Streamline - Summer 2017 - 27

The Chesapeake Bay
BY SCOTT MCNALLY, SOURCE WATER TECHNICIAN
WITH A WATERSHED spanning six states it is easy to see how the Chesapeake Bay became
degraded so rapidly, especially at a time where our nation was still beginning to figure out
how to implement and enforce environmental laws. About 60 percent of Virginia is within the
watershed for the bay, along with hundreds of miles of coastline that border it. The health of the
bay should be intrinsic to the pride of every Virginian as it plays a crucial role in our history
and economy. If we put more effort into protecting our waterways inland, we will save money
by reducing treatment costs and boost the economy by improving the health of our beloved
Chesapeake Bay.

In the late 1970's, the declining health of the
Chesapeake Bay was at a point where it could
no longer be ignored. In 1980, the Chesapeake
Bay Commission was established to tackle the
health issues, specifically toxic pollution, nutrient deposition and rapidly declining underwater
grasses. In the late 1930's, the Chesapeake Bay
was a source of pride for surrounding states and
an economic powerhouse with booming, fishing, agriculture and tourism industries. At this
time, there was an estimated 200,000 acres of
underwater grasses that provide the base of the
ecosystem in the bay. This submerged aquatic

vegetation increases the oxygen content of the
water, provides shelter and food to fish and other
aquatic species and they absorb nutrient pollution. By 1984, underwater grasses in the bay
dwindled down to around 38,000 acres. This
is catastrophic for the economy and ecosystem.
Without the grasses to absorb and use up excess
nutrients, massive algae blooms flourished. This
depletes the water of oxygen which destroys the
fish and crustacean communities.
Sediment pollution that originates from deep
in the watershed is one of the main culprits for
smothering the submerged aquatic vegetation.
In a water treatment plant, turbid water takes
more time, energy and chemicals to properly
treat. Working to reduce sediment pollution in
local communities will reduce treatment costs
and help improve the health and thus economy
in the Chesapeake Bay region. The rivers and
streams throughout Virginia were once popular
tourism destinations for anglers as they provided an abundance of trout populations. There
are many ways that reducing nutrient and sediment pollution can improve our health and fatten
our wallets.
The good news is that many people and communities are taking aggressive action to reduce
pollution and improve the quality of our state's
waterways. In 2007, there was an estimated
65,000 acres of underwater grasses in the bay.
By 2016, that number increased to 97,000.
Although this is still half the acreage that these
grasses used to cover, it is an optimistic figure
that will hopefully keep rising in the years to
come. Protect your water sources and you will
indirectly save money and help the bay and statewide economy as well!
www.vrwa.org

27


http://www.vrwa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2017

From the President: 2017 Legislative Efforts
From the Executive Director: Give Us Another Drum Roll Please…
2017 VRWA Conference Highlights
Locating Plastic Pipe
The Value of VRWA
Portable Ladder Safety
The Chesapeake Bay
These Boots Are Made For...What?
RUS-Funded Projects: New Requirements
SOPs: The First Step to Sustainable Utilities
Throwing My Loop: The Horse Trailer with the Broken Heart (Part Two)
VRWA Member Corner
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Intro
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover1
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover2
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 3
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 4
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 5
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 6
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 7
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 8
Streamline - Summer 2017 - From the President: 2017 Legislative Efforts
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 10
Streamline - Summer 2017 - From the Executive Director: Give Us Another Drum Roll Please…
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 2017 VRWA Conference Highlights
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 13
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 14
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 15
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 16
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 17
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 18
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 19
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 20
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 21
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Locating Plastic Pipe
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 23
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 24
Streamline - Summer 2017 - The Value of VRWA
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Portable Ladder Safety
Streamline - Summer 2017 - The Chesapeake Bay
Streamline - Summer 2017 - These Boots Are Made For...What?
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 29
Streamline - Summer 2017 - RUS-Funded Projects: New Requirements
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 31
Streamline - Summer 2017 - SOPs: The First Step to Sustainable Utilities
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 33
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 34
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Throwing My Loop: The Horse Trailer with the Broken Heart (Part Two)
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 36
Streamline - Summer 2017 - VRWA Member Corner
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 38
Streamline - Summer 2017 - eLearning Benefits
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Membership Application
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Benefits for VRWA Members
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 42
Streamline - Summer 2017 - VRWA Committees
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 44
Streamline - Summer 2017 - Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2017 - 46
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover3
Streamline - Summer 2017 - cover4
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