Monthly Archives: February 2013

It’s Not Always About You – or – Environmental Gratitude in my Work and Life

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Eric P. Nelson

Having recently emerged from the holiday season that now runs from the day my Jack-O-Lantern takes up its position on the compost pile to the day my Christmas tree gets tossed onto the grim-faced Jack-O-Lantern, I feel rather drained from all the sentiments of gratitude and goodwill that I have both expressed and received during this extended season. They’re genuine, mostly, and seem appropriate at the time, but I’ve now shifted into New England-style winter survival mode, and quite prefer it after a long season of excess.

Recently, I read an article about “environmental gratitude.” The term was new to me, but after I read the article I realized I had discovered what motivates and guides me at work, and in many aspects of my life. Environmental gratitude was defined as, “a finely tuned propensity to notice and feel grateful for one’s surroundings on a regular basis, which generates pervasive attitudes of concern for planetary welfare and commitment to contribute ecological benefits to the extent of one’s ability.” It’s a bit dense to digest, but the article goes on to describe the phrase in simpler terms.

Unlike the gratitude one may feel during the holidays, environmental gratitude is not beholden to particular benefactors, does not require mutual intentionality (Thank you for that 2,000-calorie holiday meal!). Instead, simply recognizing and appreciating the very existence of the natural world and your connection to it can instill a sense of gratitude that can, in turn, influence your general attitude about protecting nature and motivate you to take action.

This has happened to me over the course of my life, and it’s how I approach my work at EPA, at least most days. No thanks sought, or needed, from those living things in the watery world that hopefully benefit from my actions. In truth, though, I do get thanked through my interactions with the natural world. And while I’ve seen nature in some of its most impressive forms, I’m just as enchanted by brief encounters close to home: a passing glimpse of a hawk flying through Boston Common; a hummingbird pausing on a branch above my shed; crows calling, winter quiet in snowy woods; a pungent whiff of exposed mudflat on a lonely beach; the jewel-like stars overhead at my bus stop on a clear, dark winter morning; the iridescent beetle that landed oh so briefly on the back of my wife’s neck. Such encounters are everywhere for all those who care to take notice. And to me, they matter.

The article, “Environmental Gratitude and Ecological Action,” by Richard Matthews, was featured on the website.

About the author: Eric Nelson works in the Ocean and Coastal Protection Unit of EPA New England in Boston, but prefers being underwater with the fishes. He lives in a cape on Cape Cod with his wife and two daughters, and likes pesto on anything.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

How Accurate is Too Accurate?

By Jeffery Robichaud

In the world of GIS, accuracy is one of the names of the game.  A map is a two (and lately three) dimensional representation of the earth as well as important features found in our environment.  We expect maps and the underlying geospatial data used to develop maps to be accurate.   In fact we expect them to become more and more accurate as time passes due to advances in technology.  Older GPS units used to be notoriously inaccurate, with an accuracy and precision that sometimes could literally be described as in the ballpark, but many of today’s units have sub-meter accuracy.   There will always be issues associated with accuracy (or at minimum the illusion/perception of accuracy as Casey previously detailed), but are there situations where too much accuracy is a bad thing?  Yes.

If you have ever perused BingMaps or GoogleEarth you know there are certain spots across the country where imagery is not as accurate as it could be.  For instance in Washington, DC everything becomes pixilated at the corner of 17th H St NW, not because one moves into the world of Minecraft (if you are old like me…ask your kids) but because of homeland security concerns.  I used to drive down 17th when I lived in the Northwest section of DC, and believe me it’s there.

And a quick Google of thoughts and comments on Google Streetview will yield you a lively discussion on issues of privacy, oftentimes because of how accurate or inaccurate images can be.  In fact I understand that companies like Google and Microsoft go to great pains to ensure anonymity by fuzzing faces, license plates, and other personal information.

Homeland Security and Privacy are easy to point to as necessitating less accurate information for public consumption but what about the environment and natural resources? Is there ever a need to fuzz data?

