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The amount of nutrient and sediment pollution that flowed from nine major rivers into the Chesapeake Bay remained below the 25-year average in 2013, the Chesapeake Bay Program reports.
About 160 million pounds of nitrogen polluted the Bay in 2013, 52 million pounds under the long-term average of 212 million. The program adds that phosphorus and sediment pollution were also below their long-term averages in 2013, by 4.6 million pounds and 2.49 million tons, respectively.
The adoption of conservation practices by Maryland farmers is receiving some credit for improvements. Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance recently announced that farmers participating in the state’s 2014-15 Cover Crop Program planted a record 478,000 acres of cover crops on their fields last fall. This is the third year farmers exceeded the milestone commitment for cover crops.
While improvements have been made, the Chesapeake Bay Program says much of the Bay’s waters are still impaired. Between 2011-13, only 29% of the water quality standards necessary to support underwater plants and animals were achieved.