MD Watershed Implementation Plan

MDE release – http://www.mde.state.md.us/Pages/Home.aspx

The Chesapeake Bay TMDL, Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan and Maryland’s 2012-2013 Milestone Goals

DRAFT Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan for Public Review (January 26, 2012)

The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure constituting the largest estuary in the United States and one of the largest and most biologically productive estuaries in the world.  Despite significant efforts by federal, state, and local governments and other interested parties, pollution in the Chesapeake Bay prevents the attainment of existing water quality standards.  The pollutants that are largely responsible for impairment of the Bay are nutrients, in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus, and sediment.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with the Bay watershed jurisdictions of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, New York, and the District of Columbia (DC), developed and, on December 29, 2010, established a nutrient and sediment pollution diet for the Bay, consistent with Clean Water Act requirements, to guide and assist Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts.  This pollution diet is known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), or Bay TMDL.   MDE took part in an ongoing, high-level decision-making process to create the essential framework for this complex, multi-jurisdictional TMDL that will address nutrient and sediment impairments throughout the entire 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed.

MDE participated in numerous inter-jurisdictional and inter-agency workgroups and committees over the last three years to provide technical expertise and guidance for developing the Bay TMDL in a manner consistent with the State’s water quality goals and responsibilities. In particular, MDE worked to ensure that the Bay TMDL addressed the nutrient and sediment impairments in all of Maryland’s tidal waters listed as impaired by those pollutants on the State’s Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality.

MDE took the lead on developing an allocation process that will enable the State to meet a key requirement for the Bay TMDL and Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan:  the sub-allocation of major basin loading caps of nutrient and sediment to each of 58 “segment-sheds” in Maryland – the land areas that drain to each impaired Bay water quality segment – and to each pollutant source sector in those areas.

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