Good News and Bad about the Bay

Let’s see, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine says Virginia expects to meet key goals for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. From yesterday’s press release:

“…Kaine today announced Virginia’s largest wastewater treatment facilities and industries within the Chesapeake Bay watershed expect to meet their nutrient reduction goals by the end of 2010. Facilities will reduce the amount of nutrients in wastewater by participating in Virginia’s nutrient trading program and installing pollution control technology. …

“This will be a huge step forward for Virginians and the Chesapeake Bay,” Governor Kaine said.

In other news the Chesapeake Bay Foundation says in its annual “State of the Bay” report that the condition of the Bay is getting worse. Reports the Virginian-Pilot:

On a scale of 1 to 100, with 70 representing full recovery, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation gave the Bay a score of 28 this year, down from 29 last year. That means the mid-Atlantic estuary remains in serious trouble, choked by excessive nutrients, too much algae and dirt, and a lack of oxygen in the water.

“We must all voice our outrage so that those with the power to effect change – the governors and legislators at the state and federal levels – do more to implement the known solutions of reducing pollution and restoring nature’s filters,” the foundation’s president, William C. Baker, wrote in a letter accompanying the report.

Will the real Chesapeake Bay please stand up?

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27 responses to “Good News and Bad about the Bay”

  1. Groveton Avatar

    I have been fishing on the Cheasapeake Bay and Potomac River since I was a child over 30 years ago. I have fished those waters literally hundreds of times. From that perspective …

    The Potomac River (north of Mt Vernon) has experienced unbelievable improvement. From a silty, slimy polluted river where only catfish and white perch could be caught to a stunning body of water full of largemouth bass, yellow perch, small mouth bass and even the odd rockfish. Just incredible.

    The Bay (north or Pt Lookout) has definitely changed but it’s hard to say whether the change was overall good or overall bad. In the mid 1970s rockfish (striped bass to the rest of the country) was king. They were big and they were plentiful. You didn’t have to go far out of Solomon’s Island or Point Lookout to get on the fish. There were some blueffish but rock was the fish to catch. Then, almost one day, the rockfish vanished. Maryland put draconian laws into effect regarding rockfish. It was illegal to possess any striped bass. Boats were searched by natural resources police when they came ashore looking for rockfish. Oddly, the bluefish were everywhere. We’d glide into schools of breaking blues and catch them until our arms hurt. Today, the world has reversed again. Plenty of rockfish – and big ines too. There are per day angler limits but almost everyone who knows what they are doing can catch stripers. But the blue fish are gone. I haven’t caught a bluefish in the Bay in years.

    The Bay is changing but it’s hard to say whether it’s getting better or worse. Since I see rockfish as a more sensitive fish (ecologically speaking) than bluefish I thought it was getting better. But the bluefish are gone and I don’t know why.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Here’s my problem with CBF’s clarion call tomes:

    Think about where you live.

    Tell me how your place RANKS in terms of impacts to the Bay.

    Tell me what the top priority is for your area – that you should lobby your elected to deal with as your locality’s share of cleaning up the bay.

    Tell me the top 5 sections of rivers that are most in need of nitrogen/phosphorous reductions.

    Here’s what our local river group urges members to do in response to the “D” Bay report card:

    * Use recycled paper, old newspapers, or reusable cloth bags for wrapping presents

    * Buy a native evergreen (e.g., white pine) for your Christmas tree and then plant it in your yard after the holidays

    * Send e-cards or recycled cards this holiday season

    * Join a river organization

    * Take your family on a day trip to visit your local river or park

    I’m not picking on them but I’m showing that we have the CBF running around saying the sky is falling and hardly anyone including the advocacy groups can tell you the specifics of what your own locality should be doing.

    You just don’t make much of an impact this way.

    It’s a bad strategy.. basically make people feel bad… tell them to donate lots of money to relieve their guilt.. and go twiddle their thumbs while lots of tax money and donations are ground up in the “save the bay” machine.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    as a long time sailor on the bay and it s tributaries, and as a chemist, I use the slap in the face rule.

    When the spray slaps you in the face, does it taste like water or chemicals?

    You just don’t make much of an impact this way.

