Bigger Bang for Your Buck: Using Natural Buffers in the Maryland Watershed Implementation Plan and Chesapeake Bay Restoration
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Work65 pages
The Chesapeake Bay is one of the world’s most productive and biologically diverse estuaries; however, it is suffering from a confluence of environmental abuses from agriculture, sprawling development, nutrient and sediment pollution, and a drastic loss of natural filters. The Chesapeake is not only a national, but also a global test case for environmental rule making and the decisions we make about how to restore it will have broad and profound implications. As of 2009, the U.S. EPA has required Bay states to develop Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) that address how they plan on meeting the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment as calculated by the EPA. Although the EPA found Maryland’s WIP to be the most substantial of the Bay states, the MD WIP neglects the non-point source pollution problem and directs most of its attention to point source pollution in the form of wastewater treatment plants. The MD WIP’s neglect of natural buffers, such as forests and wetlands, is a predictable failure, partially attributable to a larger cultural fixation on technology and measurability that is representative of pollution abatement policy across the nation. This fixation not only contributes to the breakdown of rural culture, but it also masks the consequences of growth and delays and dismisses the importance of controlling non-point source pollution. Natural buffers have an inherent ability to control non-point source pollution and should no longer be reserved solely for agriculturalists. Through appropriate policy reformations and innovations, natural buffers can become a key resource in Chesapeake Bay restoration.