Chesapeake Bay Reductions in Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Sediment from 2009 to 2015 Reported by Bay Program in April 2016

On April 18, 2016, the Chesapeake Bay Program reported that computer modeling indicates reductions from 2009 to 2015 of three main Bay pollutants: nitrogen, 8 percent reduction; phosphorus, 20 percent; and sediment, 7 percent.

Following is an excerpt from the Bay Program’s April 18 news release on the data:
“Computer simulations show that pollution controls put in place by watershed jurisdictions between 2009 and 2015 have reduced nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads to the Bay by eight percent, 20 percent and seven percent, respectively.  During the 2014 to 2015 reporting period alone, it is estimated these controls reduced nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads by three, three and four percent.  Water quality modeling experts attribute this drop in estimated pollution loads to significant reductions of nitrogen and phosphorus in the wastewater sector, reductions in the atmospheric deposition of nitrogen as a result of the Clean Air Act and the increased implementation of agricultural conservation practices.  Improved reporting and enhanced crediting of these practices have also generated a more accurate picture of the pollution entering rivers and streams from this sector. …[M]any large municipal wastewater treatment plants are removing more nitrogen from effluent than it was previously thought technology would allow.  Our picture of agricultural conservation practices has also changed.  Throughout the watershed, for example, states are reporting more conservation tillage—or crop residue left on fields in order to slow erosion and reduce runoff—on more acres.  And experts and practitioners on the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Agriculture Workgroup have found that the implementation of nutrient management plans should result in greater nutrient reductions than previously estimated, meaning greater pollution-reducing credit for previously reported practices.  Improved practice reporting and enhanced crediting of certain practices allow model simulations to show a more accurate picture of the reduction of pollution entering rivers and streams from the agricultural sector.”

Source: Data Show Drop in Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sediment Pollution to Chesapeake Bay; Computer simulations track partner progress toward clean water goals, Chesapeake Bay Program News Release, 4/18/16.

Following are links to two news accounts about the report from the Bay Program:
Despite progress, region still lags in Bay cleanup efforts, Bay Journal, 4/19/16.
New data show Chesapeake Bay pollutants dropping, Daily Press, 4/19/16.

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