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Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement

The Chesapeake Bay Program has accomplished a great deal since the signing of the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement in 1983, but there is still much left to be done. Three decades later, Bay Program partners are working to guide the continued evolution of the Bay ecosystem restoration and stewardship effort with the creation of a new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

This new plan for collaboration across the Bay’s political boundaries will clarify our vision, mission and values and establish shared goals and outcomes for the protection, restoration and stewardship of the Bay, its tributaries and the lands that surround them. The agreement is intended to encourage a forward-looking approach to conservation and restoration, focusing on immediate results and recognizing our long-term effort must be sustained by and for future generations.

Current version of the agreement for stakeholder input:

Provide Feedback:

Bay Program partners welcomed stakeholder input on the draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement between January 29 and March 17, 2014. The public comment period is now closed. Comments that were submitted during this period are published below.

Comments, emails and letters that were submitted during the first public comment period (between July 10 and August 15, 2013), as well as the Bay Program decisions made in response to each comment, are summarized in the document below:

Public feedback will be considered by the partnership, and a final agreement will be released at the next meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council, expected to be held this summer.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Feedback:

Comment

Mary Boehm says:
January 29, 2014

The Bay Program must agree to include an outcome for researching toxic contaminants, and reducing their existence in our rivers and streams. I have grown up on the Severn River in Md., and I’m devastated to find out that the fish we have been catching and consuming contain toxic chemicals detrimental to my and my family’s health. The Bay Program should be held accountable with an outcome for toxic contaminants to, at the very least, commit to further research of the impacts and to make sure people know the details of risks associated with local fish consumption.



Comment

Joe Davis says:
January 30, 2014

Why doesn’t this document address groundwater withdrawals in the Southern Bay, which is responsible for at least 50% of the collective impact of sea level rise? While the issue of climate change may be responsible for some of the perceived rise and is still being debated, it is a fact that unchecked development and increased impervious surfaces that prevent groundwater recharge can be specifically addressed.



Comment

Cindy Walsh says:
January 30, 2014

In response to Baltimore Sun article: Hello, MD is a raging corporate state that will not allow lost corporate profits for justice… That is the problem and yet, no environmental group campaigns against these neo-liberals!

One has to ask… the three top concerns for the Bay involving MD policy are the dredging of the Port of Baltimore with the goal of creating an international port that will absolutely fill the bay with invasive species that will kill all of what is in the environmental agreement so far, the push for the natural gas terminal that all know will pollute, and the global corporations that are meat Perdue and Global Agriculture on the Eastern Shore which have chicken waste leeching not only phosphates and nitrogen, but hormones and anti-biotics. Global Ag owns much of the farm land and uses fertilizer with a heavy hand. I won’t even list the Harbor East building on toxic waste. These are the drivers of Chesapeake Bay health and if you notice… all involve global corporations wreaking havoc on our public policy. You will not hear O’Malley/MD Assembly say a peep about that because that would not be ‘business friendly’.

The solution is easy peasy and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t agree… GET RID OF GLOBAL CORPORATIONS IN MD—PERIOD. Yet, all of O’Malley’s and Baltimore Development involves global/national corporations that simply overuse an area to send product overseas for profit… You know, like Chinese environment destroyed by US corporate industrial pollution.

We are watching as Obama’s EPA is the Bush EPA-neo-con and neo-liberals work for corporate wealth and all MD pols are neo-liberals!



Comment

Steven Smith says:
January 30, 2014

A strong program to continue progress on cleaning up the bay is very important to me. My family is from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia and the bay is an important part of my heritage.

There are many things in this plan that I support, but I was disappointed not to see any mention of cleaning up chemical contaminants. This is important for the health of the bay and the health of anyone who eats fish or shellfish from the bay. I would like to see a commitment to reducing chemical contamination of the bay put into the agreement.



Comment

Courtney says:
January 30, 2014

This article about not enforcing the toxins agreement in the counties that surround the bay is devastating. As someone who has swam, gone boating, played on the beaches, and even participated on learning trips of how the bay is changing, it is imperative to keep this agreement to protect the bay and watershed! I’ve laid on the beaches that connect the bay to the Patuxent river and watch large cruise ships, navy boats, and other industry boats and wonder what all they are carrying on the boat under the sea level. We have a great deal of amazing wildlife that is known up and down the Eastern Shore and I would hate to see it all evolve due to our negligence and how companies could influence it as well. It would be tragic to see this portion be dropped and the Old Dominion company get the go ahead and build their liquidation plant to create jobs in Calvert County but to also effect the immediate area of the bay and subsequently the neighboring waterways, drinking water, and the wildlife that calls the watershed their home. I’d hate to think that after all the hard work and much improved conditions of the watershed that has occurred over the last decade or so be undone because boards aren’t looking into what neighboring counties are facing that affect the water and ultimately every other county as well.



Comment

Brenda Carroll says:
January 30, 2014

It is deplorable that eliminating toxins from the Chesapeake Bay is not included in Watershed Agreement. I suggest this be rectified immediately!



Comment

Joel Becker says:
January 30, 2014

The 21st century will be remembered for it’s ecology reform. The sooner we begin, the better for our children and grandchildren. Our large fresh water sources must be remediated of toxic point source emitters. Especially military waste that has been dumped and shot into the water for weapon practice. For instance the large algae bloom of the Potomac River… downstream of a chemical weapons dump. Oh, you didn’t know that? Of course, the military is not in the business of cleaning or even admitting it disposed of the now toxic waste. It’s defense. So how will we meet the military waste challenge?



Comment

Tom Coleman says:
January 30, 2014

Why is there no longer any commitment to reduce or eliminate toxics in the Bay or its watershed? Unforgivable. Why is there no acknowledgement of climate change?



Comment

Matt Shultz says:
January 31, 2014

Commit to continued cleanup of toxic materials in the Chesapeake Bay! You owe it to our kids and our kids’ kids, and those generations to come!



Comment

Dave Schulte says:
January 31, 2014

You’ve halved the 13505 Executive Order goal with respect to oysters, from 20 to 10 tributaries. I think you should stay with 20, and further, some definition of what a tributary actually is should be provided. For example, in Virginia, I am aware that there is a push to consider the Elizabeth River a tributary for restoration, and also the Lafayette River, which is a tributary river of the Elizabeth River, as a tributary for restoration. What they are essentially doing is picking a small, heavily polluted and condemned river and one of its side branches to cover 2 of the 5 tributary rivers for Virginia. If this is how the goal will be implemented, little progress will be made.



Comment

Sara Painter says:
January 31, 2014

Please commit to removing toxins from the Bay.



Comment

K says:
January 31, 2014

Please restore the commitment to keeping toxics out of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s important to state that because otherwise, companies, farms and citizens will take absence of directive as a license to dump and not worry.



Comment

James Blair says:
January 31, 2014

From what I have read this looks like the beginning of a well thought out a comprehensive plan. I have a few comments that are as follows and hopefully if this plan bears fruit in the future you can develop some of the base lines you need.

1. Make some of the rivers and river mouths designated in your oyster restoration plan oyster sanctuaries areas. This will provide seed oysters in the future for the rest of the bay and reduce single cell algae blooms from the river mouth areas which increase oxygen depletion problems and reduce the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation. By making large areas harvest free zones it will also be much easier to mark and enforce and than trying to police selected dispersed areas which has been virtually impossible in the past.

2. Menhaden restoration is also critical to provide a forage base for development and the reproductive health and recruitment of all game and food fish species and for the reduction of single cell algae by these once abundant filter feeders that feed on phyto and zoo plankton.

3. By restoring filter feeders like oyster and menhaden that feed on singled cell aglae many of the associated problems like oxygen depletion, and light penetration needed by SAV’s will take care of themselves. Once Submerged aquatic vegetation has been restored they will work as a sanctuary and nursery area for small fish, crabs, eels, shrimp and other species and help reduce siltation problems.

4. Maryland has increase its budget and taxes by 33% in only 8 years and has failed to be EPA compliant regardless of constant promises and new taxes for environmental purposes like the rain tax.  It is time that our senior politician takes their promises seriously and do something other that talking the talk in order to create new taxes and revenue streams that never get directed to the restoration of the bay, the environment, and our fisheries resource management and development.

Fishing and tourism is worth billions to our state and it takes more than lip service and the siphoning off of our taxes for other programs to get this done.

I applaud this plan, but it is going to take real and substantial resources, People, expertise over a long and sustained period of time to get it done and Maryland has more than enough resources if its priorities actually reflect the talk of the current administration and past administrations.

Yours sincerely,
Jay Blair



Comment

David Graybill says:
January 31, 2014

Traditionally, reducing toxics also has been a commitment. And the Chesapeake Bay Program readily acknowledges toxic contaminants are a major problem in the Bay. “Almost three-quarters of the Chesapeake Bay’s tidal waters are considered impaired by chemical contaminants. These contaminants include pesticides, pharmaceuticals, metals and more, and can harm the health of both humans and wildlife.”

Please put a commitment to reduce toxics back in!

Thanks,
Dave



Comment

Tim Elder says:
February 01, 2014

What about toxic chemicals?



Comment

Jerry O'Connor says:
February 01, 2014

Get the toxic chemicals out of the bay!



Comment

Capt. Monty Hawkins says:
February 02, 2014

Greetings from Downstream,

Our once-blue Mid-Atlantic ocean waters have grown greener & greener since the oyster collapse. Where shell is fine for a put & take fishery; shell & shell mimics have not been useful as substrates for oyster-reef ecosystem restoration. More vertical surface appears crucial.

With green water sometimes extending 60 miles offshore these days, white marlin are now often pushed beyond canyon’s edge in search of clear water in which they can feed. Even bluefish are 4X further out than 35 years ago.

Chesapeake outflows are trapped in an enormous eddy. Because ocean waters are nearly a meter higher on the north side the world’s most powerful current, its evident that the Gulf Stream dams the very weak terminus of the Labrador current as it wanders south and inshore to a finish: Along the shelf waters of the southern Mid-Atlantic Bight flushing is minimized.

Water quality collapse cumulative, your problems are greater than the Chesapeake’s.

Seek to imitate successes in oyster reef restoration - not methods with a multi-decadal history of failure.

You must not lose the fight for water quality. Our marine fisheries & ecosystem are stressed enough.

Regards,
Monty Hawkins



Comment

Rita Varley says:
February 03, 2014

The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure beyond the 6 bordering states. I love to kayak there. While the Blueprint for the newest version of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement deals specifically with reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment to the Bay and its tributaries, I just read that it has eliminated specific reference to toxic industrial chemicals and agricultural run-off (contaminants that include pesticides, pharmaceuticals, metals, etc).  These are very serious pollutions that can harm the health of humans and wildlife and we must do better than the draft agreement states. I hope fervently that you will re-write the agreement to include all of the serious threats to the quality of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.  Thank you for accepting public comments on this very important issue.



Comment

Michael Keene says:
February 03, 2014

The following items have been on my mind with regard to the health of the Bay. I live in Wittman, Maryland which is sandwiched between Eastern Bay and Harris Creek. These are items I have either witnessed or have questions about the practice of. They are:

1. Salting/treatment of county and state roads for snow and ice. These chemicals and salt go directly into the Bay. Do we know the effects these have on the Bay? It cannot be natural or healthy? After recent snows (Jan 2014) a thin layer and an occasional pile of salt/chems have been lying on the shoulders of Rt 33. Could we have a method of “street cleaning/recovering” these salts? Should we be using salts/chems at all and is the practice counter to encouraging a healthy bay?

2. Harris Creek has been deemed an oyster sanctuary by State agencies. Great!  Are we (the agencies) working with the local farmers whose fields border Harris? Are we providing them with the education and alternatives to chemical use on their fields that would marry well with the sanctuary program?

