Topic/Outline#1 The Effects of Non-point Source Pollution on the Chesapeake Bay: Bay

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This discussion topic submitted by Sara Fegel ( at 3:19 PM on 3/27/02. Additions were last made on Monday, April 29, 2002.

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary unique to the United States being once called “the immense protein factory” (Boesch et. al. 2001). It is the largest estuary in the United States having 150 tributaries (Karuppiah and Gupta 2996), a length of 300+ km, and a total tidal water area of 11000 km2 (Boesch et. al. 2001). The bay watershed includes the District of Columbia and the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia (Harman-Fetcho et. al. 1999). Due to the complexity of the watershed, the Chesapeake Bay becomes even more vulnerable to disturbance. “The Chesapeake Bay estuarine drainage area receives the highest pesticide application of any coastal area in the USA…” (Harman-Fetcho et. al. 1999). Although agricultural practices have contributed a large portion of pollutants into the bay, large urban areas such as Baltimore, MD and Washington DC lie on the drainage basin of the bay (Harman-Fetcho et. al. 1999) and contribute other non-point source pollutants into the water. Pollutants have been long taking their toll on the bay ecosystem and have damaged once pristine waters and a number of valuable organisms such as the oyster populations and the blue-crab populations. These pollutants not only have been affecting the wildlife but also have begun to affect those responsible for much of the degradation, humans.


I. Introduction
a. Background of Chesapeake Bay
i. Watershed area
ii. Original settlement
II. Background on Chesapeake Bay
a. Settlement
b. Past uses
c. Current uses
III. Non-point source pollution
a. What is it
b. Causes
c. Human influence
d. Types of sources
IV. Chesapeake Bay and Non-point source pollution
a. Causes to Bay
i. Nutrient
1. nitrogen
2. phosphorous
ii. Human pressure
1. agricultural
iii. development
b. Effect on Bay ecosystem
i. Algal blooms
1. oysters
2. blue crabs
ii. seagrass
c. Public health concerns
i. Disease
ii. Drinking water
V. Solutions
a. Programs implemented
b. Education
c. Who is involved
d. Asian oyster
VI. Progress/Success
a. Regulations
b. Community involvement
c. Farmers


Boesch, D.F. 2000. Measuring the health of the Chesapeake Bay: toward integration and prediction. Environmental Research 82:134-142.

Boesch, D.F., R.B. Brinsfield, and R.E. Magnien. 2001. Chesapeake Bay eutrophication: scientific understanding, ecosystem restoration, and challenges for agriculture. Journal of Environmental Quality 30:303-320.

Burke, T.A., J.S. Litt, and M.A. Fox. 2000. Linking public health and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Environmental Research 82:143-149.

Harman-Fetcho, J.A., L.L. McConnell, and J.E. Baker. 1999. Agricultural pesticides in the Patuxent River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Journal of Environmental Quality 28:928-938.

Jordan, T.E., D.L. Correll, and D.E. Weller. 1997. Effects of agriculture on discharges of nutrients from the coastal plain watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay. Journal of Environmental Quality 26:836-848.

Karuppiah, M. and G. Gupta. 1996. Impact of non-point source pollution on pore waters of two Chesapeake Bay tributaries. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety

Pionke, H.B., W.J. Gburek, and A.N. Sharpley. 2000. Critical source area controls on water quality in an agricultural watershed located in the Chesapeake Basin. Ecological Engineering 14:325-335.

Staver, K.W. and R.B. Brinsfield. 2001. Agriculture and water quality on the Maryland Eastern Shore: where do we go from here? Bioscience 51:859-868.

Woodard, C. 2001. Saving the Chesapeake. E 12:20-23.

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