    It’s a bad strategy.. basically make people feel bad… tell them to donate lots of money to relieve their guilt.. and go twiddle their thumbs while lots of tax money and donations are ground up in the “save the bay” machine.

    Some places have improved, some have not.


    But Larry’s comment:

    “You just don’t make much of an impact this way.

    It’s a bad strategy.. basically make people feel bad… tell them to donate lots of money to relieve their guilt.. and go twiddle their thumbs while lots of tax money and donations are ground up in the “save the bay” machine.”

    Pretty well summarizes my feelings about a lot of groups.

    I don’t think the benefits are there for the costs, and I don’t like the direction they are going.

    I realize that advocacy groups are in the advocacy business, and not the cleanup business, but I still think they ought to use half their budget for actual work.

    If CBF just took all the hot air they create and used it to blow bubbles in the Bay, you could raise the xygen level quite a bit.


  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    My view is that the Bay can be “saved” if the public is mobilized and knows what needs to be done.

    I “define” “Saving the Bay” to be what CBF and the EPA say it is and that is the 2010 Reduction Goals.

    If you tell people in Faquier what Facquier needs to do – those folks will go to their BOS and rag on them to do what needs to be done.

    Ditto for Fredericksburg, Richmond, Lynchburg.

    Keep a Report Card.

    Show where Fredericksburg Ranks.

    Show exactly what Fredericksburg needs to do – to have a beneficial impact.

    If the farmland upstream of Fredericksburg is the problem – tell folks it is and show them the data.

    If Stormwater is the problem then tell folks it is (and it is.. see the EPA report:

    If Fredericksburg needs to make mandatory – pervious paving – then say so .. and let those in Fredericksburg who care – go whack on their elected to do it.

    What we have right now is essentially … “the sky is falling… send money .. and tell your elected to send tax dollars”.

    this is a wrong strategy if you really want to accomplish something and you need the public to be part of the solution.

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    September 2007 – EPA Report:

    Development Growth Outpacing Progress in Watershed Efforts to Restore the Chesapeake Bay

    excerpts: development is increasing nutrient and sediment loads at rates faster than restoration efforts are reducing them.

    Developed lands contribute less than one-third of the Bay loads but would require about two-thirds of the overall estimated restoration costs.

    About a third of the nitrogen delivered to the Bay comes from mobile and stationary air emission sources, such as automobiles and power plants. This air-delivered load is quickly swept by stormwater from the impervious surfaces that dominate developed lands …”

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    “If you tell people in Faquier what Facquier needs to do – those folks will go to their BOS and rag on them to do what needs to be done.”

    Who is going to pay for all this work to be done? Who benefits when it is over?

    the key phrase here seems to be “If you tell the people what needs to be done.”

    As I see it, that is what it all boils down to: getting control over other people. It is both the solution AND the problem, so unless it is done fairly, there will be opposition. Opposition slows down the progress we all want, so we might as well figure out what is fair up-front.

    It is going to cost money.

    “Developed lands contribute less than one-third of the Bay loads but would require about two-thirds of the overall estimated restoration costs.”

    I don’t know how you see it, but to me this says that we could better spend our money on the undeveloped areas: you would get more reduction for less cost.

    As soon as someone sends me money, I’ll get to work.


  7. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    What would you do?

    What are the most important things that Facquier could do to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous?

    What streams in Facquier are the ones that need to most attention?

    How does Facquier rank compared with other localities?

    Is Facquier a nitrogen/phosphorous “hot spot” or is it a non-factor?

    Where would you find the answers to the above questions?

    so .. wouldn’t you need to know some of the stuff above …before you collected your money and “went to work”?

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    As far as I know, You do not and cannot reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorous. They are fixed quantities that run in a cycle. All you can do is store it somewhere, where it will do less harm than it does in the Bay. Grow a lot of soybeans, and then bury them – in a salt mine.

    Building substantial houses out of wood, strangely enough, is an effective way to sequester the nitrogen in the wood for a hundred years or so. Letting it rot, or burn, out in the forest releases the nitrogen back to the environment.

    Phosphorous is effectively adsorbed by the clay in sediment, which is one reason the Susquehanna emits a lot of Nitrogen to the Bay, but not a lot of Phosphorous. The Phosphorous, it turns out, is effectively sequestered (for now) behind the Conowingo Dam. When the dam fails…..