Actually there is a data set that is just as important for those of us who care about flora and fauna; the locations of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States.  Their locations and ranges are important for federal and state organizations charged with protecting and restoring populations in accordance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  But the presence of exact locations in the hands of individuals with less than scrupulous intentions could result in purposeful takes of species (what the ESA euphemistically calls the killing/harvesting of an endangered species).  Thankfully, governance of this sensitive data is tight and is coordinated through an organization called NatureServe.  Not all countries are so fortunate to have a coordinated program looking out for endangered species sightings.  In the past, well intentioned tourists to Africa have blogged/tweeted about their encounters with endangered mammals, providing poachers with timely and sometimes fairly accurate locational data as well as pictures documenting the whereabouts of Elephants and Rhinos.   This Story ran on NPR last December about elephants in Tanzania.  Hopefully Social Media continues to be used for positive purposes especially when it comes to protection of human health and the environment.

Jeffery Robichaud is a second generation EPA scientist who has worked for the Agency since 1998. He currently serves as Deputy Director of EPA Region 7′s Environmental Services Division. Jeff freely admits to not “getting” Minecraft even though his kids have it on every device in the house.  He still thinks of the Creeper as a villain on Scooby Doo.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Green Heart: Burn Wise for Your Heart

By Ann Brown

February—American Heart Month—is a time I renew my commitment to protect my heart.

I try to eat a healthier diet and exercise more. I check the local air quality before going outside to exercise since fine particle pollution in the air has been linked to heart disease. Fine particles harm the heart and blood vessels and can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and congestive heart failure, especially in people with heart disease.

I am aware of the environmental link between fine particle pollution and heart disease, but I didn’t realize until joining EPA’s Burn Wise program recently that smoke from wood stoves and wood-burning fireplaces is a significant source of fine particle pollution in many parts of the country. I was surprised to find out that there are about 12 million wood stoves and 29 million fireplaces in the U.S.

The good news is that people who burn wood can reduce fine particle pollution by following some simple steps. One way is to use a moisture meter, an inexpensive tool that you stick into wood to find out whether the wood is dry enough to burn efficiently. If the wood is wet, it creates more smoke and fine particle pollution in the air that can harm your health. Wet wood also costs you money and time since it will not produce as much heat. Find out more about how to use a moisture meter in the video Wet Wood is a Waste.

I’ve also recently learned that drying wood is easy, but requires a few steps. The best way to dry wood is to split it, stack it to allow air to circulate, and cover it or store it in a wood shed. This promotes drying and cleaner burning.  Find out more about how to properly split, stack, cover and store your wood in the video Split, Stack, Cover, Store.

These practices are a win-win for your pocketbook and your heart.  Visit EPA’s Burn Wise website to learn  more about ways to burn the right wood, the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance.

Learn more!

About the Author: Ann Brown is a communications specialist and is working in the Innovative Programs and Outreach Group in EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Protegiendo el crecimiento y el desarrollo infantil

El crecimiento y desarrollo normal, desde la concepción, durante el embarazo, la niñez y hasta la adolescencia, dependen de las hormonas. Estos mensajeros químicos están producidos por el sistema endocrino del cuerpo y regulan el crecimiento, el proceso de maduración, y la reproducción.

Los científicos han aprendido que algunas exposiciones a sustancias que son semejantes a las hormonas – sustancias que los toxicólogos denominan como sustancias químicas perturbadoras del sistema endocrino (EDCs por sus siglas en inglés) – pueden ser problemáticas con respecto a la salud y el desarrollo normal. Estas pueden a conducir a enfermedades peligrosas, problemas con la reproducción, y otras anormalidades en las etapas futuras de la vida. Se pueden encontrar los EDCs en muchos productos usados en la vida cotidiana, incluso en algunas botellas y contendores de plástico, los alimentos envasados en latas con ciertos tipos específicos de envolturas, plaguicidas y detergentes.

