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For the Bay’s future, we need collaboration and good science | Forum








Chesapeake Beach with waves and grass

Challenges to restoring the Chesapeake Bay have continued to arise since the first cleanup agreement was signed in 1983.



Clearly, 2025 is not the finish line for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort.

Chesapeake Bay Program Estimates The Gulf states will collectively fall short of meeting their water quality goals for 2025, which were set in 2014. Chesapeake Watershed Agreement. It is estimated that Maryland, for example, although it is expected to meet its sediment reduction goals, will not meet its nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) pollution reduction goals.

But there is no time limit on environmental stewardship — even if Maryland or other Gulf states can meet their 2025 water quality goals. Unforeseen challenges, such as population growth, development and loss of working land, have continued to arise since the Bay States signed on. The 2014 agreement, not to mention the first agreement in 1983.

Overall, new challenges compound and complicate achieving nutrient reduction targets. New challenges will continue to emerge after 2025, and we must be prepared to meet them.

In addition to unmet goals and new complexities, we face the greatest challenge facing this generation: climate change. The Bay Program has recognized that climate change threatens our ability to achieve the Bay goals. He stresses that continued progress will depend on conducting more research on the effects of climate change and many other topics related to cleaning up the Gulf.

There is always more to learn about changes in land use, forests, and agroecosystems in an attempt to offset harmful impacts on the environment. Mitigating climate change and achieving nutrient reduction goals will depend on a continued flow of innovative and unbiased scientific research, the results of which must be shared and applied in a timely manner. This should be a priority moving forward.

It will take a large-scale effort, similar to the comprehensive struggle to reduce eutrophication in the Chesapeake region, to reduce the impacts of climate change. It is a problem more important than any one person, place or entity – and yet all of us in the Gulf watershed are affected by it, sometimes in different ways.

the Harry R. Center Hughes Agroecology It is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and, since 1999, has worked to find workable solutions to problems facing Maryland’s working landscapes by developing alignment among interests in the agriculture, forestry, and environmental communities.

The Center was founded by the late Governor Harry R. Hughes, who signed the first multi-state Chesapeake Bay Compact in 1983. He served as Chairman of the Center’s 16-member Board of Directors, which is composed of Marylanders representing diverse voices and communities. They are united by a common interest: stimulating new collaborative approaches to keeping Maryland’s farms, forests and other industries open.

Now, the Hughes Center is led by approx Twenty members of the Board of Directors From across the state, led by former state Sen. Mac Middleton, a farmer from southern Maryland, as president. Our mission continues to promote environmentally sound and economically viable agriculture and forestry, as preferred land uses in Maryland, through scientific research, outreach, and collaboration.

The strong collaborative spirit that Hughes brought to the table as Chairman of the Board remains a cornerstone of our work. He recognized the interconnectedness between environmental conservation and agriculture, recognizing that maintaining profitable farms was essential to long-term environmental health and food security.

In addition to his reputation as a champion of the Chesapeake, he had an unwavering commitment to bringing people together for any common cause. What greater existential raison d’être for the Bay Areas than ensuring the health of the economic engine and ecological marvel that is its 64,000-square-mile watershed?

As we approach 2025, there are two principles we should keep in mind: finding research-based solutions and collaborating with diverse stakeholders to implement them.

The efforts by the state of Maryland, its agricultural community, urban cities, and rural towns and counties to reduce their food loads to the Gulf have been an example of how a community can live and thrive more in harmony with the environment. Collectively, we are making a positive impact on the Chesapeake region, comparable to our early efforts several decades ago. It has taken longer than planned, but the progress is real and measurable.

In January of this year, The Chesapeake Bay Program issued a report It serves as a road map to 2025 and recommends ways to accelerate progress towards water quality targets under the Watershed Convention. There are nearly 200 recommendations on topics ranging from scientific monitoring, environmental justice, forest buffers, and best agricultural management practices. Reading it can help you understand how far the bay cleanup has progressed — and how far it still has to go.

The will of the public and public officials to see a healthy Chesapeake remains strong. Let’s sprint across the “finish line” of 2025, even if it’s just the first lap. And let’s do it together because this too is bigger than any one of us.

Kate Everts, Ph.D., is director of the Harry R. Hughes School of Agroecology at the University of Maryland.

The opinions expressed by opinion columnists are not necessarily those of the Bay Journal.





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