|Action||Develop requirements that will address concerns regarding transfer and off-site management of poultry waste in the Commonwealth.|
|Comment Period||Ends 8/21/2009|
I wanted to echo the thoughts that my friend, Andrew Mueller so accurately expressed in his email to you. I have spent pretty much my whole life on or around the Chesapeake bay. Ironically I was born in Harrisonburg, VA and graduated from James Madison University, so I understand importance of agriculture and poultry farming for the livelihood of so many in that region. Having spent most of my adolescence in Hampton Roads and now living in Northern VA, I have seen how the Chesapeake bay is affected by the runoff from poultry waste, as well as construction runoff.
From my experience the most threatened marine life in the Bay may be the blue crabs. I remember, as a child, crabbing in the lower Bay and hauling in bushels of crabs in a matter of hours. Today it is obvious that this species, vital to so many along the watershed, is in dire trouble. Not only has the population itself dwindled, but the size of the crabs themselves has decreased dramatically in my lifetime. The last 300 years has seen the virtual extinction of the oysters in the Bay, which provide an essential filter to the waters. How will the complex and unique ecosystem of the Bay suffer if the crabs, too are allowed to die off?
Perhaps the most compelling evidence of the negative impacts of poultry waste comes from first hand experience. One particular day last year I set out to enjoy some kayaking along the Potomac river near Mt. Vernon. To my dismay, there were parts of the river that were so clogged by algae, that I could not even maneuver the small boat through. Algae that thick can only come from poultry waste and other nitrogen-rich runoff, and ultimately causes massive die-off of fish and other marine animals.
I agree that we must find a way to allow poultry farming and other agriculture to continue while at the same time easing the negative impact on the Bay. I hope this email will help in getting the message through. Thanks for fighting the good fight.
Audiovisual Production Specialist
Defense Acquisition University
Fort Belvoir, VA