3. Is the use of clam dredges in the Miles River an environmental practice? Obviously, the clams think so because they dredge year after year for more and more clams. But, how is the practice affecting other species and water quality in the long run? Huge clouds of muddy, silty water flowing in the Miles’ tidal stream is alarmingly visible. Is that okay? Seems counter to “clean water acts” to create such a disturbance. Is there a benefit?

4. In the 25 years I have boated/fished on Harris Creek, perhaps, 3 of those years there have been grasses growing so thick that it would stop an outboard motor or catch the keel of a sailboat to a dead stop. These were wonderful summers for the health of the Creek/Bay. What happened to them? Why do some years the grasses grow and some they do not. Is it the chemical use of the farmers in conjunction with the timing of rainfalls? What is it? What can we do to allow the SAV’s to flourish?

Thank you for your consideration on these issues and for being attentive to the various details that sometimes get overlooked.

Regards,
Michael Keene



Comment

Melissa Bailey says:
February 03, 2014

I wish our Bay the best in her future. Thank you for all your efforts, I will do everything I can to help.



Comment

Gregory Moser says:
February 03, 2014

With all of the obvious impacts of existing and future Global Climate Change… an in-depth discussion of impacts and their reduction should be included in this agreement. Otherwise a MAJOR Chesapeake ecosystem driver will be missed.

An in-depth evaluation of toxic and hazardous materials, and their control, must be addressed in the agreement.

Further, a full evaluation of the impacts of increased and sprawling human growth and development needs to be addressed along with a strong plan to address their impacts must be addressed.



Comment

A. Jay Peikin says:
February 04, 2014

This is simply another glorified mission statement. Words, words, words…it’s the bottom line that counts!! We know what has to be done. Why are we not able to implement necessary actions? Too many factions. Too many soft spoken, politically correct, afraid to offend someone, people. We just can’t seem to get out of our own way. I am 78 and have been listening to this stuff for years. I have a waterfront property and have watched the decline of grasses, crabs, oysters and fish, for years. I see no improvement, just words. Do something!!! If I am wrong and have misunderstood what I just read, please correct me. I came to the bay years ago. I wanted to leave something of value to my grandchildren and, instead, am leaving them a bay that is worse than when I came here, years ago.



Comment

Chris Taneyhill says:
February 04, 2014

Toxic contaminants must be addressed is this agreement. The state of the Chesapeake Bay is not determined by just the common, visible pollutants.



Comment

Dennis S. says:
February 04, 2014

Questions asked in the comments:

Toxic discharges are already illegal and municipal and industrial treatment plants have discharge limits on them that are set by the state. It’s probably not necessary to address toxic releases from point sources in this agreement.

Why doesn’t the document address groundwater? Because the Consent Decree is an instrument of the Clean Water Act. The CWA only allows federal jurisdiction to ‘navigable waters.’ Groundwater is not navigable. Septic tank discharges into the ground are not regulated by the CWA.

Finally (and my favorite) injection: climate change is purely political. What exactly can you expect to accomplish by including some climate change provision in the federal consent decree? Will fixing the stormwater runoff be affected within the next 25 years by climate change - no, not likely, and if it did, how? The predictions are all over the map. Will the Bay water rise to the extent that pollution reduction measures applied within the next 25 years be negatively effected - no, not likely, and if it did, how? Will pollution reduction measures adopted by point source discharges be negatively affected by climate change in the near future - no, not likely, and if it did, how? If you can’t answer those questions, it will do no good to include some convoluted climate change language in the agreement.



Comment

Justin Weiser says:
February 05, 2014

It concerns me that toxins are not addressed in the watershed agreement public report that was recently released. While at Christopher Newport University, I have seen evidence that suggests toxins do have significant impacts on aquatic species and this can be carried on to humans. Also, most policies are voluntary. Is there any way that more can be required by gaining support from local and federal regulations? Thanks.



Comment

Margie Taneyhill says:
February 06, 2014

An outcome of the Bay Program should be the reduction of toxic contaminants dumped in the Chesapeake Bay!!

My husband and son both fish in the bay and Severn River.  We are shocked to discover that we are eating fish containing toxic chemicals!  This should be a top priority!!

Thank you!



Comment

icetrout says:
February 06, 2014

How bout addressing the #1 problem facing the Bay & My Maryland in general… Human Overpopulation?



Comment

Carolyn Kulesza says:
February 06, 2014

I am all for maintaining the health of our beautiful Chesapeake Bay and it’s tributaries. I own a cottage with 80 feet on the Potomac River. While boating you can’t help but notice the erosion of shoreline all along the river. My question is why is this allowed to happen? My husband and I this year spent thousands of dollars on a new stone revetment to save our shoreline! Why, why do we not get a tax break for protecting the shoreline!! Maybe tax incentives for homeowners would help owners to protect their shorelines.



Comment

Samuel Owings says:
February 10, 2014

Dear Nick DiPasquale,

Regarding the bay clean up effort there are several serious flaws.

1. The WIP budget of $14.4 billion, where a mere $928 M is allocated to agriculture that according to the CBF contributes 41% of the pollution while septic systems contribute 3% of pollution but are allocated $3.7 billion, these allocations should be switched with ag getting a larger share of resources. 

2. Agriculture, mostly in Maryland, have been subjected to an onslaught of regulation that has had a significant negative impact on the ag industry, while organizations such as NRCS, MDA, Soil Conservation have NOT been open minded or flexible in using all available technology to help farmers control their pollution.

3. The clean up effort has been going on for some 30-40 years and no organization except the Clean Chesapeake Collation has made any mention or effort to address the Susquehanna River and the system of dams and reservoirs that according to the USGS, are for the most part completely silted in and are no longer capturing sediment and pollution like it has for the last 80-100 years when these dams were constructed. A larger focus should be given to these reservoirs in regard to maintenance that would increase their sediment trapping capabilities.

Regards,
Sam Owings
http://www.highimpactenvironmental.org



Comment

David Conlon says:
February 12, 2014

I completely support the changes outlined. The wholesale destruction of menhaden is something that needs more action. It is a valuable part of the bay food chain. There were few crabs and no striper last season.

However, I do not support the intrusion of inspectors into your yard telling you that you can not cut your grass. See Virginian Pilot article on that subject. Most of us are on the same team, and ticking off team players does nothing to help the cause.



Comment

Dave Conlon says:
February 12, 2014

I agree that the elimination of toxins has to be a part of this program. Filter feeders like oysters and menhaden in the tributaries will spread into the bay and clarify the waters. The almost complete lack of striper and blue crabs in the bay this year should be a wake up call.

Let’s stop fighting among ourselves and work to get stuff done.



Comment

Severn Savage says:
February 13, 2014

The Chesapeake is one of the treasures of America. Don’t let it go the way of Delaware Bay or Lake Erie. Elimination of toxins and runoff of all kinds, efforts to clean up the existing waters and instituting policies that cover all the surrounding counties in the Chesapeake watershed are essential, as are efforts at cooperation with Pennsylvania and Virginia on runoff and pollution policies, that they might hopefully do their part. Maryland must take the lead to not only save our Bay, but to set an example for the rest of the country and the world. They must stop kissing corporate ass and regulate industrial and farm polluters.



Comment

Allan Straughan says:
February 13, 2014

The Agreement begins with partnership principles, one of which is to “Operate with transparency in program decisions, policies, actions and progress to strengthen public confidence in our efforts. (Page 4) 

The term “transparency” is seemingly clear, but clearly vague. This reviewer suggests defining exactly what is meant by “transparency,” as political agendas will inevitably distort transparency to achieve desired outcomes.



Comment

Allan Straughan says:
February 13, 2014

On page 5, there is an assertive claim that “Environmentally literate citizens are stewards of the Bay’s healthy watersheds.” 

This sentence does not really fit in context with the last paragraph on page 5 and, worse, it is not necessarily true. It is possible for an “environmentally literate” person to choose to do something some other observer may see as detrimental to the Bay. I suggest deleting the sentence altogether.



Comment

Allan Straughan says:
February 13, 2014

Goal: Reduce pollutants to achieve the water quality necessary to support the
aquatic living resources of the Bay and its tributaries and protect human health.

2017 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP) Outcome: By 2017, have practices and controls
in place that are expected to achieve 60% of the nutrient and sediment pollution load
reductions necessary to achieve applicable water quality standards compared to 2009
levels.

2025 WIP Outcome: By 2025, have all practices and controls installed to achieve the Bay’s
dissolved oxygen, water clarity/submerged aquatic vegetation and chlorophyll a standards
as articulated in the Chesapeake Bay TMDL document.  (Page 8)

My Comment: It is not clear to me how this accomplished the goal. By 2017, we put in place a plan to achieve 60% attainment, but the second goal lacks any specifics except to say that “all practices and controls necessary will be installed.” Suggest more definition to either the date such agreement is to be reached, or agreement to the percent attainment of the goal (the missing 40%) or something that puts teeth into attaining the last 40%.



Comment

Jim says:
February 14, 2014

Why not get to the root of the problem - population growth / human impacts. The subject is addressed somewhat but ineffectively. I would suggest the document recommend a REGULATORY LIMIT of one (1) child per watershed family. That is a simple and certainly effective goal. The Maryland legislature should approve it easily.



Comment

Robert Cox says:
February 18, 2014

This agreement is good for the bay. Please give it your complete support.



Comment

Marc Miller says:
February 18, 2014

I am sorry to say this is another politically correct boondoggle. We have had enough of this shoved down our throats and are tired of paying the price for more BS. The Chesapeake has been and will always be an important resource, but fooling with Mother Nature and the farming community, ie. crops and poultry, is not the way to go. Just be sensible and leave the earth alone.



Comment

Jim Crable says:
February 18, 2014

The removal of environmental toxins should be part of the agreement. Past industrial policies used our rivers/streams and the bay as dumping grounds i.e. dioxin. There are also numerous communities that get their water supplies from our rivers i.e. Washington D.C. from the Potomac, and no water plants currently take out medication residues. Remember, we’re all downstream from someone; even those on the highest hilltops get pollution from rainwater i.e. acid rain and mercury contamination.



Comment

Jeff Minnick says:
February 18, 2014

I love duck and goose hunting in your state but don’t anymore because you jam all the out of state people into a few small areas. I know if you know someone from Maryland you’re good to go but I don’t. You expect everyone north to help clean the bay and don’t let them use it. Take a look at how NJ does it.



Comment

Wendelyn Duke says:
February 19, 2014

I will keep my comment simple: please continue to push with all your might for any progress possible to improve the health of our beautiful natural gem, the Chesapeake Bay. By doing so, there will be a wonderful ripple effect in that the life-blood of the Bay, the waterways that are in the Bay’s watershed, will also benefit. Thank you so much for all you’re doing for all of us!



Comment

Del says:
February 19, 2014

We have three (3) taxes for the bay (flush, bay restoration, and rain tax). I am so sick of the “Tree Hugger” taxes that I’m going to put as much
fertilizer on my lawn as possible and not worry how much goes down the
storm drain. Auto antifreeze, oops.

After this farce the democratic socialists will come up with other taxes.

I used to care about the bay but not anymore!!!



Comment

Kristin G. Cook says:
February 19, 2014

We are a part of the larger ecosystem which includes the Bay. We are only hurting and poisoning ourselves when we allow pollution in the Bay. This is common sense. My heart breaks everytime I think of how hard it is to convince and enforce people to do the right thing by the Bay.



Comment

Outi Denny says:
February 19, 2014

I want to send you a few comments on the agreement that I have not even read. The water quality of the Bay is very important to me since I like kayaking, swimming and boating. I am also a small organic farmer within the Critical Bay area who cannot sell any of my high quality produce because of the excessively zealous Nutrient Management law.

The foundation of organic farming is high humus and organic matter of the soil. Such soil will hold water and nutrients many times better than conventional, synthetic chemical based agricultural soils. Yet the fees associated with tissue sampling, manure analysis and soil analysis can take up to 10% annually out of gross sales of a small farmer. She is already doing a public service in growing organic food, and not making any money doing so.

