This editorial letter originally appeared in SWS February 2021 issue as "Laying Solid Groundwork"
With a new year comes reflection on the previous year. While 2020 was dominated by COVID-19, a presidential election and social justice issues, the water industry is now taking time to report on 2020 assessments within the sector.
Though more will be known at a national level in the near future as a new administration comes into office (as of press time, the inauguration had not yet occurred), regional work is being done daily to improve storm water management.
In January, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation released its 2020 State of the Bay report and score. For 2020, the assessment remained at D+ from 2018 but decreased by one point to 32. The decrease was largely due to ineffective management of the Bay’s striped bass population. On a more positive note, in the 2020 assessment, the foundation saw less nitrogen and phosphorus, a smaller dead zone and improving water clarity. Overall, this initiative aims to implement practices by 2025 that will reduce pollution sufficiently to restore water quality in local rivers, streams and the Bay, the foundation’s website says. I encourage all readers to look more into this blueprint. Those interested can do so by visiting cbf.org.
Elsewhere in the U.S., America’s Watershed Initiative released in December its 2020 report card for the Mississippi River Watershed, which stretches across 31 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. In 2020, the watershed earned a C-, which is an increase from the 2015 grade of a D+. The 2020 report card includes several improved indicators and analysis methods for water quality, the report said. For more information, I encourage all our readers to visit americaswatershed.org.
These are just brief overviews of two examples of how the water sector is working to improve water quality throughout the country. I am confident we will see many more steps being taken as we move forward. What is being done in your region? Share the work with me by emailing [email protected].