Debido a que sus cuerpos y sistemas internos todavía están en formación y pleno desarrollo, los bebés, infantes, y niños, sobre todo, pueden ser vulnerables a los efectos adversos a la salud ocasionados por los EDCs. Esos riesgos pueden ser agravados por el hecho de que, en proporción al tamaño de sus cuerpos, los bebés y niños comen, beben, y respiran más que los adultos y por esa razón, es más probable que ellos ingieran una cantidad mayor de estas sustancias.

La protección de los niños y otras personas de exposiciones a los EDCs ha sido una prioridad de EPA desde los 1990s, cuando los científicos propusieron la hipótesis de que “los humanos y vida silvestre han sufrido los efectos adversos a la salud a raíz de la exposición a las sustancias químicas perturbadoras,” como fue resumido en el estudio Research Needs for the Risk Assessment of Health and Environmental Effects of Endocrine Disruptors: A Report of the U.S. EPA-sponsored Workshop, (Environmental Health Perspectives. 1996 August, 104(4)).

Desde entonces, los investigadores de EPA y entidades subvencionadas en universidades han trabajado para entender los riesgos potenciales de EDCs a la salud de los humanos y la vida silvestre. Este esfuerzo incluye la priorización de sustancias químicas para análisis a través del programa innovador de EPA, el Programa para Analizar los Perturbadores Químicos, y el desarrollo de modelos para predecir las secuencias biológicas que pueden resultar de la perturbación endocrina. Además, el esfuerzo incluye la evaluación del riesgo cumulativo de las mezclas de sustancias químicas encontradas en la comida, los productos, y el agua potable. Este esfuerzo enfocado en las mezclas de sustancias químicas es importante porque los efectos combinados, aun a las concentraciones bajas, podría arrojar resultados diferentes que en aquellos casos en los cuales se analicen las sustancias químicas individuales.

Al desarrollar las herramientas y la información necesaria para entender los impactos posibles de los EDCS a la salud humana, los investigadores de la Agencia y sus colaboradores están ayudando a proteger la salud de los niños, adultos, y vida silvestre. El conocimiento adquirido a causa de la investigación tiene una variedad de impactos importantes: es de valor para los fabricantes para que puedan garantizar la seguridad de sus productos; asimismo, provee información a las madres embarazadas para que puedan evitar las exposiciones a los EDCs antes y durante el embarazo; ofrece información basada en ciencia y las herramientas a los padres, los profesionales de sanidad pública, y ayuda a los responsables a hacer una elección informada que protegerá a los niños, adultos, y vida silvestre.

Esta entrada en el blog en español de EPA (Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente) es una traducción del reportaje publicado en una reciente edición del blog “Science Matters.”

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Black History: Craig Hooks

As an African American scientist managing the administrative arm of the agency, I am keenly aware of my unusual background, professional journey and the successes of African Americans who have contributed to environmental protection and energy efficiencies and EPA’s progress in sustainability. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of Florida and a Masters degree in Oceanography from the Texas A&M University. I worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a physical scientist prior to joining EPA in the mid 1980s.

At EPA, I worked in a variety of organizations including the enforcement and the water offices. In 2009, then-Administrator Lisa P. Jackson asked me to serve as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management. I was honored and excited about this opportunity. OARM provides national leadership, policy, and management of many essential support functions for the agency, including human resources management, acquisition activities, grants management, and management and protection of EPA’s facilities and other critical assets nationwide. I also serve as the agency’s Senior Sustainability Officer, providing leadership in implementing Executive Order 13514 which is aimed at improving Federal environmental, energy and economic performance.

It is EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. Environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive. African Americans with noteworthy accomplishments in environmental protection helped pave the way for EPA’s progress. For example, George Carruthers invented the far ultraviolet camera/spectrograph in 1969. It was plated in gold and carried aboard the Apollo 16 mission, where it was placed on the moon’s surface. The camera used ultraviolet light, invisible to the naked eye, to capture high-quality images of Earth. Carruthers’ invention helped scientists see how air pollution forms, allowing them to develop new ways to control air pollution. Clarence L. Elder, head of his own research and development firm in Baltimore, was awarded a patent in 1976 for a monitoring and control energy conservation system. His “Occustat” is designed to reduce energy waste in temporarily vacant homes and other buildings, and especially useful for hotels and school rooms.

I am especially proud to share the many successes EPA has achieved in the sustainability area. EPA scored green in every category for the 2011 and 2012 OMB Sustainability/Energy scorecards, demonstrating the success of the agency’s long-term, comprehensive approach to sustainability. EPA is a leading agency in sustainability in the federal government and only one of two (GSA being the other) agency to achieve green in all categories for two years in a row. Additionally, EPA is again leading the government by being green in 2013.

Through increased video conferencing, EPA was able to reduce green house gas emissions associated with air travel by 46 percent in FY 2012 compared to FY 2008. And employees increased their average telework hours per pay period by 35.3 percent compared to the previous year and by 136.4 percent compared to FY 2009. Due to several major energy projects and mechanical system upgrades, EPA reduced its FY 2012 energy intensity by 23.7 percent compared to its FY 2003 baseline. In FY 2012, EPA achieved a non-hazardous solid waste diversion rate of 63 percent, far exceeding the EO 13514 target of a 50 percent diversion rate by FY 2015.

And EPA continues lead federal agencies by purchasing green power and renewable energy certificates equal to 100 percent of its annual electricity use.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Career advice from Nefertiti

By: Kelly Siegel

In classes we are always hearing about Superfund sites, but we never touch on them with too much detail.  Lucky for me, I am interning at the EPA so I decided to sit down with, Nefertiti DiCosmo, to learn more about what goes on in the Superfund Division. 

What is your position at the EPA?

I am a remedial project manager in the Superfund Division.  We investigate and clean up hazardous waste sites in EPA Region 5. 

What is a typical day like for you?

The great thing about this job is that you are never bored – you get to learn about new things all the time, so every day is different.  My job is to move Superfund sites through the remedial process.  This requires coordination and constant communication.   Since there are many interested parties when it comes to cleanup work, I am communicating with most of them on a weekly basis.  In addition, I review technical work and reports and give comments.  I sometimes go out to the site to oversee sampling or cleanup activities.  I do a lot of writing and planning.  Some of the documents I write are decision documents, five-year reviews, clean up and sampling schedules and reports, work assignments for contractors, etc. 

What is the best part of your job?

Getting things done!  I feel a sense of accomplishment when I have completed an investigation at a site or when I have written a decision document to clean it up.  I feel progress has been made and I can go to the community and show them what the EPA has done and plans to do.  It is a good feeling that motivates me to continue working on other cleanups.

Did you always have an interest in the environment?

I always knew it was important to protect the environment.  However, I was more interested in how human health was impacted by the environment.  We depend so much on our natural resources but, as a human race, we mistreat those resources and then are surprised when our health is negatively impacted.  I like to look at the relationships people have with the environment.

What classes did you take in school that you use on the job today?

Biology and chemistry classes, of course.  But, I often use my philosophy and humanities social sciences course.  One of the keys to getting things done is getting along with people who work on the project.  In addition, I am very proactive on taking advantage of training programs and classes available at EPA.  School is always important, regardless of the subject matter.  It is important to learn how to learn!

Do you have any advice for kids today who have an interest in protecting our environment?

Be the change!  Lead by example!  It is more effective to focus on how you embody the change you wish to see, than for you to tell a million people how important it is that they do the same thing.  If you want to protect the environment, do some research about what the issues are, choose a change you could make, and then practice that behavior as often as you can.  Then, when you are ready, choose another one!

