WESTMINSTER — Have efforts to help the Chesapeake Bay worked?
"Yes and no," Michael Permenter, coordinator of the Soil Conservation Service's Chesapeake Bay Program, said Thursday.
Much has been done to stop pollution, but more research and work still is needed, he said.
Permenter, who worked at the Carroll County SCS office in 1987 and 1988, spoke at the Agribusiness breakfast at Baugher's Country Restaurant.
A cooperative effort between three states and the District of Columbia was begun in 1983 to protect the bay, he said. Today, 62 committees, work groups and task forces areworking to improve water quality, he said.
Phosphorus levels havedecreased by 20 percent in the last six years, and underwater grasses have increased, said Permenter, who works in Annapolis.
Habitatshave improved, which means there are more eagle nests and more striped bass, he said.
But nitrogen levels continue to increase, and the oyster harvest has declined, he said.
The program's goal is to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus levels by 40 percent, he said.
"The bay program still does not know how much is man-induced," Permenter said. "A lot is still unknown."
In the next three years, efforts will be concentrated in four areas: accelerating nutrient reduction, pollution prevention, improving living resources and expanding participation in Chesapeake Bay programs.
Perseverance is needed, he said.
"People get impatient. Perhaps they have a right to," he said.
But they must keep working in order to see results, Permenter said.