According to the law, if I sell more than 2500$ worth of produce, then every time I spread my horse manure under my 5 different types of fruit trees, I need an analysis of the manure and the 5 different types of trees. At the same time the big farmer down the street is mono cropping,  spreading Roundup etc that kills soil microbes, depletes organic matter, causes erosion and chelates trace minerals while drawing government subsidies is only required to take one or two soil samples which is a miniscule percentage of his income.

First and foremost you need to address the damage that synthetic chemical based agriculture is doing to our watershed, our air and our health before you go after the small guys. Be realistic, be fair.

Outi Denny
Elkton MD



Comment

George and Frances Alderson says:
February 21, 2014

We heartily support the draft Watershed Agreement, but we wish it took stronger steps to restore the bay and its ecosystems. I (Frances) grew up crabbing and fishing on the bay with my parents and my siblings. We want to see the bay ecosystems restored. Important elements for the Watershed Agreement should include: 

1.  Ban further development in the critical area along the shoreline. We have continued to see housing developments going up on the Chester River where seagrass wetlands existed 5 or 10 years ago. 

2.  Reduce storm runoff pollution under the law enacted by the Maryland General Assembly, and work to get other states to do the same. 

3. Reduce the take of food fish, forage fish, and shellfish as much as necessary to achieve healthy populations that will bring back the abundance of past decades. This has worked with the blue crab and rockfish; it should be done for all depleted fish and shellfish. 

4.  Curb the nutrient pollution from agricultural and home sources, including poultry and livestock farms and the lawns at homes, golf courses and institutions. 

Thank you for taking this valuable step forward in restoring the bay.

Sincerely,
George & Frances Alderson
Catonsville, MD



Comment

Gene Mazzilli says:
February 21, 2014

Dear Sirs and Madams,

With no disrespect but you all must be kidding. How long does it take all of us to clean up the Bay??? This has been going on for years and we are still floundering (no pun intended) around seeking new input and agreements, (talk, talk, talk).   

I have lived in Maryland since 1973 and I continue to hear the same cry from all of you about “The Bay and Cleaning it up”. 

May I say to all concerned, You have taken enough money from the citizens of Maryland and now we are being taxed even more. First the Chesapeake Bay Restoration fee, now the Rain Tax.

Where is all this money going? We should have state of the art municipal waste water plants (and we don’t). Go to any waste water plant and see the fecal matter and debris coming from the affluent and floating into the bay.  We should have clean-out catch systems (catch basins) on the storm water drains and systems (we don’t, we have cups and trash and all sorts of debris floating into the bay all of the time and especially after a rain).

The only area that I see some concern and improvement is down on the Eastern Shore. Even down there, the sewage affluent still clouds the Bay and Coastal Waters of Ocean Pines and Ocean City. 

So enough of this nonsense. Get the sewage systems, storm drains, streams, and rivers cleaned and let’s get moving on it. Enough time and money has been spent (and wasted) and I’m beginning to think that someone isn’t doing their job!!!

I can remember when the Governor voiced his concerns about the Bay years ago (and still does) and has asked the citizens of Maryland to participate in cleaning up the Bay. The Bay Restoration Program (and fee) and the Rain Tax all are supposed to make our Chesapeake so much better. It is just too much of a shame to see that so little is or has been done when so much more could have been accomplished. I’m certain that the Governor is just as appalled as I am and would like to see better results, and channel this money where it will do the most good. 

This is my input. Read it aloud to everyone who will listen and maybe, just maybe, someone will say, Enough is Enough! Let’s get this done for once and for all. 

Thanks for the chance for me to give my input,
Gene Mazzilli
Lutherville, MD



Comment

John Mathwin says:
February 21, 2014

I am in favor of any agreement that helps the Bay recover, but I hope the Watershed Agreement will be strengthened. We have to realize that upstream pollution robs downstream users of a precious resource. Nobody should have the right to pollute rivers and streams. Upstream users have gained wealth by dumping pollution into rivers, making downstream users pay to clean it up or suffer the loss of resources. It’s time for all up streamers to become responsible citizens and ante up. I’m tried of hearing that developers, farmers and municipalities claim that it is too expensive to prevent pollution. It’s not. In the long run it is too expensive NOT to prevent pollution.

Thank you,
John Mathwin



Comment

Philip Anderson says:
February 24, 2014

As a waterfront property owner I am discouraged by the difficult time I had when I needed to put up a storage building but corporations are polluting the Bay on a regular basis causing major problems for the fishes and wildlife depending on the Bay for their existence.



Comment

John Schofield says:
February 25, 2014

I feel that the overall quality of the bay has declined due the over-fishing of menhaden. Menhaden filter the algae out of the water and without the menhaden the oysters choke and can’t do their part to filter the water in the bay. Fertilizer runoff has also hurt the bay. We need to work on increasing the number of menhaden and oysters in the bay.



Comment

Ron Lukens says:
February 27, 2014

Thank you for the opportunity to provide public input to this draft agreement. I am the Senior Fisheries Biologist for Omega Protein Corporation and a member of the Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team. My comments are directed at the following language: “By 2016, develop a strategy for assessing the forage fish base available as food for predatory species in the Chesapeake Bay.” I believe that this is a laudable goal; however, there are a number of complexities that should be considered that will have a significant impact on the outcome of this effort. First, I assume that by “assessing the forage fish base” you mean assessments for abundance or biomass using mathematical models. Several years ago the ASMFC Atlantic Menhaden Technical Committee considered a modeling effort to assess Atlantic menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay (CB). The effort failed, largely because there were not enough data available to result in a reliable outcome. It should be noted that there are considerable data available on Atlantic menhaden in the CB. This means that considerable additional effort to collect data will be needed to conduct reliable stock assessments on species that might get categorized as forage. It also should be noted that the most abundant forgage species in the CB is probably the bay anchovy. Very little data exist for this species, even though it is quite common and generally accepted to be an important component of the CB’s ecology. Finally, I would expect there to be some contention about what species should be included as “forage fish.” In reality, most species of fish and invertebrates are forage for some predators at some point in their life histories. It will be important to establish criteria by which species are included as forage, and such criteria must go beyond the highly abundant schooling species like menhaden and anchovy. I understand that the outcome by 2016 is a strategy for assessing forage fish availability; however, I offer my comments to forewarn that this could result in a complex, expensive, and contentious process. I should also note, there are other complexities that will arise during this process that I have not addressed, such as seasonal and climate-regime variability in both forage and predator species. Thank you again for this opportunity to provide comment to this important draft document.



Comment

Bubby Powley says:
February 28, 2014

Dredge the sediment on the Penn. side of the Conowingo Dam so when the locks are opened during heavy rains, the sediment on that side does not flow over the dam and into the Chesapeake Bay, thus silting our Bay and smoothing our oyster bars. Then open the oyster bars in the upper Bay to powerdredging so the oyster bars can be cleared of the sediment and become productive oyster bars, filtering the Bay and creating oyster bars for watermen to work for years to come.



Comment

Bill Ferris says:
March 03, 2014

As a 31-year agricultural machinery salesman selling tools that have reduced tillage in the bay area from five to one pass and as the founder of Big Spring Watershed Association, I have come to realize that the only way to save the bay is to put real teeth in legislation that forces states and communities to reduce NPK along with designer chemicals.



Comment

Laura says:
March 04, 2014

This is a sound plan, but I think it would be a great idea to educate more than just students on the importance of the Bay. It may be a great idea to put an ad up using Cox about the Bay. I know we have a small 15 second one with cleaning up after your pets and making sure not to pollute. It would work well if we focused on it like an election campaign. Talking but not attacking the importance of taking care of a big interest in our community. The Bay is very important to not just Virginia. That’s just my two cents.



Comment

Mary Picardi says:
March 04, 2014

As a resident of Hampton Roads, Va., I am surprised and troubled by the omission, in this agreement, of a comprehensive evaluation of climate change/sea level rise on the Bay watershed. We must have an urgent call for action on this issue. We are literally drowning here. Our region is #2, behind only New Orleans, with assets at risk from sea level rise/climate change. This includes not only our homes and businesses, but tourism, aquaculture, our huge military presence and defense contractors, and the deep water port of Hampton Roads.

Now is the time to step up to the plate and address this issue head on… with management/adaptation options and funding proposals. This is arguably the preeminent issue of our time, and the most important issue for the sustainability of our Bay watershed.

Mary Picardi, M.S., M.D.
Public Policy Chair,
Lynnhaven River NOW
Virginia Beach, Va. 23451



Comment

Lee Meadows says:
March 04, 2014

In general the document is too broad, with too few specific commitments to have any impact on state actions. We would recommend that the state signatories be committed to a specific % of TMDL funding that they as opposed to city, county and federal levels will fund through 2025.

Thank you,

Lee Meadows
President
Severn River Assocaiton
410-849-3466



Comment

Gina Navarro says:
March 04, 2014

Unfortunately, I noticed there isn’t a mention of toxic chemicals in the draft Agreement. There is a 2010 Restoration Executive Order mandating the Chesapeake Bay Program establish toxic contaminant reduction goals. It’s becoming common public knowledge that chemicals, including pesticides, are linked to inter-sex fish, bee hive deaths; increased rates of asthma, cancer, neurological and developmental impacts; autism; Parkinson’s disease; and other long-term / life-threatening public health outcomes—I trust this was an oversight. Thank you.



Comment

Bob Parkinson says:
March 04, 2014

While fledgling in size, aquaculture will start to play a major role in water quality improvement, fish and crab habitat while providing an economic engine to helping the bay. I did not see any reference to the potential that oyster farming can do for helping the bay.



Comment

Rebecca Kolberg says:
March 04, 2014

Why are we moving backwards instead of forward? Toxic contaminants should be included in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. To exclude toxic contaminants makes a joke of this entire process.

Shame on each and every one of you who has bowed to industry and its highly paid experts, and agreed to sacrifice our precious waterways to toxic polluters!

I can tell you that for the tidal Patapsco, as well as other Bay tributaries that bear the greatest burdens from legacy and ongoing toxic contamination, the TMDLs (and their formulation/enforcement by MDE) will not be sufficient to restore and maintain water quality in a manner that is safe for both aquatic life and human contact.

I object to the fact that the Maryland March 4 “open house” to collect comments on the Draft Agreement is being held in Annapolis, rather than in Baltimore—the area of the state that has the most to lose if the Agreement turns a blind eye to toxic contaminants.

This raises serious concerns about environmental justice. Are MDE/DNR/EPA really willing to let people living in poor, racially diverse neighborhoods live, swim, and fish along toxin-laden waterways like Curtis Creek, Bear Creek, and Back River, while at the same time going the extra mile to keep nutrients out of the rivers that are home to more affluent, predominantly white communities? It is a sad day when the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement is used as a tool to deprive poor people and their children of the clean, toxic-free waterways they and every other American deserve.



Comment

Stuart Stainman says:
March 04, 2014

1.There should be specific goals and outcomes for toxic substances.

2. There should be more interim measurable objectives and timetables between now and 2025, perhaps every 4 or 5 years. 

3.There should be specific goals to provide more technical assistance (NCRS) to advise farmers, and on-ground monitoring of farm nutrient management plans.

4. There should be higher priority to increase oyster population to use natural filtering of polluted waters.



Comment

Claire Sargo says:
March 04, 2014

From the Water Quality group in my Chesapeake Bay class:

The issue of impaired Water Quality by excess amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in the bay should be strongly addressed in order to have clean water and a healthy bay. 

A big factor that contributes to the nutrient pollution is the manure of animals raised on a farm that is not disposed of properly. Farmers should be held more responsible for the manure that the animals they own produce. A potential solution is for the farmers to burn the excess manure, to rid of it so that it cannot enter the water. Another plausible solution is for the manure to be recycled at processing plants and turned into fuels that the farmers can use to power their equipment and machinery. Factory farms shouldn’t combine an abundant amount of animals on one farm because this creates an excess amount of manure.  Animals should be spread onto different properties.



