The Chesapeake Bay TMDL is entering the third and final stage of pollution restoration efforts
The U.S. EPA sent letters to Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C., outlining expectations for state and local implementation plans for the third phase of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).
The expectations included in the letters were developed to support the goal of having all the practices and controls in place by 2025 to achieve the nutrient and sediment reductions necessary to meet water quality standards in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. They also build on the jurisdictions’ earlier Water Implementation Plan (WIP) strategies by further optimizing their choices of pollution reduction practices; incorporating lessons learned from previous efforts, new science and information from the mid-point assessment; developing comprehensive local engagement strategies; and building and sustaining the necessary programmatic and funding capacity to achieve the 2025 goals.
To date, the states have made progress on their phase I and II goals, and that progress is having a measurable impact. In 2017, scientists recorded the highest number of acres of underwater grasses ever seen in the watershed and the first time in the history of monitoring that total abundance surpassed 100,000 acres. In addition, more than 40% of bay tidal waters are now meeting water quality standards, which is the highest recorded in the history of the Chesapeake Bay Program.