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Phosphorus has always been a part of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, but has increased to excessive levels over the last few decades.
Prior to substantial human activity in the region, most phosphorus was absorbed or retained by natural forest and wetland vegetation.
Yet, the activities of over 13.6 million people in the watershed have overwhelmed the Chesapeake Bay with excess amounts of nutrients.
phosphorus can come from a wide range of point and nonpoint sources, including sewage treatment plants, industrial facilities, agricultural fields, lawns, and the atmosphere.
As forests and wetlands have been replaced by farms, cities, and suburbs to accommodate a growing population, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution to the Chesapeake Bay has greatly increased.
Poor water quality has negatively affected important species such as submerged bay grasses, blue crab, oysters, and fish species.
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