Kelly Siegel is a student volunteer in the EPA’s Air and Radiation Division in Region 5, and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She has a passion for sustainable development, running, and traveling with friends.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Around the Water Cooler: Artistic Storm Drains Help Raise Awareness

By Lahne Mattas-Curry

A cool thing has happened in Baltimore: storm drains around the city have been adopted and colored with beautiful art to remind us that healthy waterways depend on keeping trash and pollutants out of our storm drains. Stormwater picks up trash, chemicals, and other pollutants and carries them all untreated right into our waterways.

Even if you can’t see a river or lake, or the harbor from your street, what goes into that storm drain at the bottom of your street can directly affect the health of that waterbody downstream. Making that connection more obvious can be an important factor for raising awareness and helping community members take action.

Blue Water Baltimore, a non-profit focused on restoring the quality of Baltimore’s rivers, streams, and harbor “to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy and thriving communities,” has launched the second year of its Storm Drain Stencil Share Program to engage community members of all ages, artists, community leaders, and environmental stewards to bring awareness to ways we can keep our water clean.

Throughout Baltimore, you can find decorated storm drains dressed with important messages, like “Trash in the street pollutes what we eat” or “Drains are only for the rain.”

The fact is, we should all be conscious of what goes into our storm drains. We all live in and are responsible for the health of our watersheds. Regardless of whether you can see water from your house or not, what you put on your lawn, whether you scoop your dog’s poop, or even what household cleaners you use can all affect the health of our waterways.

What do you think about Baltimore’s efforts to make sure its waterways stay clean and that we can all enjoy great blue crabs while visiting the Inner Harbor? What education programs would you like to see in your community?

About the Author: Lahne Mattas-Curry loves clean water, healthy beaches and great seafood. A regular contributor to EPA’s It All Starts with Science blog, she helps communicate the great science in the Agency’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Región 2 trabaja con comunidades para evaluar la producción de energía solar en vertederos clausurados

Al caminar por un campo abierto hacia la frontera forestal cerca del meandro en el Río Delaware durante una mañana en octubre, quizás no le sorprendería saber que vimos un águila estadounidense volando a medida de que nos acercábamos sin que éste se diera cuenta. Sin embargo, quizás le ocasionaría mayor sorpresa saber que nuestro grupo, compuesto por científicos e ingenieros a nivel federal y estatal, así como funcionarios locales, estaba caminando por el vertedero de la Avenida Harrison en Camden, Nueva Jersey durante una visita sobre el terreno para evaluar la viabilidad de instalar un sistema de energía solar.
Como parte de los continuos  esfuerzos de EPA por ubicar proyectos de energía solar en vertederos municipales clausurados bajo la Iniciativa de Repotenciar los Terrenos de Estados Unidos,  recientemente nos unimos al personal del Laboratorio Nacional de Energía Renovable (NREL, por sus siglas en inglés) del Departamento de Energía y la Oficina de Sostenibilidad y Energia Verde del Departamento de Protección Ambiental de New Jersey para visitar 10 vertederos municipales clausurados localizados en las áreas del norte, centro y sur de New Jersey. Tuvimos la oportunidad de ver una variedad de paisajes como la vista de los rascacielos de Nueva York donde figuraban prominentemente las aves migratorias en el vertedero de Linden, la bahía de la parte baja de Nueva York desde el vertedero de Belford; y una variedad de panoramas naturales desde los suburbios montañosos del norte hasta las áreas forestales de Pine Barrens y la planicie costera al sur de Nueva Jersey.
A pesar de que nos preocupamos inicialmente por las reacciones del pueblo a la presencia de EPA, los funcionarios locales expresaron un gran interés en la ubicación de proyectos solares en los vertederos  como parte de una creciente tendencia nacional.  Los pueblos nos acogieron abiertamente y nos permitieron iniciar nuestros esfuerzos en sus vertederos. Al abandonar los vertederos, nos comprometimos a revisar los datos solares y producir informes de viabilidad para nuestros nuevos socios locales. Nos proponemos producir informes de viabilidad solar significativos y a usar las herramientas de EPA como la nueva publicación de las “Mejores prácticas para la ubicación de paneles fotovoltaicos solares en vertederos de desechos sólidos municipales” que nos proveerán más información técnica cuando instalemos estos sistemas.
Con miles de vertederos clausurados a nivel nacional, el potencial para usar esta tecnología renovable en todas las regiones y en nuestros estudios actuales conducirá al diseño y construcción de sistemas de paneles solares.