Comment

Claire Sargo says:
March 04, 2014

From the Habitats group in my Chesapeake class:

In past years, the development by humans of the wetlands and forested buffers negatively affected the water quality and discouraged the use of recreational areas by the general public. The efforts towards the Vital Habitat restoration for the wetlands are needed to sustain the health and protection of the Bay. We feel this wetland restoration program created by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is active in adding thousands of acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands, which in part, helps with the water quality of the Bay by keeping sediment in place and controlling all types of pollution. An increased effort to make the water of the Bay clean and suitable is important for the animals and plants of the Chesapeake Bay. Adding more forested buffers along the outskirts of the Bay is going to help filter out sediment pollution and keep the water that flows to the Bay also healthy.
This plan, set to be established by 2025, needs support from many different players. For example, the general public is needed to help fund the efforts and protect the vital habitats as they are made. Local, state, and federal government can help enforce regulations for protection. Other citizens are encouraged to make an effort to keep the wetlands and forested buffers healthy. Learning and understanding the positive effects that wetlands and forested buffers have will be important to getting locals involved with helping fix the health of the Bay. All in all, it is important to continue to pursue regulations and implement plans such as helping the Vital Habitats of the Bay to ensure water quality and recreational areas. The plans purposed by the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement regarding the wetlands and forested buffers are beneficial to the public and the excellence of the Chesapeake Bay.



Comment

Claire Sargo says:
March 04, 2014

From the Fisheries group in my Chesapeake class:

We feel that the portion in the Agreement that speaks of the building up of habitats should be focused on oysters. There would be many benefits for the watermen, the public, and the industries that use oysters. If there were more oysters, then watermen would be more productive and would better contribute to the economy. With watermen harvesting more oysters, the restaurant industry that focuses on oysters will be able to process more oysters for public consumption. Also, oyster prices for consumption will go down which will draw more consumers and will further the economy. As a byproduct of the oyster consumption, the shells can also be processed and used in the construction industry which will further the economy. Oysters also help filter the bay which reduces sediment pollution and decreases water turbidity which benefits other species, especially underwater grasses. As a result, the build up of oyster reefs should be a priority of the Chesapeake Watershed Agreement. The Agreement should specify in what ways oyster reefs should be built up. Some examples could be having research facilities and hatcheries build artificial reefs and produce and then release more oyster spat into the bay.



Comment

Dave Briglio says:
March 04, 2014

It would be good to have a process for changing the status of a stream segment/watershed that has improved its health. This would allow the efforts to change to less frequent and more cursory monitoring, so that efforts can be shifted to more problematic segments/watersheds that need to show more progress. SW managers need to know that there is a finish line for the major efforts; they will recognize that they can’t forget those segments, and allow them to suffer a relapse. De-listing streams that are 303(d) impaired through a formal process would be good, avoiding a future local TMDL - would free up more resources for Bay TMDL efforts.



Comment

Tyler Wakefield says:
March 04, 2014

I think that this is a great initiative. I always enjoy hearing about a cooperative effort between multiple states. One state won’t fix this problem, so it’s nice that other states are involved and multiple views were used to support this effort.



Comment

Chris Walker says:
March 05, 2014

We all want clean water and clean air. I live near the James River in Central Virginia and my family enjoys fishing and kayaking. We need to be good stewards of the land God has granted us. We also need to protect our rights and freedoms our forefathers won for us. Property rights must not be infringed upon, and government regulations should be a last resort.

As someone mentioned in another comment, the cities and towns that have the highest population centers need to complete their repairs to stop discharging waste into the rivers and streams. In agricultural areas, riparian buffers should be installed on a voluntary basis and reasonable incentives should be offered to farmers to install them.

But these ideas I have read about limiting the number of children people are allowed to have and human depopulation, that is crazy talk!

Remember: Clean water, clean air, energy independence, freedom, liberty, justice, peace through strength in military, American sovereignty, simplified tax code, economic prosperity, love and compassion and respect for our neighbor, and equal treatment under the law!



Comment

John B. Reeves says:
March 06, 2014

As a native and long time resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I applaud the width and depth of improvements and plans done/ongoing so far by so many (including all levels of government). Yes, we agree—the Bay is a National Treasure and our high priority.

Subject updated “Agreement” guides our watershed “priority” toward and through the thousands of steps and specifics needed to be done, with good accountability and transparency always prominent ground rules.

Specifics to be done soon get complicated, costly and hitting limits. The Commonwealth of Virginia at top level has some re-charged leaders; our Va. representatives should push some changes/upgrades:

1- Re-word current “opt in or out” for signatories to gain accountability and clearer commitment to the goals and outcomes stated.

2- Designate the “Executive Council” as the body that is empowered to make changes to goals and outcomes.

3- Toxic contaminants are clearly being measured and discovered and are known to be important for human health and health of fisheries; so, specific goals need to address these.

4- Anthropogenic climate change (and related side-effects, like ocean acidification and sea-level rise) should be addressed by specific goals. It’s all strongly supported science and all of the “Academies of Science” (or national equivalent) of the developed world support the main conclusions re: climate changes because of (or mainly) due to rapid ramp-up to man’s green-house gas (GHG) emissions since the Industrial Revolution. The adverse affects of these increasing levels of GHGs will be delayed (beyond my lifetime) but most of the increasing GHGs are cumulative plus long-lasting (maybe ~century for CO2) in our atmosphere.

5- Subject “Agreement” must foster, seek out and catalyze new science and technology and “on the ground” sustainable progress.

As a geeky teenager of the ‘60s I was among the many so favorably impressed by the high goals of Space exploration and application of chemistry/ biochemistry. Recall some of the roadblocks/dangers/unknowns conquered, using science, positive thinking and wide support. Is it too big a jump to consider today’s goals—the timely and sustainable preservation of our largest estuary—a key part of the *only “spaceship” we can live on in this massive Universe—beyond our wit and reach?



Comment

Patrick Torborg says:
March 09, 2014

There are a number of issues with this Draft Agreement, some general and some specific. This Agreement is another timid policy agreement that will likely fail to cause any significant improvement in the condition of the Chesapeake Bay. Many of the most difficult topics were either only lightly brushed or avoided all together. There is no discussion of reducing transportation emission pollution, and only cursory discussion of improving community engagement. This agreement is also an opportunity to correct the absurd qualification of “reducing the input of all controllable sources” of contaminants. Since virtually all contaminants can be traced back to human activities, then all pollution is controllable. The question is do we have the will to exert that control?

On page 4 with the Principles, the last two bullet points are not well represented or omitted from the stated goals and outcomes. The environmental literacy goals and outcomes slightly address engagement, but only with school children. There needs to be a concerted effort to get adults and people from all races, economic status, and backgrounds working on the Bay restoration. A policy that depends on educating the next generation does nothing to correct the negative behaviors of current adults. We can’t afford to wait until the natural cycle of death and birth replaces the bad behavior.

On page 5 Goals & Outcomes, the entire third paragraph needs to be deleted. There can be no language that allows optional participation. The cost and burden of cleaning up the Bay and then maintaining a clean Bay must be shared among all that call the watershed home. In 2004, it was estimated that the Bay provides annual economic benefits ranging from $33 to $60 billion. It is irresponsible to expect some states and their residents to do the work necessary to make these benefits possible, all members should fully participate. If nothing else, work to limit and control the externalities that come from the business and development in our home states.

Goals and Outcomes Comments
Vital Habitats, the Stream Health Outcome is vague. In what way will the stream be improved and how will this be measured? How can the public verify or quantify the value of these improvements? The stated goal of 10% improvement sounds potentially like a goal that is too easy to reach. I understand the desire to set attainable goals, so as to produce a pattern of success, but empty achievements are not helpful.

Land Conservation, you need to add a goal that addresses land use and development in the urban and suburban areas of the watershed. Conservation will not work if we make poor choices in developing land that is not under conservation. This is golden opportunity for local government to step up, have a voice and get involved. Across the watershed, localities need to review their building codes and land use regulations to find ways to limit or reverse the damage done to the Bay and its waters. Key to the success of this will be coordination between neighboring communities to ensure policies are effective and fair. It is under these kinds of policies where we can mitigate the externalities of our built environment and living habits. Efforts to control residential runoff and air pollution from automobile usage will be vital to our success. We can’t assume technology will save us from this issue.  We have to have the fortitude to change how we do things.

Public Access & Environmental Literacy, the goals listed are great but incomplete. While it is important to increase educational efforts, don’t overlook the obvious and ‘easier’ ways to get people involved in Bay restoration. Positive outdoor experiences don’t start with a lesson plan or learning objectives; they start with having a fun out in nature! This is especially true for younger children. Young children are certainly capable of learning about ecosystems and wildlife, but getting them hooked on the outdoors depends more on the number of laughs and smiles they have than the number of eureka moments. Get them to fall in love with the Bay first and they will be much more likely to seek out on their own the educational aspects you are currently emphasizing. 

But don’t limit the outdoor experiences to school children. Get adults active in the watershed, especially adults that might be new to the area or that maybe didn’t grow up participating in outdoor activities. Having a bunch of new public access points don’t help if usage rates don’t also go up with them.



Comment

Joseph Valentine says:
March 10, 2014

I view the health of the Chesapeake as a very important issue and therefore want to comment on the final draft of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement:

1. The most important aspect of the agreement is that it truly represents a commitment on the part of all participants and that all the goals are measurable and succinct. In its current form, many of the current goals are not specific enough to be measurable.

2. Any changes to the agreement should be managed by the Executive Council. The decision-making process for the council must be transparent.

3. The agreement should be modified to include goals specific to toxic contaminants and climate change.

I hope you will modify the agreement to include these changes.

Joseph Valentine
Onancock, Virginia



Comment

Frank DiGialleonardo says:
March 10, 2014

Maryland’s implementation of the agreement in the past has been fairly strong. I think the WIP process at county and municipal level has been a step in the right direction along with storm water and reduced lawn fertilizer legislation.

On the other hand, work on the Sustainable Fisheries leaves much to be desired. Virginia and to only a lesser extent, Maryland, continue to kowtow to commercial interest when it is clear that stocks are being devastated. I don’t have a problem with watermen or industry “harvesting”. I do have a problem with continuing to allow them to PLUNDER our fishery resources. The Menhaden catch that is permitted in Virginia is a travesty that Maryland and the other Bay states should not condone by action or silence.

On oysters, crabs and rockfish, Maryland has shown a willingness to do the right thing, and yet, policies are still woefully inadequate and give far too much consideration to watermen and other commercial lobbyists. Watermen’s contention that oyster dredging promotes growth and restoration is a myth as current science has clearly proven. The state shouldn’t listen to this self-serving argument and should clearly state that it is unfounded.

Maryland has done a commendable job of promoting oyster aquaculture and improving monitoring of poachers and enforcement. It has done a poor job of establishing constructive rules for “demonstration leases”.



Comment

Harry L. Hoch says:
March 10, 2014

As the song says, “A little less talk and a lot more action”. 30 years to develop this plan, darn, no speeding ticket on this conversation. I feel that the world’s largest estuarial system needs overdue TLC, ASAP. 

PLEASE, LETS GET STARTED.

Harry L. Hoch
Evergreen Preserve
Greenwood, Delaware



Comment

Hans de Bruijn says:
March 11, 2014

1) Gross pollutants are missing from this list! (page 8 Water Quality)
Suggested: “Excess amounts of trash, nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the bay…” These are: cigarette butts, plastic bottles, candy wrappers, leaves, Styrofoam cups, plates, clamshells etc. Reasons: The smokers among us drive cars without ashtrays, smoke outside restaurants and offices and their spent butts end up in gutters and eventually in the bay. Businesses increase their bottom line by shifting disposal responsibility to their customers, some of whom let run-off bring their trash to the bay. Growth in tree canopies will drop more leaves and run-off takes them to the bay where decomposition leaches Phosphorous and Nitrogen into the bay.

