As structured, the state's water quality certification essentially provides Exelon with three options to reduce the pollution now flowing over the dam: Make a payment to the state, pay private entities to install upstream water quality improvements or dredge the materials that have stored up behind the dam.
Installing upstream water quality improvements, such as wetland restoration, stream restoration or floodplain reconnection, and riparian buffer reforestation has consistently been shown to be the most cost effective and environmentally beneficial option, especially when guided by the latest technology and data. By fostering a dependable pipeline of private resources, this could expand private investment in profitable and impactful restoration. Indeed, this could effectively create a new restoration economy in the Chesapeake Bay.
From my perspective, the administration is improving local economies and creating good jobs to fix degraded lands that will reduce pollution and clean up the water. This could be another boost to the growing restoration economy.
Joel Dunn, Annapolis
The writer is president and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy.