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Efforts To Reduce Pollution Into Chesapeake Bay Falling Behind

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Reducing water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay has come in fits and starts.
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Reducing water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay has come in fits and starts.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says the states surround the Bay are reducing pollution, but may have a hard time meeting the levels they're aiming for by a 2017 deadline.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, along with the Choose Clean Water Coalition, analyzed data from the District of Columbia and the Bay states over the past two years in their efforts to live up to the joint federal and state Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

Foundation President Will Baker says much of the progress in reducing pollution comes from continuing efforts to improve sewage treatment in the watershed.

"It's starting to work, pollution is being reduced, and signs of a modestly, modestly healthier bay are emerging," Baker says.

Among those signs, Baker says, are shrinking dead zones and the return of bay grasses in some areas.

But in 2010 the jurisdictions around the bay agreed to a restoration plan that aimed for completion in 2025, with 60 percent of water quality improvements expected by 2017.

"That will be difficult to achieve unless the states get very serious about additional pollution reduction," Baker says.

Baker says that means increased efforts to curb agricultural runoff, polluted urban runoff, and air pollution.

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