Op-Ed: An epic victory in the battle for free-flowing rivers
It’s been a long, difficult road to victory for the conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
At first, environmentalists worried that it would be impossible to protect the fragile Chesapeake Bay watershed because of the powerful political influence of big industry.
But in this war, the “little people” have become the big ones, and the “little people” are winning.
Environmental defenders were able to achieve a historic victory in the battle for the Chesapeake watershed.
More than 80 percent of all Chesapeake Bay waters are now protected and free-flowing.
We’ve also succeeded in securing commitments from two of the largest industrial polluters: ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips.
There’s a new way to measure the success of this struggle: we can look to the Chesapeake Bay watershed for guidance.
In 2012, the Bay’s ecosystem produced an amazing record of achievement.
For more than 100 years, the Chesapeake Bay watershed has been a source of pride for its residents and a source of the region’s economic growth.
Its natural beauty, its ecosystem diversity, the diverse range of its wildlife and its commercial fishing industries have inspired generations of future generations.
But the region is in crisis.
A long-standing trend is transforming the Chesapeake Bay into an open-dead-end stream.
In essence, the Chesapeake Bay watershed has become an ecosystem that is no longer able to support its natural freshwater ecosystem functions.
We are now facing a situation that is at once catastrophic and completely avoidable.
By 2025, the Great Lakes region as a whole—from Chicago to Detroit—may be facing the prospect of the largest municipal water-supply problem in North American history.
The impact of pollution from urban, industrial