Against a backdrop of mutual challenges in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary from climate change and budget shortfalls, an updated partnership between Virginia and North Carolina is starting to flex its collaborative muscle with important border-blind issues: wetlands, algal blooms, and fish travel. A memorandum of understanding signed late last year paves the way. This article by Catherine Kozak from the Coastal Review Online tells the story . . . READ HERE.
--by Bobby Whitescarver. Note: A different version of this essay was published as an OPED piece distributed by the Bay Journal News Service on October 17, 2017. Read that article here.
The Clean Water Act is now 45 years old, born in the U.S. Congress on October 18, 1972. Sometime before that date, the river of my childhood – the Roanoke River in southwestern Virginia – had been declared a fire hazard because of pollution.
I learned to water-ski on that river, or rather on one of the manmade lakes along its winding path. It was 1965 and I remember one of those skiing lessons in particular. Dad was the spotter, and his friend George was the driver. I jumped in the water and waited for the handles of the ski rope. When the tips of my skis were up and my butt down, I yelled, “forward!” As the boat began pulling me, I saw banana peels and “floaters” – human waste – drifting past. I was ten years old, and it gave me the heebie-jeebies. “Hit it,” I shouted, now doubly motivated to get up and out of the water.
America now has perhaps the best wastewater treatment in the world. . . .
--submitted by by Bobby Whitescarver (originally published in slightly different form here.)
The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is working to reduce sedimentation and agricultural runoff into streams, make nutrient management simpler and more effective, verify land uses and cover crops via remote sensing, and invest in establishing and maintaining streamside buffers.
Lesson 1. The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is working
Our number one lesson is that the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is working. Water quality in the Bay is improving. We have reduced nutrients in the Bay in half since 1983; despite the fact our population as increased 30%. That is quite an achievement.
There are many reasons for this. Waste water treatment, application of Best Management Practices (BMPs) on farmland, oyster restoration, air pollution reduction, reductions in phosphorus from laundry detergent and lawn fertilizers, people doing their part . . . I could go on and on.
The river that flows through my farm is a TMDL stream (i.e., subject to Total Maximum Daily Loads regulations for polluted streams), and we are in the designated Chesapeake Bay TMDL as well. These designations have brought water pollution and sedimentation control and reduction program funds into our watershed that help farmers install needed BMPs like cover crops, crop rotation to perennials and riparian buffers. Because of these programs our farm now produces food and clean water; something we are very proud of. These programs created jobs for fence builders, tree planters, and other contractors. . . .
Over 70 years ago, Aldo Leopold wrote, "Conservation, viewed in its entirety, is the slow and laborious unfolding of a new relationship between people and land." That unfolding continues in our work.
This blog offers views of our Board and partners. We invite your viewpoint on the following thought-provoking questions: