Baltimore Sun

A Presidential Pardon for the Chesapeake Bay

Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor writes that Aberdeen Proving Ground takes its responsibility to the Chesapeake Bay seriously. "We recognize our streams and rivers do not stop at our boundaries, our more than 300 bald eagles are not restricted to our airspace ... "

Unless you work for the government, you might have forgotten Monday is Presidents’ Day. The holiday originally celebrated George Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22. But today it is an opportunity to honor the contributions of all our presidents and their impact on our lives.

For the 18 million Americans who live in the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay watershed spanning six states, one major recent presidential action was Executive Order 13508. Issued in 2009, President Barack Obama’s order recognized the bay as a national treasure and consolidated state and federal cleanup efforts.

Since being mired in pollution in the 1970s, the bay has made steady progress, reaching its healthiest level in more than 30 years in mid-2018. Sadly, the punishing rains we experienced in the second half of the year set it back significantly, as large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus rushed in and became fuel for destructive algae.

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