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Chesapeake Bay Water Pollution And Restoration Mit Essay

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Chesapeake Bay Water Pollution and Restoration Mitigation Plan

Emmett J. Nixon

Axia College


Chesapeake Bay Water Pollution and Restoration Mitigation Plan

Detailed description of the problem:

            For over 300 years, the Chesapeake Bay water system has sustained the area’s
economy and defined its traditions and culture (Chesapeake Bay Program Preamble, 2000).  As
the most biologically diverse estuary in the U.S., over 3600 species of fish, plants and animals
make the Bay their home.  Land uses in 1990 in the 166,000 square kilometer watershed are
estimated to be 57% forest, 16% cropland, 8% pasture, 18% urban or developed land, and 1% of
land in rivers and lakes (Chesapeake Bay Program, Linker, L.C., Shenk, G.W., Dennis, R.L., and
Sweeney, J.S. (1999).  Water pollution makes most people think of factories and industries
dumping toxic chemicals and other contaminants into the Chesapeake Bay.  In reality, the main
pollutants are excess amounts of nitrogen, and phosphorous.  These nutrients enter the Bay from
a variety of sources and cause an explosion of algae growth and sediment.  Airborne nitrogen
reaches the land through air deposition and chemical contaminants.  An overabundance of
suspended sediment from erosion is the main factor for water stress and poor aquatic life in the
Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.  Protection of its natural and man-made infrastructures is essential over the long-term as indicated in the illustration below.

        Chesapeake Bay Bridge and watershed.   Image courtesy of Ben Longstaff (IAN, UMCES)

Nonliving and living factors that contribute to or are affected by the problem


               Nutrients are chemicals (nitrogen and phosphorous) that plants and animals need to
grow and survive.  They come from human sources, such as seven identifiable wastewater
treatment plants throughout the bay area and agricultural runoff from the land as well as a...

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