The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is an organization that is aimed at maintaining healthy living environment for all the inhabitants of the bay and its surrounding marshy areas. This depends on the work of many volunteers who go out to the field and screen the soil as well as take samples of the water. This area is important as it is the area where the mainland fresh waters meet the ocean.
As you can see this involves a network of rivers that flow into their area amounting to a watershed region of about 64,000 square feet! That reaches all the way from southern Virginia to New York and as westward as West Virginia and Pennsylvania. According to their website, this region is home to approximately eighteen million people. If nothing else, it’s important to keep this region clean for selfish reason as every year about 500 million pounds of seafood is produced from the Bay.
There are a number of issues associated with the efforts being made to keep this area healthy. There is not only water pollution but air pollution as well. Land usage, deforestation, climate change, and chemical contamination are just a few of the issues mentioned on their site. Historically there is a larger density of people near coastal areas because of accessibly to the waterways for trade routes. This causes an increase in human activity which results in a large amount of pollutants or foreign substances in the region. The substances may not even be inherently bad, but the fluctuation alone of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous can result in unanticipated changes in the surrounding ecosystem. On consequence of that is dead zones.
Fish need an adequate amount of dissolved oxygen to survive in their bodies of water and when species like algae flourish in nitrogen rich environment they can become harmful by growing to a level uses up all the oxygen. This can cause fish to die in large numbers and rise to the surface—thus dead zones. This is just one example of what is at risk having established the large amount of sea food that comes from this bay area. The commercial seafood industry in Virginia and Maryland alone are responsible for $3.4 billion in sales, $890 million in income and nearly 35,000 jobs a year. It is also responsible for the drinking water of most of the watershed’s regions inhabitants (thirteen million people rely on this drinking water!).
Hopefully this post helped to shed some light on where your precious water is coming from and will encourage you to think more consciously of the natural environment around you. For more information, visit the site below.
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