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EPA Credits States for Making Progress in Bay Cleanup; Says More Effort Needed to Get Back on Track for a Restored Bay

Release Date: 06/26/2014
Contact Information: Tom Wenz 410-295-1360 wenz.tom@epa.gov; David Sternberg 215-814-5548 sternberg.david@epa.gov

(PHILADELPHIA June 26, 2014) – Today, EPA released its evaluations of the next round of actions six states and the District of Columbia have committed to undertake to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution to their local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. The reviews offer a path forward for getting all seven jurisdictions back on track for achieving the goals for a restored Bay.

EPA’s review of 2014-2015 milestone commitments by Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and District of Columbia is coupled with the agency’s assessment of the most recent milestones accomplished by each of the seven jurisdictions in 2012 and 2013. In addition, the agency assessed the actions taken by federal agencies to assist the jurisdictions in meeting these commitments.

“All of the jurisdictions continue to make progress in the various sectors,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Our assessments also point out that their work over the next two years will have to accelerate in some areas. EPA will work with the jurisdictions to fill these gaps, and help them achieve pollution reduction goals on schedule.”

Two-year milestones are short-term objectives under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL) accountability framework used to assess progress toward restoration goals while allowing jurisdictions to flexibly adapt their Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) to meet those goals.

The jurisdictions’ WIPs are key to restoring clean water to the thousands of streams and rivers that make up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and improving the quality of life for the nearly 18 million people who live in the watershed. When fully implemented, the seven WIPs will ensure all practices necessary to meet water quality standards in the Chesapeake Bay will be in place by 2025. By 2017, jurisdictions should have practices in place that would achieve 60 percent of necessary nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reductions compared to 2009.

The Bay jurisdictions’ and federal agencies’ 2014-2015 milestone commitments were developed by the states and the District with support from EPA, considering which practices and programs best fit each particular jurisdiction.

The 2014-2015 milestone commitments to reduce phosphorus and sediment remain on track. While nitrogen is projected to be collectively reduced at the end of 2015 by nearly 25 million pounds compared to 2009, this reduction is nearly 6 million pounds less than is needed to remain on track to meet the 2017 target. The jurisdictions will need to substantially increase nitrogen reductions in order to get back on track.

As for the most recent milestone accomplishments, data provided by the Bay jurisdictions show that the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership as a whole achieved the 2013 milestone targets for nitrogen and phosphorus. The partners fell short of their reduction commitments for sediment, but collectively they remain on track to meet the 2017 target.

The full evaluations are available on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL website.