Good Bay News from MD and VA

Progress continues on improving Chesapeake Bay conditions. While slower than many would like, it is worth noting that population within the Bay watershed continues to grow bringing addition challenges. Those who depend on the Bay for a livelihood, and as a recreational resource appreciate the progress!

_____________________from the HarvedeGracePatch, July 9. 2012……..

Maryland has met its milestones to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Monday.

The 2009-2011 milestones are part of the state’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), which puts the state on track to achieve its next two-year goal, as well as the 2017 goal.

“There are some challenges so large that we can only tackle them together. Restoring the Bay is one of them. And all of us are here today because we understand that the choices we make together for our Bay matter for our health, our environment, our quality of life, our economy and for future generations,” O’Malley said, according to a statement. “We have worked closely with our local partners to create and carry out a Watershed Implementation Plan that works for each individual community, and do it in an open and transparent way. Thanks to our hard work together, we have achieved our 2009-2011 milestones, and we’re on track to meet our 2012-2013 milestones.”

O’Malley’s announcement came at the Chesapeake Executive Council meeting Monday in Virginia.

See Maryland’s 2012-2013 goals via BayStat.

The progress includes planting 429,818 acres of cover crops, which prevented about 2.58 million pounds of nitrogen and 86,000 pounds of phosphorous from impacting the Bay, according to the statement. That figure met 123 percent of the cover crop goal, the statement read.

Improvements to state and local wastewater treatment plants led to the prevention of more than 1.5 million pounds of nitrogen from reaching the Bay—meeting 165 percent of the state’s wastewater nitrogen reduction goals, the statement said.

More than 106,000 pounds of nitrogen—88 percent of the state’s two-year goals—were prevented from reaching the Bay through improved site-design and retroactively installing stormwater management systems in developments, according to the statement.

The Healthy Air Act prevented more than 331,000 pounds of nitrogen from reaching the Bay on an annual basis from 2009-2011, the state said, reaching 100 percent of its goals.

The state, according to the release, also planted 895 acres of forest buffers to help naturally remove nutrients, meeting 166 percent of its goals in the process.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly, legislation passed this year will help us to protect, restore and support healthy waterways and drinking water while preserving farm and forest land, all of which will benefit Maryland families with clean water for years to come,” Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers said in the release. “Clean water is the foundation of public health, economic health and Marylander’s quality of life for the future.”

Also in the release, the state said Maryland is on track for its 2012-2013 goals, and in partnerships with Virginia, the Bay’s blue crab population is at the highest level in recorded history.

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More  news ……………….

Virginia making progress on bay cleanup goals, groups say

// By: Rex Springston | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: July 10, 2012 Updated: July 10, 2012 – 12:00 AM

 RICHMOND, Va. —

Virginia met six of nine goals set in 2009 for restoring the Chesapeake Bay, environmentalists say.

“Virginia has made considerable progress in meeting its first bay milestones,” said Ann Jennings, Virginia director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an environmental group.

“Even in those areas where the state fell short — certain farm conservation practices and reducing lawn fertilizer — new or anticipated programs coming on line and ongoing policy ‘tweaks’ can ensure greater progress,” Jennings said in a statement.

The bay foundation and Choose Clean Water, a coalition of groups supporting the bay cleanup, analyzed nine key interim goals, called milestones. The groups announced their findings Monday.

According to the analysis, Virginia met its goals for restoring wetlands, planting grass buffers by streams, managing storm water, dealing with septic tanks and reducing nitrogen and phosphorus — key bay pollutants — flowing from sewage-treatment plants.

The state fell short, however, on increasing the planting of cover crops, planting streamside trees and managing pollution that runs off urban areas.

“All states exceeded in some categories and fell short in others, which is not surprising in this first milestone effort,” the environmentalists said in a news release.

Doug Domenech, Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, said the state is more focused on reducing pounds of pollution than meeting the individual goals.

“Virginia has already met and exceeded its nitrogen reduction goal for 2013 by 680,000 pounds!!” Domenech said in an email.

The bay foundation “should take a more comprehensive view of the program instead of focusing on the few practices we may have missed,” Domenech said.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Friday that major sewage treatment plants exceeded their goals, an achievement that prevented 2.5 million pounds of nitrogen from entering waters leading to the bay.

Virginia’s efforts to reduce the plants’ nitrogen and phosphorus releases date back to the mid-2000s.

Leaders of the federal and state bay cleanup established the milestones to better gauge states’ progress. The first set of milestones covers actions from 2009 through 2011.

Meanwhile, the Chesapeake Executive Council, a group of federal and state leaders that sets policies for the cleanup, elected Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent C. Gray its chairman Monday.

The group met near Lorton at Gunston Hall, which was the home of George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Gray succeeded federal Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson.

Efforts to clean the bay have been under way since the mid-1980s. The latest plan aims to put enough pollution controls in place by 2025 to restore the bay — with most of the controls in place by 2017.

The effort could cost Virginians more than $15 billion, according to state estimates.

In addition to federal agencies, the cleanup involves Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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