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The Latest Strategies For Bay Clean-up

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science via flickr

The Chesapeake Bay Program, that multi-state, multi-federal agency partnership working on bay restoration, released Monday the latest set of draft strategies to guide the next steps in restoring America’s largest estuary to the health it once enjoyed.

As expected, it includes calls for more effective management of blue crab harvests, protecting restored oyster reefs and getting better control of storm water run-off. But it also has some new wrinkles.

For the first time since the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement was inked in 1983, the document mentions climate change and the need to prepare low lying areas for the inevitable sea level rise that will come with it. Nick DiPasquale, head of the Chesapeake Bay Program, said the section was included because the topic came up repeatedly during public meetings with scientists and others.

The strategies also take into account existing healthy waters within the bay region.

"It’s the first time we’ve ever acknowledged that there are a lot of really great, clean places from New York to West Virginia to Pennsylvania and everywhere else in between," said Mark Bryer, head of the Nature Conservancy’s Chesapeake Bay Program. "And we, collectively as a partnership, want to protect these places."

The 25 management strategies are the next step under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and will be open for public comment for the next 45 days. They should become final in July.