MACo submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) draft Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Maryland’s draft Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) on November 8. In its comments, MACo stressed the need for local flexibility, quantifiable nutrient reduction tools that have been subjected to a cost based analysis, and both technical and financial assistance. The final versions of the TMDL and the Phase I WIP are expected to be finished by December 31.
In order to help it navigate the issues and challenges posed by the TMDL and WIPs, MACo has formed an internal workgroup that includes county planners, engineers, legislative officials, and environmental officials. The bulk of the workgroup’s time and effort will be spent on the development of the State’s Phase II WIP, which will set county specific goals for nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment and methods a county may use to reach those goals. The draft Phase II WIP is due to the EPA on June 1, 2011 although both the State and MACo advocate an extension of that deadline.