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Could O'Malley's cover crop program be increasing animal waste in the bay?

Gov. Martin O'Malley's green agenda really is green ("O'Malley rushes to propose new pollution rules," Nov. 14). Green as the goose waste that pours directly into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, mostly during the waterfowl season. And, it's primarily fed by Mr. O'Malley's very own cover crop program.

Let's see the real science on the impact of feeding the Canada goose population a $25 million taxpayer-sponsored crop and then letting them transport the nutrient rich excrement directly into the bay waters. I'm not talking about a slow meandering flow of nitrogen making its way through many layers of the soil and then maybe, just maybe, making its way into the bay through ground water. I'm talking about the near instant "harvesting" of sopped up nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorous contained in cover crop vegetation and then the direct transportation of these nutrients straight to bay waters. There it is clouds the water to the likes of pea soup and feeds the very blue-green algae that everyone fears.

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Watching a big flock of geese feed on lush fields of wheat and then flying off to the sanctuary of water, I can only imagine how many hundred thousands of tons of "hot" green manure get deposited directly into the bay waters. I suppose we could have a study on the feeding habits and dung functions of a typical goose and then extrapolate those numbers across the Atlantic population. Could it be that easy? Probably.

The O'Malley administration and other environmentalists may be correct that animal waste is a contributor of bay pollution. Where the waste actually comes from and how it gets to the bay is worthy of debate. The answer may be as easy as following a goose and checking underfoot.

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Rock Crum, Chestertown

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