Repercussions of the Chesapeake Bay Budget Cuts

Recently, concerns have risen over the federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay and neighboring water systems. Last year, records were broken for the rainfall, thus flushing more toxins and pollutants into the bay, which calls for more aid at the hand of federal funding, not less. However, President Trump has proposed a 90% cut from the Bay’s funds, decreasing from $73 million to $7.3 million, which, surprisingly, has not resulted in a lot of controversy throughout the Bay area. With funding lowered as much as $7.3, the progress made to restore the Bay already would diminish, and the efforts to restore surrounding rivers and streams would cease, causing immense damage to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystems.
Surprisingly, few people are talking about this extremely damaging potential budget cut that could result in tragic effects to the area, and subsequently, the whole population surrounding the Bay. If ecosystems are destroyed and the environment remains to devolve due to the pollution of today’s society, the effects on humans would be tremendous. The Bay is an estuary, home to a diversity of thousands of species of plants and animals that foster the health of the water. If the Bay’s funding is decreased to the extent Trump has proposed, rivers and streams, in which people boat, fish, and swim, will become overly polluted and potentially dangerous.
Most inhabitants of Virginia surrounding the Bay’s waterways most inhabitants of Virginia take for granted the use of the Bay’s rivers and streams for recreational and economic purposes (crabs, oysters, and rockfish) and aren’t aware of this potential budget slice. What they don’t realize is the Bay has been restoring itself through environmental activists, experts, and the federal funding it has been receiving, and without the funding, the waterways will become a hazard, and will no longer be utilized for anything but viewing.

Imagine this… Long summer days beside the river with your family – gone. Swimming and having fun with friends – gone.  Fishing trips your parents take you on every year since childhood – gone. Your income from harvesting oysters – gone. With a simple budget cut, all of this could be gone (and more) preventing the Bay from being saved.

Kiara Baxter, ‘20, with no previous knowledge about the impending budget cuts to the Bay was told the implications, and shares that “the Bay is a key part of everyone’s lives around this area (Virginia Beach), and I can’t imagine life with a polluted one.”

Ann O’Connor, a local environmental activist, has spoken out about her beliefs on the matter. “I believe it’s quite sad people are not more moved by this cause, which could destroy habitats of animals and eliminate struggling species, as well as destroy the habitats of us as humans living near the Bay.” She talked passionately about what we need to establish for future generations. “I want my grandchildren’s grandkids to be able to enjoy the Bay’s many uses, just as my children and I have been able to do for countless years now. To think of the Bay as dormant and dangerous is a foreign concept. I am so used to having the Bay be a place I associate with flourishing life.” She ended her statement by saying “I hope this funding issue gets resolved. We need it to – for the sake of our environment.”