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Draft watershed agreement up for public comment

We've been trying to clean up the Chesapeake Bay since the 70's, with various government agreements and legislation.

The newest set of goals and policy ideas are now up for public comment and input.

According to Maryland.newszap.com, "the Chesapeake Bay Program is seeking public input on a new agreement that will guide partners in the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and recommit stakeholders to conservation success.

The draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement establishes a series of goals and outcomes that address water quality, fisheries and habitat, land conservation, public access and environmental literacy. Signatories will include the states of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Delaware; the District of Columbia; the Chesapeake Bay Commission; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

By signing the agreement, partners will commit to taking the steps needed to attain a healthy watershed: to lower nutrient and sediment pollution; to sustain blue crabs, oysters and forage fish; to restore wetlands and underwater grass beds; to conserve farmland and forests; and to boost public access to and education about the environment."

"The goals and outcomes that are outlined in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement are interrelated: improvements in water quality can mean healthier fish and shellfish; the conservation of land can mean more habitat for wildlife; and a boost in environmental literacy can mean a rise in stewards of the Bay’s resources,” said Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale. “By signing this agreement, Bay Program partners will acknowledge that our environment is a system and that these goals will support public health and the health of the watershed as a whole.”

The draft is available here. The Bay Program welcomes comments on this draft through March 17, 2014. Interested parties can offer input at the March 13 meeting of the Management Board or by submitting an online comment or an email to the Bay Program.

Sustaining the Bay for all of our different uses, from commercial fishing, to recreational boating should be a priority in our environmental policy making. Making our thoughts and comments known to the policy makers is a great way to have a voice in what happens to our beloved bay.