The Washington Post did a terrific article a few weeks ago on the problems with our water. The discussion has focused on “the Chesapeake Bay”. For most (even in Loudoun), the Chesapeake Bay is a far off place that has nothing to do with our daily lives.
In truth though, what we do here in Loudoun affects the Chesapeake Bay because of run-off and erosion. Even still, most people still say – “So what? What do I care about the Bay? It doesn’t affect me. I can get drinkable water from my tap. I can eat crabs whenever I want.” And they’re probably right.
But that’s an illusion and is missing the point. The real effort behind “cleaning up the Bay” is about restoring the habitat we have here so that water here is safe and plentiful to drink. The Bay is just the indicator of the poor practices we currently engage in.
There is a problem and the sickness that continues to manifest itself is being shown in the health of the waters in the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is the canary in the coal mine if you will for the sickness that is running through the watershed – through our backyard streams and the Potomac River.
You may not care about the Chesapeake Bay – it’s miles away after all – but you should care about the water that is running through our neighborhoods that we are drinking. Poor environmental practices come at a cost – to get water clean enough to drink we pay (in our taxes – oh yes we do) for huge systems to sanitize our drinking water. If we could just change our behaviors and take care of our habitat, natural environmental filters would restore water quality.
In the Washington Post article, we are essentially given a dream to ponder (a dream that was actually the reality not too many years ago)…..Imagine what could happen if most of our lawns were replaced with native plants and grasses…
I ask….Imagine what could happen if we placed a higher value on the health of our environment (and ourselves) than on clearing forest and other plant buffers.
This is an issue that will be addressed sooner or later – either by us today when we can be proactive about it, or by our children in the future, when a tragedy of polluted water forces us to change.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy continues to stay engaged in the discussion around establishing a Streams ordinance for Loudoun. We participate in stakeholder meetings and continue to advocate for preserving and restoring a healthy natural environment.