The Potomac Highlands Watershed School
Stream Cleaner Environmental Forum
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Hampshire High School
All groups have met together here, and we have attempted to each a consensus as to how best begin the clean up, restoration, and maintenance of the Chesapeake Bay watershed system.
We all agree that the Chesapeake watershed has suffered in recent years. Species diversity has decreased, as well as overall wildlife abundance, including the amount of fish. The overall system has deteriorated probably due to several factors.
We have listed certain factors that we think have major impact on the Chesapeake watershed, ranking them from most to least influential in impact:
1. Nutrient runoff, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, mostly from agricultural sources.
2. Sediments resulting from erosion within the watershed. Sources of the excess sediments are varied and include agricultural sources, forest road stream crossings, building sites, and natural storm activity (storm water).
3. Water borne pollutants from industrial (point ) sources. We classified these as pollutants other than nutrient runoff.
4. Litter, trash, and debris either thrown carelessly or dumped deliberately into the watershed streams and the bay.
5. Air borne pollutants from industrial and urban sources. This also includes vehicle pollution from roadways.
These factors are varied and almost seem overwhelming when the entire watershed is considered. Therefore, we have decided to address solutions to only the first two factors in our consensus forum.
Decreasing nutrient runoff, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, would help the bay watershed. In order to decrease this runoff, we need to get all the agricultural sources involved. This means trying to convince farmers that it is important to them to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus they are allowing to run into the streams and rivers. The farmers in the headwaters (including West Virginia) sometimes have trouble seeing a benefit for them in this. Some of them only see this as more trouble. We need to try to educate the farmers on best management practices that they can use to reduce nutrients and sediments. The existing agencies (US Fish and Wildlife, EPA, Department of Agriculture, etc.) could hold forums for farmers, meet with them on their farms, produce pamphlets or on-line instructions on how to prevent nutrient or sediment runoff. These agencies could be given the authority to fine uncooperative farmers who produce large loads of nitrogen and phosphorus. We could utilize USDA or other government grant monies to find alternative uses for poultry litter and other manure.
We need to reduce sediments going into the watershed along with reducing the nutrient runoff. Again, we suggest that framers be encouraged to use best management practices. If possible, monetary incentives from government grants could be given to farmers who reduce sediments or nutrients from their lands. Erosion control needs to be enforced in the forest and agricultural areas. Loggers also need incentives to implement best management practices, and perhaps also be fined when their operations result in excessive sedimentation.
The PHS consensus group thinks that the strategies implemented in the West Virginia Potomac Tributary Strategy of the Chesapeake Bay Program are good strategies that should be modeled and implemented by all other areas of the watershed. If all areas of the watershed would conform to these policies, the Chesapeake Bay watershed would have a much better chance of retaining its natural quality, beauty, and diversity.
Compiled by Chad.
There are many things that need to be improved in order to help the Chesapeake Bay. Our class came up with a consensus to help with this. This includes the immediate needs, future needs, and things that groups are willing to give up to improve it.
Starting with the bay ecosystem, they decided their immediate needs were to reduce the flow of nutrients and sediments. They also decided they had to increase the population and develop healthy levels of algae. Their future needs were to watch the water and to make sure the nonpoint pollution is controlled. They then decided they were willing to give up 10 percent of the population to the fishermen.
Next to present was the recreational fisherman. They needed stricter laws on factories and farmers so that population doesnít go into the river. The fisherman also decided that there future needs were to have clean up crews on the river. They were willing to give up money to go into research for the fish and what is wrong with them and how they can get the population back up.
The next group was the commercial fisherman who decided that they should be able to catch as much fish as they have been. The future goals of this group is to catch more fish than they have in the past and they decided they were willing to fish in certain areas so the population can grow faster and they were willing to fish annually.
Farmers was the next group who wanted to not keep populating the water. Their future goals was to have the water management supervised so that none of it gets wasted. In the future they wanted to watch where they manfacture at.
Next up was the city people who had to continue to use the river as a sewer. They wanted to eventually cut back on using fossil fuels and get another source for alternative energy. They are willing to give up money to improve the sewage.
The last group was the boaters. They wanted to patrol for littering in the future. And they were willing to give up speed zones, that will imite the times they can boat.
In the end I believe that in order to do anything, all the groups are going to have to work together if they want to solve the problem.
Compiled by Kevin.
The City is willing to raise their taxes to improve their sewage system and drinking water. In exchange they are willing to give up land and slow their economyís growth. The farmers are willing to stop using as many pesticides on their fields which could help increase the water quality. They need cleaner water for their plants and animals. The recreational fishermen need cleaner streams and rivers so that fish will be healthier and live longer, and they need better ways of getting rid of debris and wastes. They are willing to give up less amount of fishing time and reduce the limit of harvest. The fishermen are going to help raise money to help lower pollution. My group the commercial fishermen need clean water and places that we can fish to bring money into our households. In the future we hope to have more fish in the bay. For now we are willing to raise our prices on the fish that we sell and use the extra profit to help in the restoration of the bay. The ecosystemís needs are water. Their future plans are to have harsher penalties on littering in the bay and to have constant monitoring of the bay. They are willing to give up some fish to eventually have a higher population in the bayís ecosystem.