Survey of Chesapeake Bay watershed residents may save the bay

Blacksburg, Va. -- With the population of the Chesapeake Bay watershed projected to increase by more than one million people during the next 15 years, efforts to educate each citizen about their impact on the bay is becoming more critical. To address this issue, the Conservation Management Institute of Virginia Tech conducted a survey of the current residents of the bay watershed as part of an effort to help achieve the restoration goals of the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Julie McClafferty, human dimensions division coordinator for the Conservation Management Institute, led the survey with support from Virginia Tech's Center for Survey Research. "The protection and restoration of the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is perhaps one of the greatest and most complex large-scale conservation efforts of all time," says McClafferty.

The large geographic area of the bay is home to a wide range of natural resources and a large, growing population of diverse people with varied interests and backgrounds. "Because the residents of the watershed are intricately involved in the processes and events that occur within the watershed, working with these people to achieve the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Program is inevitable and essential," explained McClafferty.

Two years ago, the governors of the bay states and the Environmental Protection Agency signed Chesapeake 2000, a $19 billion cooperative plan to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution and to improve water quality by 2010. The plan calls for steep reductions in nutrient pollution from wastewater treatment facilities and urban and agricultural lands to help insure the future of the bay.

Since 1984, the population in the parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania in the bay watershed have reached about 16 million--an increase of 33 percent. While the bay has seen a major growth in development, revenues have remained stagnant. With budget deficits plaguing the bay re

Contact: Julie McClafferty
Virginia Tech

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