Current bay cleanup efforts are throwing good money after bad [Letter]

September 09, 2014

I'm left speechless after reading your recent editorial on the Conowingo Dam ("Damning the dam," Sept. 1).

It would seem to me that some Chesapeake Bay cleanup lobbyist wrote this article. Of course we have to continue our efforts to restore the bay. Of course overflowing sewers and stormwater run-off continue to damage the environment, and of course they must be stopped.

But your writer is either ignorant of history or too young to remember tropical storm Agnes and how it virtually wiped out the grasses in the bay, causing damage we are still feeling more than 40 years later.

Recently there was an article in The Aegis showing a biologist holding a sample of bay grasses. The bay is doing well, the article says.

But here is the catch: In the same article another biologist talked about how Hurricane Lee almost wiped out the bay grasses again. After the storm the grasses on the flats were completely covered in mud.

What scientists didn't tell folks at the time was that the mud came from the sediment buildup behind the Conowingo Dam.

We dodged a bullet that time. But what your writer is advocating is to just keep pouring money into making annual progress — and when the next Agnes comes along we'll start all over again.

Proponents of cleaning up behind the damn want the threat eliminated. That is not something those who oppose the clean-up can say, since many of them make money every year off bay restoration programs at taxpayer expense.

Doug Burdette, Aberdeen

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