PHILADELPHIA (July 27, 2018) Today, EPA released a midpoint assessment of efforts by Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, the District of Columbia and federal partners to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. The 2010 Bay TMDL calls for having all the necessary pollution control measures for restoring the Bay in place by 2025, with controls in place to achieve 60 percent of the needed reductions at the midpoint (2017) as compared to 2009.
Collectively, the Bay Watershed jurisdictions have made considerable progress in reducing pollution to the Bay and the local waters that lead to the Bay. That progress has been demonstrated in measurable ways, including record acreage of underwater grasses and the highest estimates of water quality standards attained in more than 30 years.
According to data submitted by the Bay jurisdictions, overall watershed-wide restoration efforts exceeded the 60 percent goals for reducing phosphorus and sediment as measured under the current suite of modeling tools, but additional work is needed to meet the 2017 goal for reducing nitrogen.
“Working together with our partners at the state and local levels has led to considerable progress toward restoring water quality in the Chesapeake Bay,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “As we move into the next phase, we’re confident we will optimize strategies that will ultimately achieve the TMDL goals.”
EPA’s assessment includes an evaluation of the jurisdictions’ and federal agencies’ progress toward meeting their 2016-2017 milestones and their commitments for 2018-2019. The two-year milestones are short-term goals which were developed by the states, the District, and federal partners with support from EPA to help meet the 2025 targets.
Looking forward, the partners recently approved updated, numeric planning targets for nitrogen and phosphorus based on improved science, modeling, and monitoring information. Strategies to help meet these refined targets will be outlined in the jurisdictions’ Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans which are due to be released in draft form in April 2019 and finalized in September 2019.
EPA will continue to provide oversight and take actions where needed to ensure that continued restoration progress is consistent with Bay TMDL goals.