Acerca del autor: El equipo solar de la Región 2 de EPA consiste de seis miembros, todos de una variedad de disciplinas, geología/hidrología, ingenieros, personal de apoyo técnico, científicos, y el jefe de división.  Nota: dicho equipo realiza todas las labores de la iniciativa solar de vertederos de región 2 en adición a sus funciones regulares.  Para más información, comuníquese con Vince Pitruzelo en el (212) 637-4354 o con Fernando Rosado en el (212) 637-4346.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Region 2 Solar Project Team Visits MSW Landfills

Colleen Kokas (NJDEP), Sarah Gentile, and Fernando Rosado taking a SunEye reading

By EPA Region 2 Solar Team

Walking across an open field approaching a forested border near a bend in the Delaware River on an October morning, you might not be surprised to hear that we spotted an American eagle taking flight as we unknowingly approached him. But you might be surprised that our group, composed of federal and state scientists/engineers, along with local officials, was walking through the Harrison Avenue Landfill in Camden, NJ during a site visit to assess the feasibility of installing a solar energy system.

As part of on-going EPA efforts for siting solar energy projects on closed municipal landfills under the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative, we recently teamed up with staff from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the New Jersey Department Environmental Protection’s Office of Sustainability and Green Energy to visit 10 closed municipal landfills located in North, Central, and South Jersey. We were offered vistas such as the skyline of New York City with migratory birds in the foreground from Linden Landfill; the Lower New York Harbor from Belford Landfill; and varied natural landscapes from the hilly northern suburbs to the forested Pine Barrens and coastal plain of southern New Jersey.

Although we were initially concerned with town reactions to EPA presence, local officials expressed great interest

Sarah Gentile, Colleen Kokas (NJDEP), Fernando Rosado, and John Koechley discussing the site with Jimmy Salasovich (NREL)

in landfill-based solar projects which seems to be part of a growing national trend. Towns openly embraced us and allowed us to begin our solar efforts on their landfills. As we departed from landfills, we committed to review the solar data and produce feasibility reports for our new local partners. We intend to deliver a meaningful solar feasibility reports and use EPA tools like the new release of “Best Practices for Siting Solar PV on MSW Landfills” document which will provide us with more technical considerations when installing these systems.

With thousands of closed landfills nationwide the potential to use this renewable technology in all regions and our current studies will lead to design and construction of solar array systems.

Spanish Edition

About the authors: The EPA Region 2 Solar Team consists of six members, all with varying disciplines, geology/hydrology, engineers, technical support, scientist, division chief. Note: all work on the R2 Landfill Solar initiative by the staff is done in addition to their regular functions. For more information, contact (212) 637- 4354 Vince Pitruzzello or (212) 637-4346 Fernando Rosado.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

How’s the Bay Doin’?

By Tom Damm

When the late New York City Mayor Ed Koch wanted to get a sense for, “How’m I doin’?” he’d ask people on the street.

Bay Barometer Cover ImageThe Chesapeake Bay Program takes a more scientific approach when it considers the state of the Bay and its watershed.

It crunches all sorts of statistics and produces an annual update on health and restoration efforts called Bay Barometer.  The latest one is now available.

So how’s the ecosystem doin’?

The science-based snapshot shows that while the Bay is impaired, signs of resilience abound.

A number of indicators of watershed health, like water clarity and dissolved oxygen levels, point to a stressed ecosystem.  But other factors, such as a smaller than normal summertime dead zone and an increase in juvenile crabs entering the fishery, provide a brighter picture.

Recent restoration work and pollution cuts also offer signs of progress for the nation’s largest estuary.

Learn more about Bay Barometer or read the full report.

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.