Our efforts to say the Chesapeake over the last few decades have been a process to say the least. Successful strides have been made and when new environmental acts make their way through the political system, it always seems just that: a success. But is it really? In no way would I look at the smart growth plan and think ” that was a horrible idea because that will not help our environment whatsoever, ” but I am concerned if this is enough. Will these best management practices, development restrictions and nutrient plans make the kind of change we want to see in the Chesapeake Bay? If our population continues to grow at the current rates, our issues may be larger than any best management practice can solve.
The fertility rate of US citizens is on average 2.1 which would in theory keep our population steady. This, of course, is not the case. The population increase in the Chesapeake region by about 150,000 people a year according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform report in 2010. This issue of population growth may be even more of a problem than the demise of oysters or nutrient pollution. The population increase will eventually outweigh the efforts to clean the bay if no action is taken. It seems as if the public is not as concerned or aware of this issue in relation to environmental degradation. There needs to be equal efforts for population control as there are for environmental regulation and there should be equal advocacy. We should be talking about this issue just as much as we talk about agricultural runoff. If immigration issues are an issue for federal government, then we need to take action locally in the mean time. Implement education of women immigrants and migrant workers and give them access to birth control. By addressing the population issue along side the other environmental issue of the bay, I think there can be much success in saving the Chesapeake.