Essay On Chesapeake Bay Watershed

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The effect of agricultural runoff in the Chesapeake Bay watershed It is almost impossible to turn on the news without hearing about the turmoil of pollution, and how it is negatively affecting life worldwide. But have you stopped to think about how pollution is directly affecting your daily lives? Water is the heartbeat of all life, and without it nothing could thrive. Odds are, if you live within the northern mid-atlantic you get some or all of your water from the Chesapeake Bay, or one of its watersheds. Years of agricultural runoff from large industrial farms has lead to contamination of the Bay, endangering not only the lives of the wildlife, but also our own. If nothing is done to reverse the pollution problem in the Chesapeake Bay,…show more content…
However, an overabundance of some nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, impairs water quality. “Agriculture is the largest source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.” quotes the Washington Post (Baker, 2015). About 50% of phosphorus and 40% of nitrogen dumped into the bay stems from agricultural runoff. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, “Each year, roughly 300 million pounds of polluting nitrogen reaches the Chesapeake Bay—about six times the amount that reached the bay in the 1600s.”( The major sources of the excess nutrients comes from over fertilization of crops with animal manure seeping into waterways, and animals having direct access to waters where waste is carried into the watershed (Baker, 2015). Prior to industrialization, the forests used to serve as buffer zones from the farms to naturally sift out much of the excess nutrients. With the growth of population, farms, and factories, thousands of acres of forest has been leveled, eliminating the natural barrier. Along with the with forest loss, the use of pesticides and chemicals has degraded the water so much that the Bay is currently on the Environmental Protection Agency 's "dirty waters" index.
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