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Capstone Timeline

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    Chesapeake Bay

  • Air Pollution Starts to Become a Problem

    Air Pollution Starts to Become a Problem
    Coal-burning industries spew smoke into the air and send pollutants into the region's rivers.
  • Oyster Population

    Oyster Population
    A dramatic drop in oyster populations starts to affect Chesapeake Bay health, and state and federal laws move to control the industry.
  • The First Signs of Trying to Fix the Bay

    The First Signs of Trying to Fix the Bay
    Baltimore installs separate wastewater and stormwater systems to filter water before it flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • First Ever Animal Limits

    First Ever Animal Limits
    Six years after Congress passes the Emergency Striped Bass Act, Maryland imposes a moratorium on striped bass fishing. Virginia soon follows suit, in hopes that a closed fishery will help the species recover from harvest and pollution pressures.
  • Using the Bay for Clean Energy

    Using the Bay for Clean Energy
    The Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station, also known as the Conowingo Dam, is built at the mouth of the Susquehanna River. Upon its completion, it is the second largest hydroelectric power plant in the United States.
  • Effects of The Great Depression on The Bay

    Effects of The Great Depression on The Bay
    The Great Depression spurs public works projects that repair and expand the region's roads, bridges, parks, and electrical services into rural areas, encouraging population growth.
  • Fertilizer Runoff Pollutes The Bay

    Fertilizer Runoff Pollutes The Bay
    The Great Depression spurs public works projects that repair and expand the region's roads, bridges, parks, and electrical services into rural areas, encouraging population growth.
  • Dermo and Its Affects on Oysters

    Dermo and Its Affects on Oysters
    Dermo, a disease that kills oysters, is discovered in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • MSX and Its Affects on Oysters

    MSX and Its Affects on Oysters
    MSX, a disease that kills oysters, is found in the lower Chesapeake Bay.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is formed.

    The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is formed.
    The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is formed.
  • The Clean Water Act

    The Clean Water Act
    The Clean Water Act is passed, establishing water quality standards and limiting the amount and kinds of pollutants that can enter rivers, streams, and other waterways.
  • Maryland Bans Phosphate Containing Detergents

    Maryland Bans Phosphate Containing Detergents
    A Maryland ban on phosphate-containing laundry detergent reduces the amount of phosphorus flowing from wastewater treatment plants into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Striped Bass Recover

    Striped Bass Recover
    Maryland and Virginia lift the ban on striped bass fishing. The fish is declared a recovered species six years later.
  • Striped Bass Population is Low

    Striped Bass Population is Low
    Six years after Congress passes the Emergency Striped Bass Act, Maryland imposes a moratorium on striped bass fishing. Virginia soon follows suit, in hopes that a closed fishery will help the species recover from harvest and pollution pressures.
  • Setting Goals

    Setting Goals
    The 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement set the first-ever numeric goals to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, aiming to lower the nitrogen and phosphorus entering the Bay by 40 percent by the year 2000.
  • The Clean Vessel Act

    The Clean Vessel Act
    The Clean Vessel Act establishes a grant program to fund the construction of pump-out stations at marinas across the watershed, presenting a viable alternative to the overboard disposal of sewage.
  • Nutrient Management Plans for Farms

    Nutrient Management Plans for Farms
    A law passed in Pennsylvania requires certain farmers to develop and implement nutrient management plans, limiting the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that can run off of farms and into local waterways. In 1994, Virginia followed suit. In 1998, Maryland enacted similar legislation.
  • Large Scale Water Filtration

    Large Scale Water Filtration
    Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant begins to use nutrient removal technology to lower the amount of nitrogen it sends into the Potomac River and improve water quality.
  • Fishing Limits Become More Important

    Fishing Limits Become More Important
    The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission closes Atlantic sturgeon fishing along the East Coast. The 40-year ban is the longest fishing moratorium on record.
  • The Maryland Water Quality Improvement Act

    The Maryland Water Quality Improvement Act
    The Maryland Water Quality Improvement Act calls for the addition of a phosphorus-reducing enzyme to poultry feed, lowering nutrient levels in poultry litter.
  • The Blue Crab Population is Affected

    The Blue Crab Population is Affected
    Maryland records its lowest blue crab harvest: 20.2 million pounds.
  • Water Quality Requirements

    Water Quality Requirements
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issues water quality criteria for the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.
  • Blue Crabs Are In Danger

    Blue Crabs Are In Danger
    Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission issue emergency regulations on the harvest of blue crabs to help the species recover. The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab fishery is declared a federal disaster.
  • The Federal Government Gets Involved

    The Federal Government Gets Involved
    President Obama signs an executive order that calls on the federal government to renew the effort to protect and restore the watershed.
  • Phosphorus is a Big Problem

    Phosphorus is a Big Problem
    President Obama signs an executive order that calls on the federal government to renew the effort to protect and restore the watershed.