MACo and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) jointly hosted a Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) symposium for county elected officials and professional staff on October 7. Attendees identified their challenges, concerns, and frustrations with the Phase II WIP process and also discussed possible solutions.
The discussion took place in two tracks – one for county staff and one for elected officials. Each track allowed for participants to speak candidly about their concerns and challenges but also offer constructive criticism to improve the WIP implementation process. The discussion was wide-ranging and included funding concerns, extending the State’s WIP implementation timeline to 2025, the importance of conducting a cost-benefit analysis on nutrient reduction practices, and allowing county governments the flexibility to implement the nutrient reduction strategies that are the most cost-effective for them. The lack of federal outreach to both local governments and the general public was also noted.
Both tracks jointly heard from a panel of speakers representing the agricultural, wastewater facility, and environmental sectors, each of whom offered their relative perspectives on the Phase II WIP process. (A developer panelist was also scheduled but unable to attend.) MACo and CBF are collating the challenges and possible solutions and will use the information to propose modifications and changes to the WIP process going forward.