What The Harbor Seals Think About Developers
Pollution and Tree Growth

The Bay's Problems As Seen From Outer Space

Satellitebigbay Check out this NASA satellite image of the Chesapeake Bay taken on Sunday.  Notice the big brown stain of chocolate milk spewing from the Susquehanna River, in the far north, and spreading more than 50 miles south, past Annapolis. Similar smudges ooze down the Potomac and James rivers.

It ain't chocolate, Wonka fans.

This is mud, fertilizers, and chemicals flushed by last week's heavy rains off of farm fields, construction sites, parking lots, and roads.

It’s so much pollution you can see it from outer space.

Gouts of oyster-smothering silt churn down the Chesapeake whenever there's a heavy rain. This is one reason the Bay needs stronger stormwater pollution control regulations, which have been proposed in Maryland and Virginia. Unfortunately, as reported in yesterday's Bay Daily, developers and their allies are trying to undermine these new rules.

The developers claim that the rules, which require that gushes of rain water be filtered and slowed down by ponds, ditches, and other systems, will encourage sprawl. This is not true.  What the rules will do is discourage spew.

And even the Man on the Moon can see this is a problem.


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Interesting timing for this post. As I was waking up this morning, I looked out of my porthole and did a double take. Really brown water in the Annapolis Harbor this morning for some reason. About as brown as I've ever seen it. And it hadn't rained last night nor was the tide particularly dramatic. Guess I now know why. :(

I saw this plume from the air when flying out of BWI on Friday. Very interesting.

I love your writing - thank you for your entertaining and enlightening posts!

Love your blog....GREAT PHOTO....and what does EPA say?

To be accurate, you can't actually see the fertilizers and toxic chemicals - but it's fair to assume that the visible sediment plume is accompanied by those other problems.

This picture should be saved as everyone's desktop photo as a reminder of our current problem in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area. The federal and state governments, partnerned with NGOs and Academia are spending millions of dollars on programs to clean up the Bay. YOU can help too. Visit the Chesapeake Bay Program website to see how you, as an individual, can help.


Also check out the USDA's site: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/chesapeakebay/chesapeakebay.html

And Save this PIC!!

Non-point source pollution has been under discussion for at least 30 years. As I understand it the solutions are local (eg, settling ponds) but not in jurisdiction of the impacted areas.

Is there a way to minimize the impact of runoff from these storms?

Interesting view, I think of the brown sludge in my driveway and along the roadside snow piles, resulting from a lot of oil and petroleum products, road salt, litter, etc. Eccch. And we are letting this stuff flow merrily into the Bay?

If I lived up river on the Potomac or Susquehanna I'd wonder how much my drinking water treatment costs go up when this kind of stuff is allowed to get in our rivers and streams so easily. Wouldn't it be cheaper to keep it out in the first place then to try to clean it up?

Where may I get permission to use this photo in a powerpoint presentation on land stewardship?

Maryland DNR, in association with NOAA Coastwatch and NASA, maintains an archive of Bay visual/data satellite imagery at its Eyes on the Bay website (www.eyesonthebay.net) as well as other water quality data.

See this URL for satellite images:

Could we get permission to use this phot for environmental education at our center? We visit schools and use an interactive model of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to demonstrate this phenomenon. The students then visit our outdoor ed. center to test the health of our stream.

You’ve probably heard of the saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

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