    What I would do is rebuild the former ponds on the farm so that the runoff would be retained as long as possible. This would allow more groudwater recharge, and they would also act as effective sediment traps. Eventually, I could mine the sediment by cleaning out the ponds, and return it to the fields. That is an effective strategy on a small scale, but it is hard to do for the Conowingo dam.

    I seldom use artificial fertilizer: I can’t afford it. However I do apply lime to keep the Ph balanced. Consequently the Nitrogen benefit from my farm would be small, and I am at the head of the streams, so there is little capture for the people upstream of me. It is pretty much all natural here as it is.

    For me it probably isn’t a cost effective N-P mitigation strategy, but I would have the ponds, which have other uses. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a good strategy for a lot of other places around me. Unfortunately, dams have a bad reputation these days.

    And, building ponds needs engineering, heavy equipment, and permits, and a lot of running around on my part. There is, or used to be some help available for building ponds, but the help was not enough and the strings too many. The same goes for fencing streams to keep the cows out, as I understand it. Most people tell me it is just too hard, better to just string a little wire here and there when you have the time and money. Others have had acceptable experiences, but they were the ones with money to start with, so putting up a whole system all at once is less problem.

    On the other hand, I have no animals, and no runoff from animals, because I can’t afford the fence. Then again, I might have more income with the fence. More maintenance, too. It’s a chicken and egg problem.

    Nitrogen in the Bay, is a hard problem. You have many diffuse sources, and one big collector. To solve it you need to run entropy backwards, and that takes a lot of work. That work is either going to have to be profitable in itself, or someone is going to have to pay for it.

    If you really want to reduce Nitrogen in the Bay, spend the money in Pennsylvania. Maybe the thing to do is work on the collector instead of the sources. At some point you have to ask if you want to “do good” or solve the problem. Put up a bunch of windmills and use them to pump oxygen into the Bay through spargers. Then, when there is a lot of wind, generate power.

    I dunno, it beats me how you do this at any kind of cost, let alone an acceptable one, Put a lot of people in some other watershed?


  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


    if you can’t convert nitrogen to something else…

    then where does nitrogen fertilizer come from in the first place?

    did it get “created” from “something”?

    Where does the nitrogen extracted at wastewater treatment plants go to?

    Are you saying that the Tributary/Bay strategies of removing nitrogen is a ruse and we can’t really remove/reduce it in the environment?

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Not exactly. But it sure isn’t easy. We always have the same amount of Nitrogen on the planet, but not necessarily in the biosphere.

    One fundamental problem is that we are releasing a lot of nitrogen that had been sequestered in fossil fuels for a few million years. If/when we stop using fossile fuels, that will stop one way that nitrogen increases in the biosphere.

    Air is 80% Nitrogen, so when you burn something, especially at high temperature and pressure as in an IC engine, or with lightning, some N2 gets “burned” in the process and turns in NO NO2 and NO3 otherwise known as the NOXes . Depending on what else is floating around, like unburned hydrocarbons, particulates, and sulfuric acid, you get various reactions which result in organic nitrites or nitrates being washd out of the sky in precipitation.

    There are also bacteria which can convert atmospheric N2 to nitrites and then nitrates. Fertilizer plants create nitrites and nitrates from other sources, but the end result is the same.

    Once they get into the soil they either get used by plants or leach into the water. Nitrates are soluble, but in the soil they adsorb to particles and desorb so the actual transport is pretty slow. But, once they are out of the oxygen layer, not much happens except for some anerobic bacteria that convert nitrates to N2.

    I think that overall there is a shortage in this part of the cycle, otherwise we could convert it back to N2 in the atmosphere and stop worrying about it. We could create anaerobic ponds to increase this activity, but anaerobics stink to high heaven. When the Bay goes anerobic, this happens “naturally”. Same thing happens in ponds wetlands and other stagnant water.

    The plants are either eaten by humans, livestock, or wildlife, or they decay. In any of those cases the nitrogen goes back to the environment for the next loop. The only question is how fast.

    The way nitrogen got sequestered in coal and other fuels was that it was trapped in something like peat bogs. Peat bogs were plentiful in those days because the CO2 level was high and plants grew like crazy in the greenhouse gasses. They grew so fast that the first layers wer buried before they could decay, and return the nitrogen to the biosphere.

