WASHINGTON — The U.S. Geological Survey reported Thursday that the Eastern Shore is being polluted largely by an excess amount of nutrients from inorganic fertilizers and manure – in other words, animal waste.
Judith Denver, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) hydrologist, said in a statement, “The disproportionately large nitrogen and phosphorus yields from the Eastern Shore to the Chesapeake Bay are attributable primarily to agricultural activities but are also influenced by natural hydrogeologic and soil conditions.”
She added, “The findings from the report will help inform more strategic placement of management practices intended to better utilize crop nutrients and reduce the excess available for transport to groundwater and streams.”
The overabundance of nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, is harmful not only because it is polluting the Bay, but it also decreases the level of oxygen available within the aquatic ecosystem that is necessary for marine life.
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said, “The Eastern Shore is home to giant chicken companies like Perdue who leave behind hundreds of millions of pounds of animal waste on the ground each year, while refusing to contribute to the cleanup of the Bay.”
Food & Water Watch is a Washington, D.C.-based non-governmental organization focused on corporate and government accountability relating to food and water.