2) Page 8 just above 2017
Suggested: “Watershed implementation plans should be amended to include interception of gross-pollutants that will not pass 1/4” openings.” This way most of the floating trash and leaf litter will be prevented from reaching the watershed.



Comment

Leslie Wilcox says:
March 11, 2014

Mr. Nicholas DiPasquale
Chair, Chesapeake Bay Program Management Board
410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109
Annapolis, MD 21403
Re: Draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement-Comments from the Maryland Environmental Justice and Environmental Education Community

Dear Mr. DiPasquale and Management Board Members:

Thank you for your commitment to restore the Chesapeake Bay and protect the health of its communities. I understand the current Chesapeake Bay Agreement forges a partnership between Governors and the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the U.S. E.P.A., and other important partners to help restore the Bay. It also sets voluntary goals and outcomes for this partnership. Therefore, the details of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement may have an impact on the health of my community. For this reason, I am submitting comments for the new draft of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement being prepared by your organization. I believe these are extremely important issues that are currently being overlooked. Please consider the urgency of these problems and work to include these environmental issues which are absolutely linked to water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.

Environmental Justice

Goal: The Chesapeake Bay Agreement does an honorable job at laying the ground work for restoring the natural environment in the region. However, it is silent on the conditions of the built and urban environment. Urban blight is a physical and environmental condition often linked to environmental justice issues in urban communities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Prince George’s County, and Washington D.C. It should not be left out of any regional environmental policy. More specifically, the Chesapeake Bay Agreement does not include actions to address illegal dumping, abandoned housing, food deserts, or toxic pollution. The absence of such language is poised to inadvertently help sustain such issues.

Community Engagement Outcome: Expand the Chesapeake Bay Programs’ message beyond the conservation and protection of the natural environment to include the funding of more diverse program areas. Work with EPA Region 3 to increase appropriations to agencies, or programs that deal with environmental justice, toxics, and urban blight. In FY 2013-2014 there was no funding for these issues, including toxics; even though, a significant amount of comments on toxic chemicals were received. Increase outreach and funding for existing urban environmental programs, or to establish new programs that address urban food deserts, abandoned housing, illegal dumping, and community engagement with civic and community leaders. Fund and support these programs through grants with special attention given to minority owned businesses, non-profits, local jurisdictions serving urban communities as well as non-minority groups working on the above issues.

Decision-making Body Outcome: Expand efforts to recruit qualified minority owned non-profits and businesses, and local civic leaders for decision making agencies and boards. These partners should have a stake in environmental justice, food access, and eliminating toxic pollution in urban communities. Have a minimum 10% representation for these communities in agency staff and 20% representation on related boards. To be completed by 2020.

Environmental Education

Environmental education has served as a fun filled, hands-on subject for grade school students around this region. In Maryland and other jurisdictions, this education is now, or will be mandated through environmental literacy requirements for high school graduation. This is a good thing. The focus to increase the number of students participating in meaningful outdoor watershed experiences is also a welcomed. However, the Chesapeake Bay Agreement must go further on this issue. 

Goal: The Chesapeake Bay Agreement must go further to encourage environmental education that prepares students for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. There should be policy and funding to help coordinate grade schools and Colleges and Universities with the intent to provide increased access to environmental programs and scholarships. This policy and funding behavior is especially prudent for communities where employment, career development, and job training is most elusive and where women and other minorities are in high demand for STEM careers.

Funding Outcome: By the year 2017, 50% of colleges and universities providing environmental programs within the Chesapeake Bay will have funding to engage high school students. Such programs should be designed to increase access to Science, Technology, Engineering, Math careers for all. However, they must also have specific and adequate funding to increase access for women and other minorities. Entrance and success in these programs will provide an additional metric for measuring the efficacy of environmental literacy in grade schools.



Comment

Tom Benzing says:
March 11, 2014

Regarding the goal of “adding 300 public access sites”, I believe Virginia should contribute its fair share. A great strategy for accomplishing this goal would be to create incentives for landowners who establish conservation easements to grant public access for the lifetime of the easement. We already have a “recreational use statute” that protects landowners from liability and it’s simply a matter of making the option attractive.



Comment

Tom Benzing says:
March 11, 2014

I support the goal to protect brook trout and increase habitat. One way to increase habitat is to improve fish passage by removing outdated dams such as those historically installed in the name of flood control.



Comment

Cathy Beise says:
March 11, 2014

Save the Bay, please, and renew this agreement.



Comment

Kathryn Bowlin says:
March 12, 2014

I have always believed it was a bad idea to allow folks living near the bay to put turf chemicals with these lawn companies on. We live in Owings, and behind me is a wetland - my next door neighbor can put chemicals on his lawn - they will make their way to the bay.

I do not use chemicals for termites that go into the ground - I pay out of my own pocket for Sentricon system. $300 per year. I get no tax help for keeping my little part of the world a better place.

For what it is worth,
Kathryn



Comment

Laurie Long says:
March 12, 2014

Please keep eliminating the toxins in the Chesapeake Bay a priority. I grew up swimming, skiing, fishing, crabbing, boating & just enjoying the Bay & its beauty. I want my grandchildren & their grandchildren to do the same. We never had days where we went to swim & there were signs pollution unsafe to swim today. Now that is not uncommon. We need the Chesapeake Bay & we need it clean. I now enjoy photographing the Chesapeake Bay—the beauty at sunrise & sunset & its wildlife. I hope that I can continue. Last summer I watched a family of ducks & horseshoe crabs under the Eastport bridge in slimy water with a shore full of trash, bottles, even a baby shoe & all kinds of gunk in the water. So much good has been done thus far please continue. The osprey have made a remarkable comeback with the help of the CBF & others & much more. We must continue to get the toxins out of the Bay. We need to continue & make even stronger our program to clean up the Bay.



Comment

Bicky Redman says:
March 13, 2014

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment regarding the draft watershed agreement. My comments are as follows:

Under Wetlands Outcomes, the goal is to create or re-establish 85,000 acres of wetlands, an admirable goal. We may be closer than we think in some areas and I will explain. If you analyze the National Wetlands Inventory, for example for Adams County, Pennsylvania you will note primarily bodies of water such as lake and ponds. What is missing from this inventory of Adams County is groundwater supported wetlands, swampy areas and delineated wetlands. How can we document these existing wetlands? Looking specifically at delineated wetlands, many are recorded on property deed descriptions but have not been added to a wetlands data layer; could the Partnership provide the necessary resources to create this data layer?

Under the Protected Lands Outcome, there is a goal to protect 695,000 acres of forest land, another admirable goal. Again, using Adams County and Pennsylvania as an example, I must point out that forest land preservation efforts are hampered by the lack of a viable state level forest land preservation funding program. Pennsylvania has a nationally acclaimed agricultural lands preservation program that provides matching funds to counties that invest in the preservation of working farms, however, no similar state program exists for working forest lands that does not contain a requirement for public access. Just to note, that the preservation program for working farms does not include a public access provision. If a non-public access working forest land matching fund program could be established through Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources there is already an existing model in USDA’s Forest Legacy Program that could be adapted for such a state funded program. This could be looked at by all the Partners as a model and perhaps USDA could target block grants for each state.

Bicky Redman, Project Coordinator
Adams County Office of Planning & Development
Gettysburg, PA 17325



Comment

WR KRAUS says:
March 14, 2014

As a resident who lives close to the bay, I enjoy the benefits of our beautiful bay. I can also readily understand why people would want to have that same access, and I encourage it. Such access, however, must come with responsible management. That means properly balancing the rights of the residents with those of the guests. I think this distinction (residents versus guests) is an important one. As residents, we have an obligation to be hospitable. As guests, the public has an obligation to be respectful of those who live in the area they are visiting. It is the job of the county to balance and enforce the rights of both. 

The work done at Triton Beach has been a good example of that effort. Proper facilities and parking have been mapped out and put into place and on the whole it has worked to everyone’s benefit. When there has been a problem, the county has been quick to address it. Such progress takes time and resources—resources the county has in limited supply. Therefore, I support the plan that proposed 300 access points by 2025, and also the comments that encourage full engagement of the local populace to ensure that opening access is appropriate and ensures to the benefit of all—not at the expense of one group over another.

Thank you,

WR KRAUS
Edgewater, MD



Comment

DDoyle says:
March 14, 2014

I would like to urge the Watershed Agreement to reflect on the very real need for more public access to the Chesapeake. It is a shameful condition when the biggest hindrance to enjoying the Bay is public access to Bay waters - everything is either private or owned by the state and off-limits. The number of public ramps is especially shameful, particularly in Anne Arundel County when there is not yet one operation boat ramp operated by the county - and the county is 400 years old. Does that make sense?  Open up the Chesapeake - and soon !!!



Comment

Mike Lofton says:
March 14, 2014

The Anne Arundel Public Water Access Committee is a citizens’ initiative to dramatically improve public access to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in Anne Arundel County. Membership in the committee includes fishermen, power-boaters, sailors, paddlers, board & wind sailors, business owners, riverkeepers & more. Many of the members represent groups with hundreds and sometimes thousands of members.

Anne Arundel County like most of the Bay has very limited public access. It is a county with over 550 miles of shoreline and only one public beach (which frequently fills by mid-morning on summer weekends) and two public boat ramps. Our County government doesn’t provide any public ramps or beaches!

We are eager to support the Agreement’s goal of increasing public access. However, we find it painfully weak on details. It simply restates the National Park Service goal of 300 new access points by 2025.

We recommend the following improvements:

• Re examine the 300 goal target. Based on a current inventory of almost 1200 sites, an increase of 300 over a 15 year period (a 25% increase) doesn’t seem particularly ambitious.

• Establish specific individual partner goals and implementation plans.

• Actively engage local governments. They often own/control substantial inventories of potential access points.

• Require recipients of State & Federal aid to submit robust access plans with aid applications. Actively monitor & publicly report on progress.

• Actively engage local user groups (like the Anne Arundel Public Water Access Committee) in the process.

• An effective plan has timetables, identifies & commits resources, designates responsible parties, establishes performance measures, & institutes a transparent reporting process. 

Mike Lofton, Chair
Anne Arundel Public Water Access Committee



Comment

Douglas Beckmann says:
March 14, 2014

The underlying comment is that finfish fisheries should be managed from an ecosystem perspective and not just from an individual fish stock perspective. The agreement generally alludes to ecosystem based management, but doesn’t say anything specifically relating to finfish.

In support of the underlying comment, please evaluate adding the following two outcomes to the sustainable fisheries section:

1.  Fishery managers develop policies, plans and a database to allow management of finfish species from an ecosystem perspective.

2.  Develop population targets for finfish species that support a robust Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

The comment and suggested outcomes sort of expand upon the outcome pertaining to forage fish that is already in the sustainable fisheries section. It seems like the agreement has points relating to water quality and habitat, but it doesn’t ever get to an ultimate end target for finfish populations that support a robust ecosystem.



Comment

Wilmer Stoneman says:
March 14, 2014

On behalf of the producer members of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, I offer the following comments on the final Draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

Our comments are as follows:

We believe the revision to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement is unnecessary.

The Chesapeake Bay states are still working on achieving the goals of the 2000 agreement which are included in Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation plans in each state as they consider appropriate. The Clean Water Act section 117 does not require the Chesapeake Bay states to adopt a new agreement or update the existing agreement to remain eligible for funding under that section. 

We remain concerned that Chesapeake Bay states will not have the resources to meet the goals of the existing agreement there is no need for a new agreement. Especially since each state is currently implementing TMDL driven watershed implementation plans.

We believe the revision to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement is likely to disrupt ongoing activities.

