In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed it has assessed New York State’s final Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan to help reduce pollution entering the Chesapeake Bay from various source across New York’s Southern Tier — and things are looking good.
If the plan is fully implemented, New York will meet its pollutant reduction goals agreed to by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. The state’s goals include creating practices and implementing controls by 2025 to meet targeted reductions for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment that New York is accountable for in its part of the watershed.
Working Together to Clean Up the Chesapeake Bay
All seven jurisdictions in the CBP partnership — Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia — have agreed to create three phases of WIPs to offer a framework for decreasing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment loans to meet water quality standards in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.
Established in 1983, the Chesapeake Bay Program is managed by the EPA, through the Chesapeake Bay Program Office. Additionally, the Chesapeake Bay Commission — a tri-state legislative body — is also listed as a program partner.
Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load
Established on Dec. 29, 2010, the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load is a pollution diet created by the EPA. Designed to restore clean water in the Chesapeake Bay and the region’s streams, creeks, and rivers, several elements were put in place to ensure all necessary pollution control measures are at work by 2025.
Encompassing a 64,000-square-mile watershed, the Chesapeake Bay TMDL is the largest the EPA has ever created. However, this is necessary, because the bay and its tributaries contain excess nutrients and sediment from a variety of sources — i.e., agricultural operations, urban and suburban stormwater, wastewater, and airborne contaminants — that cause murky water and algae blooms.
The latter block sunlight from underwater grasses in the Bay and create low levels of dissolved oxygen needed to support aquatic life like fish, crabs, and oysters. While it’s only one step in the massive Chesapeake Bay planning and restoration process, the TMDL aims to make a major impact.