Understandably improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay involves contributions from numerous actors. To reduce pollution runoff and restore the Chesapeake’s ecosystem farmers, developers, urban residents, state and local governments need to collaborate with current scientific research and conservation efforts. The Clean Water Blue Print suggests drastic reductions to nitrogen and phosphorous by 2025. Other conservation approaches propose oyster restoration because there filter feeding processes cycle nutrients and sediment while providing habitat. While restoring oyster reefs and bay grasses will improve water quality and habitat; current efforts may be in vain if pollution levels don’t decrease because sedimentation and eutrophication stresses oysters threatened by disease and over-harvesting. Accounting for the complex processes within the ecosystem is the most viable approach to improve the Chesapeake Bay’s water quality and Fulford et al. (2010) created a computer model to determine whether oyster restoration or nutrient load reduction was more efficient. [Read more…] about Scientific Study Supports Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint
Aquaculture of oysters has long been employed to fill the demand for fresh seafood. In the period of American industrialization during the 1950’s commercial harvesting intensified to fill demands from a growing population. Within 20 years Dermo and MSX, diseases that are specific to bivalves, in conjunction with drastic effects of pollution sent oyster populations plummeting. In response to these hard years aquaculture technique were pioneered to farm oysters. Oysters are renowned for their resilience to environmental stress, they can tolerate great variations to temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen for these reasons they are easy to cultivate, you don’t even have to feed them.
In 2010, President Obama used executive powers to enforce the Clean Water Act within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Under Obama’s approval the EPA created the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blue Print, which established Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL, limits towards nitrogen, phosphorus and sediments. The EPA set these limits within each of the six states in the watershed; combining water quality monitoring data and scientific knowledge regarding acceptable pollution levels for the Bay’s ecosystem. Chesapeake’s size and denomination as impaired led the EPA to make a timeline allowing the watershed to improve or governmental actions would commence. The threshold wasn’t met and the EPA had to limit nutrient and sediment runoff as the basis of improving water quality and restoring the Bay’s ecosystem.