As noted above, Chesapeake Bay states are continuing to work on existing goals. Piling on additional goals could redirect scarce resources away from current efforts. The basis of the lawsuit filed against EPA by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was to claim that Clean Water Act section 117(g) created a non-discretionary duty on EPA to ensure that states implement the goals of any Chesapeake Bay Agreement. EPA settled that lawsuit by agreeing to issue the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and by agreeing to take significant regulatory actions. EPA claimed that section 117(g) gave it authority over TMDL implementation, even though that section required EPA to ensure that states began implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement by providing federal grant funding and did not grant EPA any TMDL authority. By establishing a new agreement, states could be inadvertently laying the groundwork for a new lawsuit that EPA can settle by agreeing to new commitments of state resources. By establishing a new agreement, the Chesapeake Bay states may be reducing their discretion to address and prioritize actions to help restore the Chesapeake Bay and may be delegating their power to EPA and third party litigants.

We believe that any goals established in a Chesapeake Bay Agreement must be achievable and affordable.

The draft agreement contains numerous new goals, some of which are expressed in numeric form. We would encourage the states not to establish numeric goals in this agreement without determining that the goals are achievable and economically feasible for persons who live and work in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including the agricultural community, the development community, and municipalities. There is no explanation for how these numbers were chosen, whether they are scientifically defensible and what specific goal they are set to achieve. Moreover, there is no explanation for the legal authority under which the states would achieve the expanded numeric goals and how that legal authority relates to the existing Bay TMDL. 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.



Comment

Bernice O'Brien says:
March 14, 2014

Thank you for the ability to comment on an agreement that will affect my local watershed and community. I believe there are several areas within the draft that must be altered to preserve the accountability of this document and ensure that the goals remain in the best interest of the Bay.

Principles

• Fair, Effective, and Diverse Representation: The agreement’s principles speak to diversity of representation and participation. However, specific outcomes should be provided that use the language of environmental justice to ensure diverse participation from chronically underrepresented minority and low socio-economic groups. Another group that is absent from this draft is that of future generations. The inclusion of ‘sustainable’ implies a future oriented vision. An individual should be appointed on each Chesapeake Bay Program workgroup or committee to advocate for future generations and prevent shortsighted decisions or intragenerational discounting in cost-benefit analysis.

• Anticipating Changing Conditions: The brief mention of long-term sea level, temperature, and precipitation trends is the only reference to Climate Change. Although a politically volatile term, Climate Change includes natural systems within the Bay that are already changing. Regardless of the mechanisms behind these “long-term trends” it is highly irresponsible and negligent to relegate them to a single line when the Chesapeake Bay is a worldwide hotspot for ocean acidification and relative sea-level rise. The agreement must be grounded in reality and can work to make authentic progress by consistently incorporating the precautionary principle and ideas of resilience.

Goals and Outcomes

• Sustainable Fisheries: Neither the Blue Crab or Oyster outcomes mention ocean acidification, which will have significant ecological and economic impacts on Bay fisheries within the coming decades.

• Vital Habitats: The vital habitat outcomes largely ignore urban land uses, which increasingly affect the Bay watershed. Urban outcomes for wetlands, stream health, and high-priority species should be included along with a discussion of low-impact development.

• Water Quality: Limiting “pollutants” to Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and sediment ignores the equally important issue of toxics. The proposal of new Natural Gas liquefaction and export facilities along the Bay should also be evaluated in terms of potential impacts on water quality.

• Healthy Watersheds: No Comment.

• Land Conservation: These outcomes completely ignore the population growth that is likely to drown improvements in Bay health. An should be added that explicitly addresses the mitigation of population growth. 

• Public Access: No Comment.

• Environmental Literacy: The agreement’s emphasis on K-12 education is laudable, but should define the vague term “meaningful watershed educational experience.” In addition to developing Environmental Literacy Metrics, the agreement should produce a set of common Environmental Literacy Standards that are aligned with state assessments and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Management Strategies
• Accessibility/Accountability: My greatest concern about this draft agreement is the lack of accountability through an opt-out provision. “[Each] signatory may exercise its discretion to participate in the development and implementation of individual outcomes’ management strategies depending upon relevance, resources, priorities, or other factors” must be deleted or reworded unless the agreement is to become meaningless. The Bay and its citizens need real action and accountability. This cannot be achieved by simply agreeing to broad goals or outcomes, while leaving loopholes for the real action—management strategies. These management strategies should be created in collaboration with states to minimize resistance to implementation. Management strategies must also be accessible, transparent, emphasize resilience, and consider future generations to limit inaction in the name of shortsighted cost-benefit analysis or election year politics. 

Sincerely,
Bernice O’Brien
University of Virginia Student



Comment

Jim Baird says:
March 14, 2014

American Farmland Trust applauds the authors for including an explicit goal and outcomes regarding land conservation. Having sufficient ecological and working lands protected and available for future generations is not only essential for the ecological goods and services they provide, including food, fiber, habitat, flood control, nutrient cycling, economic opportunity, recreation, cultural heritage, but the restoration of the Chesapeake estuary cannot be achieved without them. Sixty–three percent of the practices to improve water quality will be implemented on ag land.

However, skipping to the end, AFT finds the Land Use Options Evaluation Outcome to be inadequate and unsatisfactory. While the search for better tools, incentives, etc. that can assist jurisdictions is laudable and important, this goal leaves the region managing the rate of conversion forever, only reducing the rate of conversion “when possible.” We strongly recommend that this goal be revised. At a minimum it should read “strategically manage and reduce” the rate of conversion.

We concur with setting an ambitious acre goal for protection. While two million seems sufficiently ambitious, we urge that the final determination be based on scientific attempts to measure the amount of eco system services that the region’s population actually requires (to include adaptability to climate change) and what amount of different land types will be required to provide them. This should include the need to offset nutrient and sediment loads from new population and economic growth.

The two million acre goal paragraph does not mention either farmland or working forest land. If acre goals are not currently projected for these working lands, we strongly request that they be set as part of the final draft of the agreement. We suggest that the current state goals be used as the basis for this number. If there is no acre metric specified for farmland at present,  we would request that one be set prior to any finalization of the agreement. Failing to do so would greatly weaken the authors’ stated goal to sustain working farms.

AFT applauds the goal to develop the capacity to measure the rate (and, we would add the location) of land conversion. Indeed without such capacity, the rational for setting a protection goal comes into question.



Comment

David L. Konick says:
March 15, 2014

I don’t see anything in the Draft Agreement about controlling or reducing the level of solid and liquid chemical contaminants used for snow and ice removal on roadways—sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and other agents—all which ultimately find their way into our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay with devastating effect. Numerous scientific studies show that as a direct and proximate result of State Highway/Transportation Departments’ environmentally disastrous snow and ice removal practices and procedures, salt levels are rising with lethal effect on aquatic species and ultimately marine life, not to mention human life. In this regard, the Draft Watershed Agreement appears to be completely deficient.

Thanks for taking the time to consider my views.

David L. Konick
Washington, Virginia



Comment

Hal Hunter, Ph.D. says:
March 15, 2014

Solid and liquid chemical contaminants used for snow and ice removal on roadways find their way into our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay with devastating effect. Numerous scientific studies show that as a direct and proximate result of State Highway/Transportation Departments’ environmentally disastrous snow and ice removal practices and procedures, salt levels are rising with lethal effect on aquatic species and ultimately marine life, not to mention human life. In this regard, the Draft Watershed Agreement appears to be completely deficient.



Comment

Anthony Lavato says:
March 15, 2014

I don’t see anything in the Draft Agreement about controlling or reducing the level of solid and liquid chemical contaminants used for snow and ice removal on roadways—sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and other agents—all which ultimately find their way into our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay with devastating effect. Numerous scientific studies show that as a direct and proximate result of State Highway/Transportation Departments’ environmentally disastrous snow and ice removal practices and procedures, salt levels are rising with lethal effect on aquatic species and ultimately marine life, not to mention human life. In this regard, the Draft Watershed Agreement appears to be completely deficient.

Thanks for taking the time to consider my views.



Comment

Sandra S. Cartwright-Brown says:
March 15, 2014

In Rappahannock County, Virginia we are aware that our rivers are headwaters for the Bay. We are astounded and appalled that our very own VDOT is poisoning our rivers with chemicals for snow removal as opposed to using sand. Apparently VDOT is above criticism for political reasons I do not understand. Please begin there——do whatever it takes to stop VDOT from strewing toxic chemicals on our roads and is ruining our rivers. 

I appreciate your diligence and good work. Help our headwaters.



Comment

Nic H. says:
March 16, 2014

The Chesapeake Bay Agreement has created a framework that displays the coordination and cooperation that has been achieved across all levels of government. With all efforts being aimed to restore and improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. It is important that this document emphasizes the scope of this initiative, in that the project exceeds the boundaries of the bay itself to include the watershed in its entirety. These efforts are critical to the water quality in the future to ensure quality levels that support human life and the ecosystem. This Draft Agreement serves as an update to the last Bay Agreement in 2000. A time span of over ten years has allowed the areas of issues and shortcomings to be identified, and to be address in this update to establish new goals to achieve them.

There are areas and topics in this agreement that are underserved or omitted. One of the most significant is the lack of accountability that is required for successful planning. As well as addressing the goals that would work to reduce contamination, including toxic point source, stormwater runoff, and human contribution.

Accountability is the number one requirement when planning and implementing a joint effort on the scale of this Bay Agreement. This Draft Agreement does address the accountability, but provides leniency that could ultimately result in subpar outcomes. By allowing various players of the agreement to decide what they chose to opt in and opt out of is catastrophic. This creates an inconsistency of the implantation, and when assessments are conducted the results will be skewed. The revision of page 5 is needed, to establish requirements while still allowing autonomy that will work with various conditions inflicted upon states.

There seems to be a contradiction between increasing human access to the waterways, where the cause of the pollution is from humans. On page 4, there are principles that are outlined addressing access. But the principles don’t fully envelop the education and outreach component that is crucial to the success of the efforts that are being made. The need for addressing toxic contamination is important to the longevity of this document. There has been great efforts and investments made to the Chesapeake Bay to reduce the contamination over the past several decades. Stormwater management and pollution created through runoff have in many cases been dealt with by local government, yet this document fails to address. This is something that should be addressed in the water quality section.

Sea Level rise and climate change pose significant impacts for the Chesapeake Bay in the future. Between the predictions of rising sea level and warming water temperatures, these elements are something that needs to be considered in goals. The habitat the Bay supports is extremely vulnerable and crucial to so many variables. It is important that these factors be taken into consideration at this point in the process.

While this Draft Agreement has areas that need improvement, there are positive components that shall remain. The segment outlining the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and the states not being permitted to take discretionary actions is key. The existing water quality goals and outcomes are critical for future planning, as well as for management practices. It is important that all long-range watershed implementation plans remain, because of their significance to the program.



Comment

Theresa M Winter says:
March 16, 2014

As a life-long Chesapeake Bay sailor, Bay advocate certified by the CBF, and supporter of the TMDL programs, I endorse the upgrades to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. 

I do feel there should be a separate group to address climate control issues and rising water levels because global warming is out of the control of the participating states. It is difficult to envision how sanctions could be applied for non-compliance.



Comment

Holly Glenn says:
March 17, 2014

I don’t see anything in the Draft Agreement about controlling or reducing the level of solid and liquid chemical contaminants used for snow and ice removal on roadways—sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and other agents—all which ultimately find their way into our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay with devastating effect. Numerous scientific studies show that as a direct and proximate result of State Highway/Transportation Departments’ environmentally disastrous snow and ice removal practices and procedures, salt levels are rising with lethal effect on aquatic species and ultimately marine life, not to mention human life. In this regard, the Draft Watershed Agreement appears to be completely deficient.

Thanks for taking the time to consider my views.

