depot in Portsmouth, Va.