How does agriculture affect the chesapeake bay


Agriculture is the largest contributor of nutrient and sediment pollution to the Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia. The Bay is located in the Mid-Atlantic region and is primarily separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Delmarva Peninsula with its mouth located between Cape Henry and Cape Charles. With its …

, accounting for 42 percent of the nitrogen, 58 percent of the phosphorous, and 58 percent of the sediment that entered the Bay in 2012. Reducing agricultural pollution is an important step in protecting the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Agriculture is the single largest source of nutrient and sediment pollution entering the Chesapeake Bay. According to 2015 estimates from the Bay Program, agriculture contributes 42 percent of the nitrogen, 55 percent of the phosphorous and 60 percent of the sediment entering the Bay.


Why is agriculture important to the Chesapeake Bay?

Agriculture is the single largest source of nutrient and sediment pollution entering the Chesapeake Bay. But well-managed agricultural lands can offer the Bay watershed a number of benefits and services, including restored rivers and streams and valuable insect, bird and animal habitat.

Do farms pollute the Chesapeake Bay?

While farms are the leading source of pollution entering Chesapeake Bay, they are not the only source. Urban and suburban areas contribute large quantities of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment —the three main pollutants that cloud Bay waters and cause algal blooms and dead zones.

How does development affect the Chesapeake Bay region?

As more people move into the Chesapeake Bay region, development has turned forests, farms and other landscapes into subdivisions, shopping centers and parking lots. Overview. As more people move into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, more land is cleared for the development of roads, homes and businesses.

How does precipitation affect the Chesapeake Bay?

Much of the Chesapeake region is experiencing greater precipitation extremes and a 10 percent increase in average precipitation. The increasing precipitation and storm intensities will lead to greater volumes of runoff and associated toxic chemicals and nutrient pollution in Bay waters.


What affects the Chesapeake Bay?

Unfortunately, the Chesapeake Bay faces serious problems due to human activities, including polluted stormwater runoff, over-fertilization and pollution from animal wastes, deforestation, wetland destruction from agricultural, urban, and suburban development, and sea level rise caused by global climate change.

How does over fertilization affect the Chesapeake Bay?

When homeowners apply too much fertilizer to their lawns, the nutrients can run off into local storm drains when it rains. Excess nutrients can also seep into groundwater, which eventually makes its way into the Bay’s streams and rivers. Turf grass is now the largest crop in Maryland.

Does the Chesapeake Bay provide opportunities for agricultural production?

Agricultural lands compose nearly 30% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which includes the District of Columbia and portions of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. This region has more than 83,000 farms responsible for more than $10 billion in agricultural production each year.

How are nutrients affecting the Chesapeake Bay?

Plants and animals need nutrients to survive. But when too many nutrients enter rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay, they fuel the growth of algae blooms and create conditions that are harmful for fish, shellfish and other underwater life. In fact, excess nutrients are the main cause of the Bay’s poor health.

How does agriculture cause land pollution?

Agriculture and livestock activities pollute soil through excessive application of pesticides and fertilizers, the use of untreated wastewater for irrigation, and the use of manure and sewage sludge with high antibiotic, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and heavy metal content.

What pollutes the Chesapeake Bay?

Air and water pollution are intricately linked. Of particular concern to the Chesapeake region are airborne nitrogen and chemical contaminants such as mercury. These airborne pollutants come from large point sources like power plants and industrial facilities, vehicles, and agricultural sources.

How does agriculture affect a watershed?

How do farms affect watersheds? Land uses in rural areas affect water quality in other ways: Fertilizers and pesticides from crop fields are often found in runoff in rural areas. Septic systems that are not properly constructed or maintained can send bacteria into streams.

How much of the land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is used for agriculture?

Across the Chesapeake Bay watershed, 23 percent of the land is used for agriculture and almost 12 percent has been developed. Most of the remaining land is forested.

What was farmed in Chesapeake?

According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), there are more than 83,000 farm operations here, comprising nearly 30 percent of the 64,000-square-mile region and producing more than 50 commodities, including corn, soybeans, wheat, fruits and …

How does nitrogen affect the Chesapeake Bay?

Excess nitrogen is one of the leading causes of the Chesapeake Bay’s poor health. When nitrogen and phosphorus enter rivers, streams and the Bay, they fuel the growth of algae blooms that lead to low-oxygen “dead zones” that are harmful to fish, shellfish and other aquatic life.

What causes nutrient pollution in Chesapeake Bay?

The largest source of pollution to the Bay comes from agricultural runoff, which contributes roughly 40 percent of the nitrogen and 50 percent of the phosphorus entering the Chesapeake Bay.

How does agricultural waste lead to eutrophication?

Agricultural waste is a main cause of this because that waste contains many chemical fertilisers in it which were used before in the fields for plants growth . These fertilisers contain specific amount of nitrogen and phosphorous and when these run off on the surface and joins water source ,they lead to eutrophication.

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