Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) were joined by Secretaries of Agriculture Ed Kee of Delaware and Earl "Buddy" Hance of Maryland at the Delmarva Chicken Festival in Snow Hill in announcing progress in efforts to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Senators announced that two reports by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the EPA show that last summer, the bay had its smallest dead zone (areas without enough dissolved oxygen to support aquatic life) since 1985. Nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment levels have also dropped, while the blue crab population and especially dissolved oxygen levels have both increased. However, the Senators say there's still a long way to go to fully restore the health of the bay and its watershed by 2025.
EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin says while there has been a lot of focus on agriculture, cities, towns and other municipalities also need to do their part by upgrading wastewater treatment plants and taking other steps to reduce how much nutrient pollution they contribute into the Chesapeake Watershed. Senator Carper described how he had to explain to Delaware farmers that they had to do their part to reduce how much pollution ran off their land into the bay because it was about being a good neighbor.
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