Report Highlights TMDL Concerns

A May 5 article discusses concerns raised by a National Research Council report on the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements.

While the nearly 200-page report commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency paints a largely favorable picture of the latest effort to clean the estuary, it critically evaluates strategies to achieve that goal by 2025.

It says, for example, that nearly all the states have insufficient information to assess their progress, hampering their ability to make midcourse corrections.

It also cautions about “overly optimistic expectations” that could lead to public frustration about the progress of the cleanup.

“Sustaining public and political support for the program will require clear communication of these uncertainties and lag times and program strategies to better quantify them,” the report states.  …

“The report makes it clear there is no silver bullet,” Hilary Falk of the Choose Clean Water Coalition said in a statement. “It takes responsibility on the part of governments — federal, state and local — as well as residents, farmers and businesses.”

William C. Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the report endorses the current approach over past efforts. “But unless there are consequences that follow if the states fail to deliver on those commitments, the milestones will be ineffective guideposts for restoration,” he said in a statement.

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