We Can’t Enjoy a Fouled Bay
Dear Bay Weekly:
Not only do we need to greatly expand access to the Chesapeake in order to promote advocacy for the Bay [Letters: Vol. xv, No 37]. We also must find solutions to the pollution so we can enjoy the Bay. Our Chesapeake is not only a spectacular visual treasure; it is also a recreational boating destination and a major source of seafood delicacies.
All of this is imperiled by the unsolved pollution problem.
Citizens and civic leaders have long lamented that we lack the political will and have no sense of urgency toward solving the Bay’s pollution problems. It’s time to stop whining and to start demanding that our leaders take off the gloves and initiate both the corrective and punitive actions necessary to restore the Bay’s water quality.
Here’s how our leaders can start putting teeth into the enforcement and penalties. Publicly identify
1. The exact sewage treatment plants that are causing the nutrient problems.
2. The exact industries, developers and landowners contributing to sedimentation and pollution.
3. The farms that are contributing to the nutrient and runoff problems.
In each case, list the owner, location and contact information. Identify the actions necessary to correct problems and what objectives have been established, along with timelines. Publish an annual status update for each.
J. Philip Ferrara, Arnold
Oyster Reef Endangered
Dear Bay Weekly:
An environmental travesty is set to occur in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Navy, after postponing the announcement for seven weeks, awarded a contract to demolish Ammunition Mooring Facility Three (AMF-3). The lives of over one million native oysters and other important biota that have made their home on the underwater structure of the Navy’s AMF-3 will be destroyed.
With the Commonwealth of Virginia’s nearly depleted inventory of spawning oyster reefs in tidal waters, this action is not only morally wrong, it is contrary to the struggle to restore the native oyster in the tidal waters of Virginia.
AMF-3 was designed and built to provide safe haven for up to six standard Navy ammunition barges in the often rough waters of Hampton Roads. AMF-3 has been standing for 25 years but has not functioned in its designed mode in the past 10.
Recent underwater inspection by Commonwealth Pro-Dive and scientific evaluation and oyster sampling by scientists of Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the College of William and Mary reported record native oyster densities per square meter of bottom.
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has endorsed this destructive action at the same time it is asking Virginia taxpayers to fund the $2.5 million recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Committee for Native Oyster Restoration next year. To duplicate the oyster reef that AMF-3 is would cost from four to six million dollars, and we would lose the current spawning capability that is happening as you read.
If you think wasting a functional oyster reef is a bad idea, call Sen. John Warner or Sen. James Webb (202-224-4024) or Rep. Jo Ann Davis (202-225-4261).
Rappahannock Preservation Society knows the Navy always tries to do the right thing. Demolishing AMF-3 is not the right thing.
Robert W. Jensen, Topping, Va.: Rappahannock Preservation Society