EASTERN SHORE OF MARYLAND UPDATE

From the Desk of Alan Girard Summer 2014

Is Maryland Making the Grade?  

Click here to see our 2013 Milestones analysis.

CBF's and Choose Clean Water Coalition's analysis of the latest milestone goals and progress toward restoring the Bay in each state across the watershed. 

There's nothing like sizzling summer heat to get people thinking about ways to enjoy the Eastern Shore's spectacular rivers and streams.

But how are this region's waterways doing? Is progress being made to make them safe for our kids to swim and play in?

In 2010, the six Bay states and the District of Columbia vowed to meet critical goals to clean up the Bay. The bipartisan federal/state partnership known as the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint was established and the states committed to two-year milestones to ensure transparent progress.

CBF has been working to make sure those commitments are met. Milestone reports we produced jointly with the Choose Clean Water Coalition evaluate the progress being made by the Bay states towards clean water goals.

How is the Eastern Shore doing? For the first time, a special milestone report looks at recent efforts to clean up creeks and rivers right here on the Shore, where water is so closely tied to the health and welfare of the people who live and work in this special place. Roughly one-third of the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that originates in Maryland comes from sources east of the Chesapeake Bay.

The report finds that while some Eastern Shore counties are investing in solutions to restore river and Bay health, others are providing limited or vague information about progress. A few counties reportedly provided no plans for clean-up activities over the next two years, even though Maryland officials provided strong encouragement to do so.

Despite these shortcomings, overall the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is working—pollution is being reduced, Bay grasses are rebounding in some areas, and dead zones are shrinking. But the Eastern Shore report also makes it clear there are danger signs ahead. 

If you care about clean water for your kids to swim and play in, let your local leaders—county and town council members, executives and mayors—know that you want them to act. Tell them to make sure that your community is doing everything it can to commit to reducing pollution, including adopting a local strategy to get it done.

The Blueprint is helping progress be made, but it will take accelerated efforts over the next few years to finish the job. You and your community can be the difference between whether or not local waters are made healthy and safe for children and families all to enjoy.

—Alan Girard
Eastern Shore of Maryland Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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