BALTIMORE — Grass-roots environmental groups are urging newly elected political leaders to take seriously the task of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay or risk losing it as a thriving ecosystem.
River-protection advocates representing Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., have signed a Declaration for Our Watersheds, which calls on state and federal officials to honor cleanup commitments outlined in the Chesapeake 2000 pact. In that agreement, officials pledged to reduce pollution from sewage treatment plants and from farm and storm-water runoff by 2010.
Many pollution-reduction goals are not on pace to be met, mostly because of a lack of money, said David Bancroft, the president of the Alliance of the Chesapeake Bay, an advocacy group that organized the declaration.
For instance, Bancroft said, states in the watershed have planted only 5,000 miles of riparian forest buffers -- far short of the 45,000-mile goal for the bay and its rivers by 2010.