The Chesapeake Bay is home to at least 2,700 different species and more than 17 million people. Maryland, Virginia, New York, Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia are all in the Bay watershed. The Bay is very for its seafood-especially blue crabs and oysters- that over 500 million pounds of fish and shellfish come from it each year.
According to recent reports, the Chesapeake Bay is the healthiest it has been in 33 years. The bay used to be full of dead zones, or areas in the ocean that have so little oxygen, things can't grow or live in that area. The cause of dead zones is nutrient pollution from humans-so runoff that has an excess of fertilizer (nitrogen and phosphorus) or sewer waste.
The Cleanup Plan was enacted in order to make the states in the Chesapeake Bay's watershed reduce the pollution that farms, construction sites, and sewers produced. The waste would be dumped right into the Chesapeake Bay and destroy habitats, lead to oxygen depletion, and cause defects and health problems in fish and other marine life.
Despite the benefits of the cleanup plan, Trump was planning on cutting the funding for it significantly, but Congress didn't let it happen. Species that were once on the decline are now thriving because of the changes states have made. Farms have started changing their policies and practices in order to reduce the runoff they produce.
Despite all the positive changes, there are still a lot of things that need to be worked on. Only some of the areas in the Bay have significantly improved, others are still as unhealthy as they once were. Areas in New York and New Jersey still have failing ratings for the health of the bay and the rivers that pour into it.
Growing up in Maryland made me really appreciate the Bay. All throughout elementary school, we would participate in stream cleanups and trips to the Chesapeake to learn about and understand habitats, food chains, and the water cycle. We would be able to see first hand the effects of the local farmers and construction sites on the Bay. The Bay has proven herself to be resilient and I cannot wait to see how much healthier she's going to get!