“Nutrients” refers to nitrogen and phosphorous, which enter the Chesapeake Bay in huge quantities every year. These are considered pollution because they inspire algal blooms. This deprives Bay grasses of sunlight and deplete water of oxygen, thus killing many plants and animals which call the Bay their home.
The Chesapeake Bay has nine tributaries which empty into it, and the areas surrounding these are what contributes all of the nitrogen pollution. The Chesapeake area is largely utilized for agriculture, so runoff from fertilizers and animal waste brings millions of pounds of nitrogen into the tributaries yearly.
The three main contributors are the Susquehanna, the Potomac, and the James River. A total of 97 percent of the pollution comes from these three tributaries alone. The Susquehanna carries half of all Chesapeake Bay freshwater into the Bay. Because the Susquehanna drains some of the most productive agricultural land in the nation, it is by far the primary source of nitrogen pollution.
From 1990 to 1992, 600 million pounds of nitrogen entered the Chesapeake Bay through the nine tributaries.
I asked students to answer, on a scale of one to five, five being the most, how much they know about nitrogen pollution in the bay. The majority of students said three or below. I believe students need to be more informed of this issue if we are to save the Chesapeake Bay.
I gave students another question, on a scale of one to five, asking how pressing they believed the issue of nitrogen pollution in the Bay is. 83.9% gave a three or above, indicating that people do seem to care.
Based on the data I have collected, I conclude that unless the residents of the Chesapeake area take action, this body of water will eventually become a wasteland.
Precentage per river graph-http://water.usgs.gov/wid/images/chesbay.fig2.gifSources w/ goals graph- http://www.makemarylandgreat.com/userfiles/Nitrogen%202010%20Goal%20Med.JP GSources pie graph- http://www.farmland.org/images/Chesapeake_Bay_N_graph-2.pngRelative responsibility pie charts- http://www.chesapeakebay.net/images/07pollutionpie.gifBar graph with sources- http://www.cbf.org/images/content/pagebuilder/34081.jpg&imgrefurl= http://www.cbf.org/images/content/pagebuilder/34081.jpg&imgrefurl http://www.cbf.org/site/PageServer%3Fpagename%3Dresources_facts_mathias&usg= __AermQSYLRnKKEq7CHYd03re5xDQ=&h=199&w=275&sz=9&hl=en&start=19&um= 1&tbnid=nu70ujKGZKs9eM:&tbnh=82&tbnw=114&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dnitrogen%2 Bpollution%2Bin%2Bthe%2Bchesapeake%2Bbay%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26sa%3D N%26start%3D18%26um%3D1Color graph with total nitrogen from agriculture- http://media.mgnetwork.com/vab/siteimages/magazine/2007/20070822_ideas_nitrog en.jpgChesapeake basin population- http://www.virginiaplaces.org/waste/graphics/chesbaypopgrowth.gif