    That’s why I was only half kidding when I said grow a lot of soybeans and then bury them.

    So the amount of Nitrogen is what it is. The problem is when we have too much at one place and time. Call it Nitrogen congestion, if you will.

    Assume we had some magic way of preventing Nitrates from getting to the bay. We have “toll streams” that control entance to the Bay. What is going to happen to that Nitrate? It is going to cause something to grow someplace else, and whatever it is, will be eaten or decay, which delays the trip and makes it more “expensive” but it doesn’t change the end result.

    It is like putting meters on the on-ramps. Instead of having congestion (pollution) downtown, you have it on the ramps. That is pretty much what putting in the ponds on the farm would do: they would be meters on the on ramps. By recycling the water and sediment from the ponds, I would get more growth on the farm and delay but not prevent nitrogen (and silt) from entering the streams.

    But, sooner or later, all that extra growth is going somewhere, either to the horses I feed, or the firewood and timber I sell, or it lies there and rots, releasing the Nitrogen.

    Or, you could just decide that, Hey, the Bay is where Nitrogen gets sequestered, and actively turn it into a giant stinking bog.


  11. Anonymous Avatar

    Nitrogen fertilizer is usually made from natural gas. So it also comes from fossil fuels, and it is fundamentally a combustion process optimized to produce ammonia and urea.

    The only ay out of this is to convert more NO, NO2, and NO3 into N2. But you might not want too much of that, either. going up a few flights of stairs in 95% Nitrogen, would be a bear.

    It WILL go somewhere. But the Bay people don;t want it in their back yard.


  12. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “Once they get into the soil they either get used by plants “

    and then what happens to it?

    Question 2:

    Do you think the amount of nitrogen from natural sources is the same everywhere?

    Do you think the amount of Nitrogen in the Mississippi River, Mobile Bay, Pamilco Bay, and Penobscot Bay is essentially the same – because settlement patterns are not fundamentally any different?

    Why is the Chesapeake Bay “dying” and Mobile Bay or Corpus Christi Bay are not?

    Does it not have anything at all to do with Nitrogen and Phosphorous?

  13. Anonymous Avatar


    It gets used by plants or it leaches into the groundwater. The plants are either eaten by humans, livestock, or wildlife, or they decay. In any of those cases the nitrogen goes back to the environment for the next loop. The only question is how fast.

    If you grow wood and then build a house the nitrogen stays in the house for a hundred years or more -until the house burns down. Then the Nitrogen goes to the atmosphere again.

    If you grow feed, animals eat it and then….

    If you don’t feed it to the animals, it lies around in the woods until it rots (microbial animals eat it and then…..)

    Or it contribute mass to the next forest fire, and then ……

    It is always the same answer: Nitrate happens.

    #2. Don’t know, probably not. Desert plants require a lot less nitrogen, but then, there is very little desert runoff.

    I do know that the background level in natural streams is seldom above 1 mg/liter. It is a lot higher than that in agricultural areas.

    I think there are dead zones at the mouth of the Mississippi, and Mobile bay. Pamlico Bay and Penobscot Bay are different, I think. There are not major rivers flowing into Pamlico, and Penobscot water is cold. The nitrogen might still be there but things happen slower in cold temps. I doubt Penobscot is settled anything like DelMarVa, and there isn’t the same agriculture, either.

    Remember also that you could have low oxygen content in the water due to increased consumption (in turn due to excess nitrogen), or you could just have inadequate mixing. The tidal range in Penobscott Bay is aound 10 or 11 feet, but in Mobile bay it is only 1.5 feet, and less than that in much of the Chesapeake. Mobile Bay is more open to the Gulf than the Chesapeake is.

    Chesapeake definitely has more nitrogen than it can always use (oxygen depletion occurs in the summer), but the living things that depend on it might disagree that there is too much: until one of those algae blooms dies off and the oxygen disappears. It might be that the cheapest thing is to Aerate the Bay, but that is not a very satisfactory answer because it isn’t a “natural” solution. We forget that putrefication is natural, too.

    N an P are part of the problem, but there are also Toxics (including Viagara, antibiotics, antihistamines, etc.) and sediment.