Holly Glenn
Arlington, Virginia



Comment

Carmen Skarlupka says:
March 17, 2014

Voice of the Bay - Stakeholder Input to the Draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement

I am Water, hear me, this is the sound of my voice. I have existed since the beginning of time, long before your kind came ashore to claim me and name me – Chesapeake Bay Watershed. And I will continue long after your time here ends – for I am eternal and essential to your life – wisdom known by your ancestors and your unborn children’s children.

You, land dwelling sons and daughters of man, are an honored and welcomed guest of Water. I have always supported you and provided for you, along with flora and fauna. Food from my table I share; fish, crabs, oysters, mussels, turtles, and eel. I have shared drinkable, fishable, swimmable water - irrigated your crops, quenched your unending thirst for me. You travel upon me, paddling, sailing with wind and motoring noisily when wind sleeps. I have graciously given to you what you needed, when you needed, freely without charge. This is my stakeholder input to the draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement: Unconditional love for the benefit of all living things, man, flora and fauna.

I have heard your joyful voices, thankful for my gifts - a prized rockfish, a community oyster roast, an Independence Day crab feast, a refreshing swim, a regatta win, and appreciation for your unquenchable thirst for me, life-sustaining drinkable, swimmable, and fishable water. You sing songs praising my beauty, my bounty, my majesty. I am a National Treasure, I am Water and I am honored.

How have you thanked me for my generosity and bounty which I have unselfishly and openly shared with you? I hear you are writing an agreement for me. I was uninvited, given no mailing address, mailbox, Agent, Counsel, nor Guardian. I will never be given your words – an Agreement, lacking my consent. I have no rights, by your will. In your vision for me, Water is sustainable, vital, quality, healthy, conservable, accessible, and literate. In the days of your ancestors I was all of these and more. And, I can be and I will be again, when your actions honor me, so that I can honor my Agreement to provide drinkable, fishable, and swimmable water for you.

Today, I ask that you listen to my words, it is my turn to speak; given three minutes at your podium. I am Water, hear me, this is the sound of my voice. I am unwell, sick, diseased, toxic and chronic. My spirit aches, I need rest and restoration. I need to heal. I need time. And I, who have asked nothing of you for millennia, respectfully request your help for I am dis-ease.

I am Water, hear me, this is the sound of my voice. I accept responsibility for what I have become and I wish you no harm. Use your words, symbols, and signs, post warnings in every language and protect the sons and daughters of man from Water;

• at every tap, well head, spring, reservoir, aquifer - DANGER: DO NOT DRINK. WATER IS POISONOUS.
• at every stream, creek, river, lake, bay, sea and ocean - DANGER: DO NOT TOUCH. DO NOT SWIM. WATER IS DISEASED.
• at every shoreline, dock, pier, bridge, and vessel - DANGER: DO NOT EAT FISH, CRABS, OYSTERS – WATER IS TOXIC.

You have changed what I am, today. I did not consent to being the dump site for man’s burdens. I cannot survive the volume of sewage, industrial waste, nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical, pharmaceutical and bacterial contamination.

People claimed me, named me, then maimed me. I am provider of your life sustaining gift, Water. I am eternal and essential to your life – wisdom known by your ancestors and your unborn children’s children. You need me to survive, together, we can thrive.

This I, Water, affirm as my stakeholder input to your draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. Witnessed this 17th Day of March in the Year 2014, of mankind.

Water
________________________________
For the Chesapeake Bay Watershed



Comment

K. Christie says:
March 17, 2014

So sad and truly tragic that massive applications of chemicals/salts on roads will now cause even MORE pollutants and damage to the Bay and other natural water habitats.

Please limit the amount of ice melting pollutants in an effort to halt further MAN MADE pollution of our natural waterways.



Comment

Environmental Finance Center - University of Maryl says:
March 17, 2014

Sustainable schools are of vital importance not only to the health of the Bay but also to the health of students and school staff. While mentioning “models of sustainable schools” in the School and School System Model Development Outcome is a step in the right direction, a greater emphasis should be placed on sustainable schools and their impact on environmental and human health by incorporating sustainable school language into the overall Environmental Literacy goal and creating a separate Sustainable Schools Outcome distinctive of the environmental education-related outcomes. Incorporation of a clear, distinct sustainable schools outcome would better align with the Mid-Atlantic Elementary and Secondary Environmental Literacy Strategy. Modeling language used in Goal 3, Outcome 3.1 of the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Literacy Strategy, a Sustainable Schools Outcome may read: “Support and highlight models of sustainable school buildings, grounds, and operations, making continual progress toward net-zero environmental impacts and improved human health.”



Comment

Rick Kohler says:
March 17, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am president of a 180 member 501(c)3 environmental league in Virginia. Speaking personally, and not for the league at this time as we have not studied the issue closely enough, I personally recommend that EPA and the CBWA provide for studies of the practice of using salts and chemicals on winter roads for de-icing purposes.

We have become aware that beet juice is being tested in jurisdictions as an alternative, and perhaps superior, method of treating roads.

The CBWA should provide for monitoring of chemicals applied by VDOT and other state and federal road maintenance operatives as they significantly affect water sheds and the Bay. Runoff is usually rapid and strong, spreading chemicals through the waterways and deep into the Bay.

I strongly encourage EPA and CBA to add specific language to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement to monitor salts and chemicals added to roadways and provide the potential for incentives for the use of more benign alternatives.

Every portion of Section (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) of the EPA CBW Office mandate easily applies to studies of highway chemical runoff, development of programs to reduce the issue, implementing science and modeling, coordinating with federal, state and local officials to implement same to improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay and obtaining the support of officials and government agencies and authorities to achieve the objective.

Thank you for your consideration,
Rick Kohler



Comment

Chad says:
March 17, 2014

Over the course of thirty years, a conglomerate of state and federal officials has put forth an effort to preserve and to enhance the viability of the Chesapeake Bay. Not only is the Bay a national treasure in terms of environmental beauty, but it also supports a major portion of the local residents as a food and economic source. In the first Bay Agreement (1983), officials from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the EPA recognized the decline in the Bay’s health. Taking a collaborative approach, they sought out a plan to address the problems and to implement measures to save the precious resource. In 2014, the Bay Agreement includes the previously mentioned partners along with New York, Delaware, West Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay Commission. The additional members signify a major improvement in the multi-faceted approach necessary for revitalizing the Bay. The Bay is a complex and dynamic ecosystem that necessitates the memberships of the added “headwater” states.

As for the 2014 draft of the Bay Agreement, I have found many aspects that are inspiring and optimistic, but the absence of key problems raises a few questions. Anticipating changing conditions is an important factor for improving the Bay. Understanding that we cannot account for natural changes in sea-level rise and other environmental trends acknowledges that we can only control for our behavior. Also, we must understand how natural forces influence our judgment of progress. Furthermore, I support the seven goals that the agreement outlines especially Environmental Literacy. Man-made behavior, such as lawn care, which governmental agencies cannot control have a major impact on the Bay. Reinforcing environmental values at a young age will prepare the future generation with the proper knowledge to make the right decisions. 

However, the Agreement lacks the explanation of toxic chemicals and climate change. Toxic chemicals are a major contributor to the problems that the Bay faces. Omitting this important topic overlooks the severity of the problem. Furthermore, the agreement mentions sea-level rise and long-term environmental trends, but it does not explicitly mention climate change. The implementation strategies are scientifically based, so how can the document exclude one of the most concerning phenomena of our generation. Just as climate change will affect every aspect of our lives in the future, it will definitely have a major impact on the Bay’s health and our strategies to preserve it.

My last concern deals with Land Conservation and overall land use. There has been a drastic improvement in reducing point source pollution. A major area to evaluate now pertains to the vague subject of non-point pollution. The goal outlines the need to conserve land and to prevent the conversion of forested and agricultural landscapes. Being that 85% of the Bay’s shoreline is privately owned, certain restrictions should be imposed on those who live closest to the Bay’s waters. Their development, especially shoreline hardening in inappropriate locations, has a direct impact on water quality and the surrounding environment. Zoning regulations and permits should be implemented to control what form of development is allowable. Living shorelines and other dynamic systems need to be utilized to benefit water quality issues and to respond to the encroaching sea level. Overall, the 2014 Agreement is a major step forward in the restoration of the Bay.



Comment

Hank Mccomas says:
March 17, 2014

The access to recreational opportunities, particularly in Maryland, is Completely Balkanized into tiny jurisdictions of state, county and town authorities and even divisions within state government. This results in a system of totally uncoordinated fees, rules, hours, signage, internet resources that leaves even local users frustrated and bewildered. To attempt to attract casual users and visitors from out of the region to utilize these opportunities without fixing this issue is doomed to a poor response.



Comment

Jack Chesson says:
March 17, 2014

Improved public access to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries is critical to provide citizens and taxpayers with practical recreational opportunities to use the Bay and become active supporters in restoring its health. I’m a retired lawyer who moved to Anne Arundel to have more access to the Bay for kayaking and other recreation. Many of my friends share these activities.

In addition to being a citizen of Anne Arundel, I run an online Meetup group called Second Half Rally that has more than 850 members from MD, VA, and DC who enjoy active outdoor recreational activities such as kayaking, biking, walking, attending festivals, etc. Our weekly meetings usually attract 20-50 participants for kayaking near Annapolis and the Eastern Shore during good weather. We are active middle-aged adults and taxpayers who bring healthy recreation and support for local businesses to the communities around the Bay where we have activities.

Just recently, I was astounded and disappointed to learn that most of the extensive public lands purchased and maintained by Anne Arundel County taxpayers are NOT available to recreational kayakers, even though our environmental impact and launch needs are minimal. That makes no sense and is poor policy since the land is supposed to benefit the taxpaying PUBLIC. Enhancing low-cost and low-impact outdoor recreational opportunities should be a big part of that goal. We need governments, non-profit groups, and business officials to make public access to the Bay a top priority.

I became an active advocate for preserving the Chesapeake Bay four years ago when I started kayaking. Now the people in my group are becoming fellow advocates from their kayaking experiences which they all love. Kent County has done a great job of establishing a system of public boat ramps and car top launch sites for recreation. That should serve as a model for other counties and state agencies charged with enhancing the Bay.

Please make public recreational access a top priority to support healthy recreation and involve more regular citizens with a real stake in restoring the health of the Bay.

Thank you,
Jack Chesson



Comment

Terri Freeborn says:
March 17, 2014

Current independent data identifies the current State Highway/Transportation Department’s snow and ice removal procedures are environmentally disastrous; affecting our streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay with horrific results. Why has the committee neglected to address the necessity to reduce the level of solid and liquid contaminants used for ice and snow removal on roads?

Please take the time to reconsider as the current Draft Watershed Agreement is inadequate until it addresses this most urgent issue.

Thank you for your consideration of this critical matter.

Respectfully,
Terri Freeborn
Castleton, Va.



Comment

Laura Booth says:
March 17, 2014

Too much salt on the road, too much salt in the rivers. We are smart enough to find safe alternatives for treating our roads to ensure the health of our watershed for ourselves and our children. Can’t we try to do the right thing once?

—A citizen who cares about the earth and its future health for my children.



Comment

Joy Lorien says:
March 17, 2014

Being part of the Shenandoah River, which flows into the Potomac, which joins with the Chesapeake Bay, I support this Watershed Agreement.



Comment

Dr. Sacoby Wilson says:
March 17, 2014

Public Health and Environmental Justice: The current agreement focuses primarily on ecological health with little focus on human health. Human health and sustainability (environmental, ecological, social, and economic) should be at the core of the agreement. There are many Bay communities overburdened by hazards and underserved by resources, infrastructure, and amenities who rely on the ecologic goods, services, and resources of Bay whose voices are not currently being heard in efforts to restore the Bay. Many of these communities are impacted by environmental injustice and environmental health disparities. The current agreement should remove the divide between ecological and human health and focus on revitalizing healthy Bay communities with a focus on both the natural and man-made environment.

