THE LATEST FROM THE MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT
IMPROVING MARYLAND’S COASTAL BAYS
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has approved pollution limits set by Maryland to help improve water quality in the state’s coastal bays.
The limits approved by the EPA are contained in Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus for the Maryland Coastal Bays.
The Maryland Coastal Bays – Assawoman, Newport, Isle of Wight, Sinepuxent and Chincoteague Bays – lie between the barrier islands (Assateague Island and Ocean City) to the east and the mainland of Worcester County on the west. The Coastal Bays’ watersheds are connected to the Atlantic Ocean by inlets near Ocean City and near Chincoteague Island in Virginia. These shallow lagoons provide critical habitat for commercially important seafood and numerous wildlife species. Vacationers and tourists to the Ocean City and Assateague Island areas use the Coastal Bays for boating, water skiing, fishing and other recreational activities throughout the year.
“The Maryland Department of the Environment appreciates the support of Worcester County and our other partners in the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the members of the Coastal Bays Implementation Committee,” said MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers. “Putting this blueprint into place to reduce pollution will continue to allow future generations of Marylanders to enjoy fishing, swimming and recreating in the waters of one of the State’s greatest natural treasures.”
Nutrients are, of course, essential for aquatic life. Over the past few decades, however, the Coastal Bays, like the Chesapeake Bay and many other water bodies, have received too much of a good thing. Excess nutrients cause . . .
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About this STAT
Pollution limits are established using a state-of-the-art model and recent data to determine reductions needed to meet water quality standards. The rate of water flow is one of the factors that MDE scientists consider.
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