    My theory is that a good part (not all) of the problem is that the Bay was once much deeper than it is now, and consequently the hydraulics, the habitats, and the temperatures have changed.

    All of that said, there is no excuse for the way some people fertilize their lawns, and then burn fossil fuels to mow it. We really don’t need 400HP passenger cars. But I don’t think we are going to freeze in the dark, nor do without milk and chickens.

    (BTW, Air pollution control on cars reduces hydrocarbon emmissions by burning a lean mix and burning very completely, in the catalytic converter if necessary. But this also increases the amount of NOX emitted.)

    But the problem is so big, and so expensive, that we need to make sure we spend on the best strategies first. I guess I’m cynical enough to believe that The CBF foundation is in the news business and the CYA business more than they are in the Cure the Bay business.

    Here is a question. Soybeans are a natural product, but we as humans “cause” a lot more of them than would result naturally. I’ve seen graphs that blame as much as half of the anthropogenic nitrogen on growing soybeans. If we cut fossil fuel and soybeans by 90%, how many humans will die off as a result?

    We use VSL (Value of a single life) calculations to figure the cost benefit of pollution rules, and those values are typically high, to help justify the rules and give us moral peace.

    Will we use the same values when the pendulum swings the other way?


  14. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    man…this is as hard as trying to plow through EMRs tomes…


    The simple question I was asking was – for equivalent settlement patterns – all things being equal – does more nitrogen/phosphorous “happen” in the Chesapeake Bay drainage than other drainages?

    and if the answer is no.. it’s equivalent.. then why is the Bay dying faster, worse, quicker than other “bays” ?

    and which streams and rivers in Facquier have the highest levels of nitrogen/phosphorous?

    What are the top 3 river segments in Virginia with the highest levels of nitrogen/phosphourous?

    If we have limited funds for cleanup, what are the priorities to remove the most for the bucks – best bang for the buck?

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    “ScienceDaily (Dec. 2, 2007) — Researchers at Wageningen University, Netherlands, have shown that a drop in atmospheric nitrogen deposition will slow down forest growth. At the same time they expect that a lower tree growth implies less carbon sequestration and thus a decrease in the sequestration of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. This may have a significant impact on the targets set in the Kyoto protocol.

    Researcher Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen University showed in model calculations that the carbon sequestration for all forests in The Netherlands may drop to 27 % of its present value. This reduced sequestration is expected as a result of pollution control policy strategies in all countries with present high nitrogen deposition, mainly located in Europe, North America and Asia.”

    So, there you have it. Increased Nitrate increases the CO2 uptake, and increased CO2 increases Nitrate sequestration, but if you fall short on either one, both suffer.

    It is hard to “win” a zero sum game.


  16. Anonymous Avatar

    “for equivalent settlement patterns – all things being equal – does more N-P “happen” in the Chesapeake Bay drainage than other drainages?”

    Yes and no. I would guess that settlement patterns are pretty much equal everywhere. Most people try to avoid driving more than 45 minutes to work, most people have average size houses, lawns, and cars. So as far as settlement PATTERNS ar concerned I’d guess we spew as much per person and per square mile as anyplace else.

    But, the drainage basin for the Chesapeake is HUGE compared to Mobile bay, and more of it is populated, so you get more concentration into relatively less water. (If we have filled 3/4 of what the Bay used to be with silt, then there is less water than there used to be.) The southern and northern regions have more forestry and less animal husbandry, and I would guess THAT is the real source difference (for the places you picked). We have a lot of poultry farms, and dairy in the Chesapeake watershed.

    The largest POINT source in the Chesapeake is Blue Plains, so that is an obvious place to spend money.

    In Fauquier (I believe) the biggest problems are in streams in the south end of the county, where there are more cattle and commercial farms. The county and state are working the problem, but they don’t have money any more than the farmers do.

    Baywide, I think the James has the highest level of Phosphorous, and the Susquehanna the most nitrogen. In Virginia, the Potomac has the most Nitrogen, mostly due to Blue Plains.

    All I can tell you is, I’m glad I don’t have the problem of figuring out the best bang for the buck on this one. In residential areas we make a lot of catchment ponds, and I would guess the same strategy applies to rural areas, only the ponds will be bigger and more numerous.