Impact of the urban environment: The Chesapeake Bay Agreement does an honorable job of laying the ground work for restoring the natural environment in the region. However, it is silent on the conditions of the built and urban environment. Urban blight is a physical and environmental condition often linked to environmental justice issues in urban communities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Prince George’s County, and Washington D.C. It should not be left out of any regional environmental policy. More specifically, the Chesapeake Bay Agreement does not include actions to address illegal dumping, abandoned housing, food deserts, or toxic pollution. The absence of such language is poised to inadvertently help sustain such issues. In addition, my research has shown that there are disparities in the distribution of Clean Water Act 319 funds and watershed restoration funds in the state of Maryland based on geography (more funds going to rural areas, instead of urban areas); and by race/ethnicity and SES. If more of these funds and restoration projects went to urban areas, we potentially to see less stormwater inputs to rivers and streams that feed the Bay.

Community Engagement: Expand the Chesapeake Bay Programs’ message beyond the conservation and protection of the natural environment to include the funding of more diverse program areas. Work with EPA Region 3 to increase appropriations to agencies, or programs that deal with environmental justice, toxics, and urban blight. In FY 2013-2014 there was no funding for these issues, including toxics; even though, a significant amount of comments on toxic chemicals were received. Increase outreach and funding for existing urban environmental programs, or to establish new programs that address urban food deserts, abandoned housing, illegal dumping, and community engagement with civic and community leaders. Fund and support these programs through grants with special attention given to minority owned businesses, non-profits, local jurisdictions serving urban communities as well as non-minority groups working on the above issues.

Environmental education: In Maryland and other jurisdictions, environmental education is now, or will be mandated through environmental literacy requirements for high school graduation. This is a good thing. The focus to increase the number of students participating in meaningful outdoor watershed experiences is also a welcomed. However, the Chesapeake Bay Agreement must go further on this issue. The Chesapeake Bay Agreement must go further to encourage environmental education that prepares students for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. There should be policy and funding to bring together grade school and College and Universities with the intent to provide increased access to environmental programs and scholarships. This policy and funding behavior is especially prudent for communities where employment, career development, and job training is most elusive and where women and other minorities are in high demand for STEM careers. 

Funding: By the year 2017, 50% of colleges and universities providing environmental programs within the Chesapeake Bay will have funding to engage high school students. Such programs should be designed to increase access to Science, Technology, Engineering, Math careers for all. However, they must also have specific and adequate funding to increase access for women and other minorities. Entrance and success in these programs will provide an additional metric for measuring the efficacy of environmental literacy in grade schools. 

We also hope that you and your team will engage members of our DMV Metro EJ Coalition and the University of Maryland School of Public Health in future discussions to help shape the implementation of the proposed elements of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement in a way that will address the concerns of low income, communities of color that are impacted by the Bay. Environmental Justice and Environmental Health Disparities is a conversation and consideration that needs to be made at the forefront of any efforts – not an afterthought. 

Thanks!



Comment

Lisa Arrasmith says:
March 17, 2014

I am a sea kayaker. Launchsites in the Chesapeake Bay are unreasonably scarce and hard to use. I ask that the Agreement simultaneously preserve land and expand public access by tightly linking public funding and public access. Land that is protected from development through the use of public funds is far too often then closed to public recreational use.

The Draft Agreement sets an inadequate goal of 300 new public access sites in 15 years for the entire Chesapeake Bay and assigns no responsibility for accomplishing even that small goal. The Agreement should raise that goal and institute responsibility through a rigorous public access requirement for all land funded by public money. The Agreement must strongly tie public funding of land preservation to public recreational access to that land.

The Agreement should also require an annual report of hours that land funded with public money is open to the general public and of any fees charged to the public for use of that publicly funded land.

The owner of a coffee shop knows how many hours a year his business is open to the public and what he charges for a cup of coffee. The entity that controls land funded with public money should know and report how many hours a year that publicly funded land is open to the general public and the amount of any fee required for access to that land. If the publicly funded land is open only rarely or only by special arrangement or invitation, it is not open to the general public. If there is a high fee for access to the publicly funded land, it is not open to the general public. Requiring an annual report of the total hours publicly funded land is open to the general public and of fees charged for use of publicly funded land is a first step in measurable accountability and progress towards the goal of public access to the Chesapeake Bay. This reporting requirement should apply to new land purchases and also to land acquired by public funds before the effective date of the new Agreement.



Comment

Wesley Foltz says:
March 18, 2014

To whom it may concern,

I agree with the ideals & goals of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement but am concerned about their implementation at the local level. My state NRCS (WV) and local conservation district fall within the watershed and are currently pursuing projects that seem to go against the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. They are currently pursuing an earth filled dam along Lost River, West Virginia in an area that’s not prone to flooding. The dam will destroy natural wetlands and close off a tributary stream that is a natural habitat for native brook trout. There are already many of these dams in the region that are in need of repair and will probably be non-functional in the not so distant future. These projects seem to go against the watershed’s goal and are not publicly supported. However, the Potomac Valley Conservation district from West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle sponsors such projects. Are there any checks and balances within the Chesapeake Bay watershed that keep these local districts from doing more harm than good? The local conservation district doesn’t appear to be open to public opinion and I’m not sure they understand the goals of the watershed.

Sincerely,
Wesley Foltz



Comment

Wayne Eubanks says:
March 18, 2014

Hello, 

My name is Wayne Eubanks. I have a real concern that I would like to make you aware of and it could possibly give you cause to add some addendums to your final agreement. 

I am very glad I saw your web link and was able to see that the deadline for response to your draft ended after today.

I have sent an extensive letter to the VA DEQ regarding a pending permit to apply sewage sludge and “treated bio solids” to farm land around our region. My property backs up to and connects to very large farm parcel in which Synagro is soliciting for a sludge application permit.

I have had negative experiences in the past with this practice.

My concern here is not only the obvious stench and contamination possibility of my well, but also the stream that runs across this farm land as well as my front yard and my neighbor’s front yard. We are charged by the watershed committee to properly maintain this stream and surrounding landscape. They were very particular about this stream and even clearing of trees in proximity to this area. I cannot imagine the watershed conservation group allowing this sewage sludge treatment to be allowed (if known about it) or even considered. Synagro and other additional sellers, haulers and spreaders of sewage sludge have been fined by the DEQ for mismanagement and improper handling of sewage. There are more than 40 cases of reported human health, livestock, waterfowl, wild animal and environmental problems associated with this. Some have brought about extensive lawsuits to get a cease and desist ordered.

Myself and over 400+ growing Spotsylvania residents are now actively fighting the issue of pollution abatement permits and treating land with this. EPA endorsement documents dated 1999 are not sufficient evidence for us and certainly should not be for you. Please consider interceding, helping and advising in this matter and maybe adding an addendum to your draft that would keep this potential hazard from becoming a possibility in protected areas in the future.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Wayne Eubanks



Comment

Christine M. Robinson says:
March 18, 2014

I would like to submit two comments for your consideration.

1.  Please include specific mention of climate change impacts on Chesapeake Bay (especially given that most, if not all, of the goals established in the agreement are affected by climate change impacts) and what you propose must be done to mitigate climate change impacts on the Bay.

2. Please add to your list of goals a commitment to reduce toxic pollution in Chesapeake Bay (and its tributaries), as well as what you propose must be done to accomplish that.

Both of these are critical issues affecting the health of Chesapeake Bay and all of us who live in the airshed and watershed.

Thank you sincerely for your work.
Christine M. Robinson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Justice Studies
Department of Justice Studies
James Madison University



Comment

Jean Newcomb says:
March 18, 2014

It is time to prevent toxic contaminants from ending up in the Chesapeake Bay. I urge the Chesapeake Bay Program to revise its Agreement and establish toxic contaminant reduction goals. The science is indisputable that something must be done to protect this bay. There is no need for further study!

Sincerely,

Jean Newcomb
Greenbelt, MD



Comment

Gerrit Crouse says:
March 18, 2014

Setting definite goals on controlling chemical poisons in Chesapeake Bay must be a part of the agreement between Chesapeake Bay states & the federal government, if the Bay is to be restored. Unregulated chemical poisons mindlessly poured by the tons into our world cause intersex fish, hermaphroditism in amphibians, birds with thinned eggshells, poisoned crabs, & ever-increasing human cancer, autism, Parkinson’s disease, etc., etc.

The 2012 federal report Toxic Contaminants in the Chesapeake Bay & its Watershed found state programs & state-level toxics maximum daily load (TMDL) standards do not address serious pervasive contaminant data gaps. 72% of the Bay’s tidal-water segments are now poisoned by introduced PCBs, PAHs, pesticides, mercury, pharmaceuticals, & endocrine disruptors.

The Chesapeake Bay Program has simply ignored its duty under the Clean Water Act, & Executive Order 13508, to address these threats to water quality & ecosystems it was created to protect. The Chesapeake Bay Program may now either revise its Agreement, establishing toxic contaminant reduction goals, & meaningfully enforcing them, or not.

I write as an emeritus member of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

References:

“Summary for Decision-Makers”, /Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis/ (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2005).

Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States of America 2014 State of the Union Response

Gerrit Crouse
Nyack, NY



Comment

Elizabeth Johns says:
March 18, 2014

Hello,

The Draft Agreement fails to address the need to control or reduce the level of solid and liquid chemical contaminants used for snow and ice removal on our roadways. Contaminants such as sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and other substances ultimately end up in our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Studies have shown that State Highway and Transportation Departments snow and ice policies result in rising salt levels in our waters, which in turn has a devastating effect on our aquatic species and marine life. 

Please consider addressing this issue in the Draft Watershed Agreement. I understand that beet juice has been used in some areas to great affect.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Johns
Woodville, VA



Comment

Deirdre Payne says:
March 18, 2014

I would please ask that some of you making the decisions please go and look at a few bridges in any area of Virginia and see the mounds of salt still there from the last snows… as it now rains (and some ice where even more salt is being laid down) it is all going straight to the Bay. 

THIS CANNOT BE GOOD.

There are alternatives such as beet juice that works even better than salt… Just asking that someone bring this up as it just cannot be good for the Bay.

I honestly cannot imagine the millions of tons of salt that dump into our waters every time there is a slick spot on the road and salt kills trees too!!

Deirdre Payne
Castleton, VA



Comment

Deverell Pedersen says:
March 18, 2014

It appears that the Committee has neglected to address the urgent issue of reducing the level of solid and liquid chemical contaminants used for snow and ice removal on roadways—sodium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and other agents—all which ultimately find their way into our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay with devastating effects. 

There is no shortage of independent data illustrating that current State Highway/Transportation Departments’ snow and ice removal practices and procedures are devastating. Current (and still rising!) salt levels are lethal to marine life, surrounding habitat, and by extension, human life.  In light of the alternatives available, it would seem this oversight is inexcusable.

Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.



Comment

Bonnie Dixon says:
March 18, 2014

It is very important this agreement is about the watershed as a whole and not subject to the whims of local government and entrenched “good ole boy” networks. I live on the bank of the Robinson River in Madison County. Our home has a legal drain field and our septic was pumped out well before necessary. However, according to the Permit and Water Quality Information for Madison County this section of the river has bacteria impairment. There is a kennel slightly upstream that breeds and sell Chesapeake Bay retrievers. These dogs are in the river on a daily basis and kennel waste is pumped into the stream at night. It is difficult to comprehend how this business was allowed to have a permit especially because Criglersville, where it is located, is in fact a residential area. I attempted on two occasions to bring this situation before the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. The first time I was told by David Jones, who was then the Chairman of the Board, that the condition of the water that flows by my own home was “none of my business.” The second time the meeting was packed with hunters who tried to turn a simple zoning problem into a meeting about hunting and dog licensing. The value of my home and my quality of life are adversely impacted by this. Approval of a plan that actually takes action to clean up situations like this would be very much appreciated.

Bonnie Dixon
Madison, VA



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