Every summer hoards of people head to the beach, or their favorite spot along the bay, and most just take for granted the clean water, good fishing or plentiful seafood that they will enjoy while relaxing way from the daily grind.
But keeping the bay clean and healthy has been a source of contention for years. Environmentalists keep proposing all these regulations, and farmers and landowners have to abide by restrictions on fertilizers for their crops and lawns. Why, the state even has the audacity to tax rain.
Where will it all end? And are any of these costs helping, or are they just placing an additional burden on taxpayers, many of whom reside far away from the bay.
The answer, of course, is yes, the regulations help. But the answer to the question of whether it is worth the cost depends upon who you are asking.
For many people, the bay is too far away. And if something isn't happening right here in our back yard, then it just isn't happening. they can't see how what we do impacts the overall health of the bay.
But the reality is that the streams and rivers that flow into the bay originate throughout the region. Fishing in the local stream doesn't contribute as much to the state or local economy as the throng of anglers who take to the bay each week. And the crabbers who work the bay know first-hand how pollution levels will impact their ability to make a living.
Delaware, Virginia, D.C., Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia join Maryland as states that have an impact on the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay. But we aren't alone in trying to get other states to do their fair share.
In Louisiana, scientists with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium released their annual report on the Gulf Dead Zone. The area, the report said, measures 5,008 square miles, "almost as large as the state of Connecticut," and three times larger than the Dead Zone Task Force's 2015 goal.
States along the Mississippi are fighting regulations designed to reduce pollution going into the gulf, just like some folks here and in neighboring states are fighting efforts to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake.
Perhaps the clean water we all enjoy isn't worth the hassle of added regulations. The half billion dollars spent annually by anglers might not be important to some folks either, or the jobs that are dependent upon tourists who come and spend their money enjoying all the bay has to offer.
Summer is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the state's many waterways, or a crab bake with friends and relatives.
The benefit of clean water, from here to the bay and all points in between, is something that we should not take for granted.