    What is your other choice? Tell a farmer who has fifty cows he can only have 20? Presto. Instant subdivision. Put a pollution tax on chicken and beef, and use the money to pay the farmer for the 30 cows he doesn’t have? That’s going to sell real well to the housewife buying hamburger at twice the price. Push him back from the streambed another hundred feet? With some of these guys you could wipe out 25% to a third of their farm that way.



  17. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Is there an authoritative reference that tells you where the spots are in Facuqier that have the highest levels of nitrogen/phosphorous?

    On the Potomac?

    The James?

    The Rappahannock?

    Is the worst spot on the Rappahannock better or worse than the worse spot on the Potomac?

    Where are the answers to the questions?

    If you don’t know the answer, does anyone else know the answer?

    Should you be working on your own ponds .. or should you be concerned about other creeks … in your county?

    should I be working to get the rappahannock cleaned up or urging that Blue Plains be cleaned up if there is only enough money to do one or the other?

    Rank the top 5 hot spots in Virginia… that if cleaned up would have the best ROI…

    I do not believe that you can answer the above questions.

    I do not believe the average person in Virginia can answer any of these questions.

    I cannot answer these questions.

    If we cannot answer these questions, then how do we know what we should be doing to clean up the Bay?

    Is the idea that we should not know and instead.. just agree to pay higher taxes and if we throw enough money at it.. something will happen… if nothing else, we’ll give a lot of bureaucrats more job security?

    The sky is falling… put your tithes in the collection plate and pray…..

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    “Samples are similarly collected at 31 other sites throughout much of the Bay watershed at least 20 times each year. Together, they make up the Chesapeake Bay Nontidal Monitoring Network.”

    That’s it? Thats all the samples we take? That’s nothing.


  19. Anonymous Avatar

    “The results of these modeling scenarios demonstrated that, even under pristine conditions, the desired dissolved oxygen criteria could not be attained in the deep channels and deep waters of the Chesapeake Bay during the summer.

    The results showed 77 percent non-attainment in this segment due to federally authorized hydrologic modification under the Rivers and Harbors Act and a complex pattern of tidal circulation that moves hypoxic and anoxic waters within the Chesapeake Bay system.”

    In other words Federally authorized dredging activities have changed the hydrology to the extent that some areas in the Bay will always be anoxic.


  20. Anonymous Avatar

    “An analysis was undertaken to estimate the costs of implementing the hypothetical control scenarios. …..The total projected cost, including capital and operating costs, is approximately $10 billion through 2010….However, there is considerable uncertainty about the cost estimates, the effectiveness of the BMPs, and the level of implementation that will actually be needed….Although there is no comprehensive estimate of the benefits, data suggest that the bay affects industries that generate approximately $20 billion and 340,000 jobs. “

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    “despite the passage of a 1998 law that requires all farmers to have “nutrient management plans” designed to minimize their use of fertilizer. More than 95 percent of farms now have this paperwork … but the amount of pollution flowing into the bay hasn’t improved.”

    Paperwork is not likely to reduce pollution. I lerned that back in 1978.


  22. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “That’s it? Thats all the samples we take? That’s nothing.”

    That’s what I’ve been telling you.

    They’re using a MODEL and that model has big problems.

    First, you cannot come close to validating that model with that minuscule level of data.

    second, and just as important, you cannot tell people WHERE the problems ACTUALLY ARE…

    third, if you have limited funds, you cannot properly rank and prioritize how best to expend those funds to get reductions.

    At best.. this is good intentions gone totally off the deep end… truly… throwing money at the problem….

    At worst, its a cynical greenscam designed to make a lot of noise… about the problem – but have the effort so crippled that true progress is not really part of the plan…

    I’m an ardent supporter of a clean(er) environment – and I am dismayed about the amount of money, time, resources expended … on something that lacks basic data and specific objectives – that the average person can understand and relate to.

    The reason we are not going to make the 2010 date – is because we are not truly committed to understanding the problem and focusing on ROI.

    It’s really hard to believe just how many people are working on this – and they not only lack basic data – but they do not believe that they need it and instead a model is just fine.

    I’m starting to think that the Bay Initiative is basically a PR effort and that the real pedal hitting the real metal will be the tributary strategy plans that establish real live thresholds on poundage.

