FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Majority of local governments show progress on Chesapeake Bay restoration effort
Twenty-two local jurisdictions evaluated by Maryland Department of the Environment on two-year milestones
BALTIMORE, MD – (July 31, 2013) Evaluation of twenty-two sets of goals for local water restoration activities shows that Maryland’s communities are committed to improving the water quality of their streams, rivers, lakes and drinking water reservoirs and they are making progress, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) announced today. This assessment of two-year milestone goalsis part of the landmark Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010.
The Chesapeake Bay TMDL is a set of federal pollution limits on the amount of nutrient pollution and sediments that can enter the Bay and its tidal rivers to meet water quality standards. In response to these pollution limits, the seven Bay jurisdictions created individual Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), or restoration blueprints, that detail specific steps each will take to meet the pollution reduction goals by 2025. The blueprints guide local and state Bay restoration efforts through the next decade and beyond. The Bay jurisdictions use their two-year pollution reduction milestones to track and assess progress toward completing their WIP restoration actions; EPA regularly reviews each jurisdiction’s milestones.
The 2013 local two-year milestones were set by the county and municipal governments and represent the progress that those local governments believed they could complete during that time period. MDE is evaluating the progress of local jurisdictions to assess progress toward completion of the State’s Bay restoration blueprint in the following areas: resource enhancements; legal authority enhancements; organizational enhancements; planning; public engagement and addressing appropriate pollution source sectors.
“From crabs and oysters to boats and beaches and most important, clean drinking water supplies in our groundwater, streams, rivers and reservoirs, Maryland has the most to gain from our Bay restoration efforts,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers. “This effort is a federal, state and local partnership to improve our local water quality, natural habitats and ecosystems and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland appreciates the local jurisdictions’ participation in the two-year milestones as well as the great progress the jurisdictions are making toward the 2025 goals.”
Of the 24 jurisdictions in Maryland, 22 adopted Milestone commitments for the 2012-2013 period. Most of the 22 jurisdictions received a rating of high or medium. Jurisdictions that received top marks for their restoration activities include Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s and Washington counties. The two jurisdictions that did not submit status reports for their restoration actions are Frederick and Dorchester counties.
“Maryland continues to make progress towards the goals for healthy local waters and a restored Bay, underscoring the vital role local jurisdictions play in these efforts,” said Jon Capacasa, Water Program Director for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region. “Creating clean, healthy creeks, rivers and streams that benefit local communities and their economies, ultimately leads to a restored, healthy and economically viable Bay watershed.”
Meeting Maryland’s 2025 goals in a cost-effective manner will require continued implementation of innovative practices to reduce stormwater runoff and limit the pollution carried with it, further implementation of conservation practices by farmers across the state and nutrient trading to harness the innovative ideas of everyone working together to restore water quality. Working with local governments, Maryland will submit another blueprint of our efforts in 2018, called the Phase Three Watershed Implementation Plan.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Maryland Department of the Environment recently announced a Watershed Assistance – Two-Year Milestone Support grant program. This program will support design assistance, watershed planning and programmatic development associated with protection and restoration programs and projects that lead to improved water quality in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Maryland portion of the Youghiogheny watershed and the Maryland Coastal Bays. For more information or to apply visit the Chesapeake Bay Trust website.
Learn more about Maryland’s Bay restoration effort at Baystat.Maryland.Gov or follow @MDEnvironment and @EyesontheBay on Twitter.