Website tracks progress of Chesapeake Bay restoration

Staff and wire report

RICHMOND, Va. — A Harrisburg-based environmentalist said he thinks a new website will spur his fellow Pennsylvanians to do more to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Norman Wood Bridge and the Holtwood Dam are shown on the Susquehanna River. The river has long and important history in the immediate region and beyond.

Called ChesapeakeProgress, the website gives visitors an overview of the multi-state effort to clean up the bay after decades of neglect. It shows goals and outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement involving the states of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia; and the District of Columbia.

ChesapeakeStat - ChesapeakeProgress

The agreement is aimed at limiting urban and rural pollution from flowing into the bay. The bay’s water has become so polluted, vast areas are called “dead zones” because they are devoid of life.

The aim of the agreement is to clean up the bay and help restore marine life such as oysters, blue crabs and other species.

Harry Campbell, executive director of the Pennsylvania Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said this website will let visitors track the progress made by Pennsylvania in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and compare it to other states who are a part of the agreement.

"This issue started back in the 1980s," he said. "Pennsylvania has promised to implement change, but has failed time and time again. It doesn't have to be this way.

Campbell said he thinks ChesapeakeProgress will help educate Pennsylvanians on the responsibilities they have in helping with the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

"This effort started in earnest," he said. "We have a plan. We have a blueprint. We need to implement it, and we need to stick to it."