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killing_chesapeake117 karma

One of the goals of the Conowingo piece was to help people understand the scope -- if you consider wacky comparisons about train cars to be "work," that is. If you prefer another distance, 4,000 miles is also about from NYC to Berlin. We should probably consult with the people who write children's books like "How much is a million?" to try to explain this better. As far as apathy, I don't really think so -- while conversations of a global nature (like about climate change) can definitely lead to paralysis over the immensity of solutions, this problem is regional. Even though it also requires a great deal of coordination and cooperation to solve, at least it's easier to wrap our heads around. But I guess it depends on the person! -- JR

killing_chesapeake71 karma

Hey, thanks for your question u/temporary_jacket. If the dam was never built, not only would we not have the confounding issues we have now specifically about what's up inside the reservoir (and our fish passage problems) but I personally believe that action would have been taken on pollution sooner if the stuff hadn't been trapped and went into the bay for people to see. The fact that much of the visible pollution (sediment, with the phosphorus attached) was blocked up behind the wall hid the problem from view. Yes, it would have been devastating to the upper bay, but maybe people would have been inspired to act sooner had that been the case. -- JR

killing_chesapeake66 karma

Yes, there are a lot of things that connect to create the problem, just as there are a lot of things that connect to solve it. The worst case scenario is unfettered run-off that contains excess nitrogen and phosphorus. Fortunately, mitigation has worked, when it's given a chance to work. It's just a matter of changing practices and creating buffers that protect the watershed. And yes, one thing that was striking in all of our reporting was how everything is connected in the ecosystem, that one mitigation effort may create other issues. For example, the removal of mill dams, without restoration of streams and wetlands, is believed to be a good thing. But without other efforts it can result in increased erosion and runoff that contribute to issues downstream. Thanks for the great question. - MA

killing_chesapeake37 karma

I'm confused, should I keep an eye out for a boat or a yak --jr

killing_chesapeake33 karma

Once the pollution gets into the streams, it's much more problematic, as we're seeing with the sediment issues and its concentration of phosphorus at the Conowingo Dam. The most effective way to deal with it is to prevent it from getting into the watershed in the first place. And there are things farmers can do, changing farming practices, keeping livestock away from streams, planting buffers along streams, things like that. There are also a number of watershed groups, local volunteers, who have taken on the task of stream restoration. Mostly that means planting trees and native plants to serve as buffers to reduce runoff into streams. Thanks for the questions. - MA