Conservation activities in Maryland include the prevention of soil erosion, the conservation of fish and wildlife, and the preservation of open space. The major federal agencies active in the field of conservation in Maryland are the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Agricultural Research Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. State conservation programs are administered by numerous state agencies whose activities are coordinated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Much of the state has escaped severe soil erosion. However, there has been considerable erosion in extensive areas of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and also in the Piedmont, where the continuous cultivation of tobacco for more than three centuries has robbed the soil of its fertility and has left the bare hillsides exposed to the heavy spring and summer rains.
Since the 1930s, Maryland farmers have adopted such conservation practices as contour plowing, no-till farming, diversion terracing, grass rotation, and drainage of pasture land.
Water pollution, overfishing, the use of illegal fishing gear, the taking of immature fish and shellfish, and the prevalence of plant and animal pests have increasingly reduced the annual harvest from the waters of Chesapeake Bay. However, efforts are being made by federal and state agencies, as well as by private organizations, to restore the bay’s productivity. The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) joins federal, state and local governments in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania in a cooperative effort to clean up and improve the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. By the mid-1990s the CBP reported significant positive results, but some environmental problems persist. In 1997 repeated microbial infections caused thousands of fish to die in several rivers flowing into Chesapeake Bay.
Scientists are investigating the cause of the disease outbreak, but believe that agricultural runoff may be a major source of the problem, along with pollutants from factories, sewage systems, and even lawns.
The preservation of open space around the rapidly expanding metropolitan areas of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., is a growing concern of many federal, state, and municipal agencies. Efforts are being made to prevent suburban development from absorbing the potential recreation sites that are still not in any park system. In 2008 the state had 17 hazardous waste sites placed on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Progress was being made in efforts to reduce pollution; in the period 1995–2000 the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment was reduced by 14 percent. "Maryland" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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