  23. Anonymous Avatar

    I actually think the model they use is pretty good. I have seen the comparisons between the predictions and the actual samples.

    If we could do that well on road models, we would be in good shape.

    “real pedal hitting the real metal will be the tributary strategy plans that establish real live thresholds on poundage.”

    So, I should buy as many cows as possible, now, so that my allocation will be set high. Then I can get rid of the cows and sell the allocations. ;-).


  24. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: models are “good”

    how can that be when you admit that the numbers of actual samples are low?

    You cannot validate a model that way.

    look up the word – validate –

    it means much more than verify

    it means – you can go back and use monitoring data from 20 years ago – put it in the model and it will show you want the current monitoring levels are.. or close to it.

    If the model cannot do that – then how can it be relied on to tell you how much needs to be cut back – and more important – what specific kinds of sources and WHERE?

    If we knew this – we’d know.. the top 3 priorities in Facquier AND we’d know HOW MUCH needed to be cut back – AND THE COST – and if the cost was too much for 3.. then we’d know which 2 which we could afford should be the focus.

    You’d KNOW.. for instance.. precisely what the nitrogen/phosphorous levels are BOTH upstream and downstream of Fredericksburg so you’d know precisely what Fredericksburg actual contribution is – and thus how much responsibility they have for reductions.

    We don’t know any of this because the model is not validated and not dependable for the above.

    The only way to find out – DEPENDABLE data is to NOT use the model – but go out and actual sample the water.

    The Tributary Strategies WILL HAVE to focus on actual levels and will require active monitoring..

    In fact, you can bet that some will challenge their allocations by going out and testing for actual nitrogen/phosphorous levels to “prove” the case.

    re your usual penchant: … “scamming the system for personal gain”.

    no dice: …retroactive data…

    however.. I HAVE heard that cap&trade will be allowed.. and that means someone like you could go out and buy up AG land and re-sell credits to urban areas…

    and if you think about it – this is how it SHOULD work.

    A place like Fredericksburg should take a look at how much it will cost for them to reduce – in Fredericksburg OR to reduce upstream.. so that the reductions take place upstream…

    or a combination…more likely…

  25. Anonymous Avatar

    “scamming the system for personal gain”.

    It isn’t scamming the system if you play by the rules.

    What do you mean, retroactive data? they have already decided who gets to continue in business, and who gets kept out? Taht all the work I have already done moving toward that goal is for nothing?


  26. Anonymous Avatar

    “how can that be when you admit that the numbers of actual samples are low?”

    All I can tell you is that the correlation is very high. for the points where the predictions are made for. this means the model wroks very well to predict the generalized level of contamination of the BAY.

    But the model doesn’t have enough granularity to do what you suggest. And it probably isn’t cost effective to do so. This is probably a cse of the black box in reverse.


  27. Anonymous Avatar

    Here is one thing that WON’t work, apparently:

    Ethanol made from Rapeseed (or Canola) or maize (aka corn in the US) creates more greenhouse gases than gasoline.

    Measurements of emissions from the burning of biofuels derived from rapeseed and maize have been found to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than they save. …

    Rapeseed and maize biodiesels were calculated to produce up to 70 per cent and 50 per cent more greenhouse gases respectively than fossil fuels. The concerns were raised over the levels of emissions of nitrous oxide, which is 296 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

    Scientists found that the use of biofuels released twice as much as nitrous oxide as previously realised. The research team found that 3 to 5 per cent of the nitrogen in fertiliser was converted and emitted. (The previously accepted fgure was 2%)

    The findings illustrated the importance of ensuring that measures designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions are assessed thoroughly before being hailed as a solution. …

    Maize for ethanol is the prime crop for biofuel in the US where production for the industry has recently overtaken the use of the plant as a food. In Europe the main crop is rapeseed, which accounts for 80 per cent of biofuel production.

    It was accepted by the scientists that other factors, such as the use of fossil fuels to produce fertiliser, have yet to be fully analysed for their impact on overall figures. But they concluded that the biofuels “can contribute as much or more to global warming by N2 O emissions than cooling by fossil-fuel savings”.

    The research is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, where it has been placed for open review.

    That good old nitrogen jus goes ‘roun and ‘roun.


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