On Sunday, July 5, the Lynchburg News & Advance ran an op/ed piece on the Chesapeake Bay that contained several inaccuracies. Virginia Farm Bureau Federation President Wayne Pryor responded with a letter to the editor. It reads below:
Just as it is the responsibility of all Virginians to protect our waterways, it is the responsibility of the media to accurately portray the state of our natural resources.
In the July 5 editorial, “A degree of progress on the James and the Bay,” The News & Advance incorrectly reported that the “dead zone” in the Chesapeake Bay this year will be about 1.37 million cubic miles. It’s actually expected to be a much-less-dramatic 1.37 cubic miles, as reported on June 23 by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.
It is my hope that some of your readers saw that figure, questioned its accuracy and were able to find the correct information online. It’s readily available. It’s also my concern that the astoundingly large error overshadowed the fact that the year’s dead zone is 10 percent smaller than the long-term average as measured since 1950.
That decrease is due in part to efforts to decrease agricultural and other runoff into the bay and its tributaries. It’s a sign that progress is being made. The Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged as much, noting recently that Virginia is among states on target to meet their goals for nitrogen and phosphorous runoff by 2025.
I have to assume they checked and double-checked their math.