A statement in the preface of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's landmark report, "Turning the Tide: Saving the Chesapeake Bay," says it all: "We are not alone." Fifteen million people live in the 64,000 square-mile Chesapeake Bay watershed, a number expected to grow by 2.3 million over the next three decades.
Thus, while Marylanders take particular pride in their stewardship of a waterway that accounts for nearly one-sixth of the Atlantic Seaboard, this waterway does belong to everyone. Cleaning up its sullied waters, preserving its unique biological heritage for future generations, is a task whose fulfillment may well define for those generations the character of our commitment to their well-being. It is a duty that cannot be shirked, but it cannot be completed through quick-fix, poorly thought out solutions.
"Turning the Tide," a comprehensive analysis of the environmental factors which define the life of the flora and fauna that make up the bay's complex food chain, provides a critical tool with which to approach that work. Its delineation of the streams of pollution flowing from farms, industries and cities and the insidious airborne wastes from automobiles points the way to corrective action on many fronts. Its study of the ways people use the bay, its tributaries and wetlands and its increasingly threatened shores shows the magnitude of the human impact on what surely was the jewel of the world's estuaries way back in colonial times.