Chesapeake Bay Clean-Up A Concern For Farmers, Watermen - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Chesapeake Bay Clean-Up A Concern For Farmers, Watermen

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DELMARVA – Six states, including Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, have signed the latest agreement on fighting pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

It's a big step for clean-up, but it could mean more regulations for the farming community.

Officials with the Maryland Farm Bureau say they are already at 130 percent of their requirements for the clean-up, but they are still often unfairly blamed for pollution in the bay.

Part of Monday's agreement is to see significant improvement in the bay by 2025, but farm bureau officials say they are worried about having the support to continue their efforts.

"We believe it's important that the state and federal government honor their commitment to provide funding to make sure that farmers can continue to meet the goals of the bay cleanup program and implement these expensive strategies on their farms," says Valerie Connelly, executive director of the bureau.

Connelly says one of their biggest regulatory concerns, the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) is still on the horizon. An economic impact study is now being conducted, but those findings will not be available until mid-July.

Meanwhile by the water, among the ten goals signed into Monday's agreement, is a commitment to the bay's crab and oyster populations.

With a blue crab shortage this year, it could be a benefit to watermen, but some say they are not too quick to get excited.

Scott Todd, a waterman in Cambridge, Maryland, says he has not seen any efforts work so far, and in terms of oyster populations, the damage may already be done. Todd and a number of watermen in Dorchester County are reportedly in the process of fighting a project with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, that would put thousands of tons of fossilized oyster shells into the water to help clean up the bay.

Watermen are reportedly actively pushing against it, and feel it will only harm, not help oyster growth.

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