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Farm Forward: How Chesapeake Bay Farms Can Improve Water Quality, Mitigate Climate Change, Create a More Resilient Future, and Support Jobs and Local Economies

February 15, 2022

This report highlights the multiple benefits of agricultural conservation practices essential to restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. It examines practices that reduce pollution, combat climate change, improve soil health and farmers' bottom lines, and boost local economies. Measures such as these are especially relevant now as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rolls out multiple initiatives promoting climate smart agriculture and Congress has started hearing on the 2023 Farm Bill with a review of USDA conservation programs.

2021 Chesapeake Bay State of the Blueprint: Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia

January 7, 2022

Time is running out. A healthy Bay, clean streams, and resilient rivers are at risk without a major acceleration in pollution reduction.Less than four years remain to the 2025 implementation deadline for the historic Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint—our last, best chance to save the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Its success is critical to our region's health, economy, outdoor heritage, and quality of life. Make no mistake, the Blueprint is working, but much work remains in a short amount of time.Our State of the Blueprint report looks at one question: Are the Bay states on track to reduce pollution by the Blueprint's 2025 deadline?Based on our assessment of progress in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, which together account for roughly 90 percent of the Bay's pollution, the answer collectively is 'no.' If progress continues at its current pace, the Bay partnership will not achieve the Blueprint by 2025.

The Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up the Chesapeake

October 6, 2014

Information on the economic benefits of environmental improvement is an important consideration for anyone (firms, organizations, government agencies, and individuals) concerned about the cost-effectiveness of changes in management designed to achieve that improvement. In the case of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment), these benefits would accrue due to improvements in the health, and therefore productivity, of land and water in the watershed. These productivity changes occur both due to the outcomes of the TMDL and state implementation plans, also known as a "Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint" itself (i.e., cleaner water in the Bay) as well as a result of the measures taken to achieve those outcomes that have their own beneficial side effects. All such changes are then translated into dollar values for various ecosystem services, including water supply, food production, recreation, aesthetics, and others. By these measures, the total economic benefit of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is estimated at $22.5 billion per year (in 2013 dollars), as measured as the improvement over current conditions, or at $28.2 billion per year (in 2013 dollars), as measured as the difference between the Clean Water Blueprint and a business-as-usual scenario. (Due to lag times—it takes some time for changes in land management to result in improvements in water quality, the full measure of these benefits would begin to accrue sometime after full implementation of the Blueprint.) These considerable benefits should be considered alongside the costs and other economic aspects of implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

2012 State of the Bay Report

January 9, 2013

In the 2012 State of the Bay report, five of 13 indicators improved, seven stayed the same, and only one declined. Overall, the score advanced one point since it was last issued in 2010, when it jumped three points. That is an improvement of over 10 percent in less than five years.

The Economic Argument for Cleaning Up the Chesapeake Bay and its Rivers

May 1, 2012

Failure to "Save the Bay" threatens the Bay's value as an economic driver. Conversely, investing in clean-water technology creates jobs, generates economic activity, and saves money in the long run. Hence, the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake is essential for a healthy and vibrant regional economy. This CBF report takes a close look at the relationship between clean water and the Bay region's local economies.

2014 State of the Bay Report

December 23, 2010

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's 2014 State of the Bay report presents a mix of good and bad news. The great news: Water quality indicator scores have improved significantly over the 2010 and 2008 scores. The worrisome news: Blue crabs and striped bass are not doing well. The declines in these metrics and in the phosphorus indicator offset the improvements in water quality. Overall, the 2014 score is unchanged from 2012.

2010 State of the Bay Report

December 23, 2010

A Bay Health Index of only 31 versus a score of 100 when Colonial settlers arrived is a sad testament to how we have treated a National Treasure. The index has increased three points since it was last issued for 2008. Eight of CBF's 13 State of the Bay indicators have improved this year. In 2008, Maryland and Virginia set science-based regulations to curtail female crab catch, and this year's crab score leapt by 15 points. Underwater grasses, once devastated by pollution, are doing much better. That indicator score advanced by two. The dissolved oxygen, buffers, water clarity, and toxics scores showed measurable progress as well.

On the Brink: Chesapeake's Native Oysters

July 1, 2010

This CBF report finds that Chesapeake Bay oysters are developing natural resistance to the diseases that have so devastated the Bay's oyster population in recent decades and calls for additional sanctuaries to repopulate the species.

Bad Water 2009: The Impact on Human Health in the Chesapeake Bay Region

July 7, 2009

The report links pollution to human health risks and calls on the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act now to reduce that pollution and the potential threats to human health.