O'Malley: Farmers are strong partners in cleaning the Chesapeake Bay

Environmental IssuesEnvironmental PollutionWater SupplyEnergy Saving

In their June 18 op-ed "No more half-measures for the bay," Parris N. Glendening, Bernie Fowler, Tom Horton, Gerald W. Winegrad, Walter Boynton and Thomas R. Fisher, great friends of the environment, acknowledge Maryland's efforts to curb "bay-choking nutrient pollutants" but blame Maryland farmers and population growth for the lack of progress in restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay. I disagree.

Over the last several years, Maryland's farmers have been some of the strongest partners in our efforts. Last fall, Maryland farmers planted a record 429,818 acres of cover crops, preventing an estimated 2.58 million pounds of nitrogen from entering the bay. Cover crops are widely considered to be one of the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable ways to control soil erosion and reduce nutrient runoff in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries during the winter.

Additionally, the op-ed largely focused on the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA)'s proposed nutrient management regulations. The development of these proposed regulations has been a two-year collaborative process involving the BayStat Science Panel, as well as environmental, agricultural and municipal stakeholders. When taken as a whole, these regulations will significantly advance agricultural water quality management and Chesapeake Bay restoration.

Over the last seven years, we have invested in efforts to improve the health of the bay, setting goals for its recovery and implementing plans that will ensure that the bay is healthy for generations to come. To date, we have met or exceeded many of those goals. From wastewater treatment plant upgrades, to cover crops, to septics, to storm water, to oyster sanctuaries and aquaculture, to crab harvest curbs, to protection of the menhaden — these have been years of increased investment and increased action.

Our work hasn't been easy, but together, we have been able to make progress in the great work of restoring the Chesapeake Bay. We can only continue to move forward by making the tough decisions, showing a real commitment to genuinely changing the way we manage our land, our resources and the way we grow and develop. We have never before taken actions of the scale and breadth that we have now undertaken to save Maryland's groundwater and river systems of the bay watershed. We won't reach our next level of achievement by focusing on one group's reductions or one area's reductions more than another. We all need to work together toward a healthier, prosperous and more sustainable future.

Martin O'Malley, Annapolis

The writer, a Democrat, is Maryland's governor.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Environmental IssuesEnvironmental PollutionWater SupplyEnergy Saving
  • Fix the Conowingo before another Hurricane Agnes hits [Letter]
    Fix the Conowingo before another Hurricane Agnes hits [Letter]

    I read with interest commentator Anirban Basu's article touting what a great asset the Conowingo dam is and how it enhances the lives of all Marylanders ("Support the dam to support Md.," Oct. 13).

  • How about aerators to clean up the bay?
    How about aerators to clean up the bay?

    I just read the article about dredging the Susquehanna River, and I couldn't help thinking back to the Seoul Olympics where they used aerators to clean up their filthy water and they got it clean enough that all of the rowing events were held in very safe water ("Study: Dredging little help...

  • Damming the bay's pollution
    Damming the bay's pollution

    Here's the gist of the recent report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Conowingo Dam: Don't confuse a red herring with a red tide. The notion that all the pollution woes of the Chesapeake Bay could be heaped on one 86-year-old hydroelectric facility on the Lower Susquehanna River was...

  • All Maryland's waterways deserve protection
    All Maryland's waterways deserve protection

    The Clean Water Act has brought progress to the Chesapeake Bay, but in order to continue the bay on the path to success we must protect all the waterways in Maryland, including the Anacostia River ("Close Clean Water Act loophole," Nov. 12).

  • Support Clean Water Act
    Support Clean Water Act

    On the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a new report from Environment America, "Waterways Restored," highlights the success the law has meant for the Anacostia River, taking it from a state of horrific pollution to giving some hope that it will be safe for swimming and fishing in little...

  • Hogan needs to reverse O'Malley's onerous farm rules
    Hogan needs to reverse O'Malley's onerous farm rules

    In what will be seen as one of soon-to-be ex-Gov. Martin O'Malley's parting shots to the incoming Hogan administration, Mr. O'Malley is pushing through new regulations controlling how farmers fertilize their land ("O'Malley rushes to propose new pollution rules," Nov. 15). Never mind the fact...

  • Dam cleanup too costly
    Dam cleanup too costly

    Regarding the recent commentary about the Conowingo Dam ("Maryland can enforce dam cleanup," Nov. 19), Bob Irvin is correct for the most part. However, let's keep in mind that the Conowingo is a man-made obstruction to sediment, leaves and tree logs that Mother Nature really intended to go to...

  • Denying Conowingo permit won't clean bay
    Denying Conowingo permit won't clean bay

    While I understand the concern about accumulated nutrient buildup in the sediment upstream of the Conowingo Dam posing a hazard to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, as an engineer I do not see what the operation of the dam's power station has anything to do with it ("Maryland can enforce dam...

Comments
Loading