Chesapeake Bay Foundation Press Release
A July 8 Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) press release announces the release of 2012-2013 interim milestone reports for five states and Washington DC that measure those jurisdictions’ progress towards meeting their 2013 water pollution reduction goals under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The interim milestone reports were compiled jointly by CBF and the Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC). The reports found that while no jurisdiction made progress in all of its pollution reduction goals, progress is being made in many areas. From the press release:
“This interim analysis is important because it celebrates the areas where states are exceeding the goals, but also shines a light on areas needing improvement,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “While no state met the mark, and Pennsylvania and Delaware missed on half or more of the goals we evaluated, all jurisdictions had the opportunity to alter their plans to reach their 2013 pollution reduction goals. That information, however, is not currently available.” …
The analysis looked at practices within three pollution source categories—agricultural runoff, urban/suburban sources, and wastewater treatment—based on their potential to provide substantial nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution reductions and offer important lessons for implementation moving forward.
“We are encouraged that states are working to reach their milestones and, in some cases, significant progress has been made,” said Hilary Harp Falk, co-chair of Choose Clean Water Coalition. “However, after reviewing the data, it is clear that we need verification protocols to help local, state, and federal programs ensure that practices are properly designed, installed, and maintained over time.”
In addition, CBF and CCWC believe that the next set of milestones, from 2014-15, should be reported at the basin or county level, as opposed to only at the state level. Local jurisdictions will play an important role in the restoration of local waterways, which is critical to long-term success.
The reports found that Maryland compared relatively favorably to other states, exceeding or on track to meet six out of seven goals (with nutrient management plan acreage the only shortfall). Washington DC exceeded or is on track to meet five of six goals. West Virginia is on track to meet four out of five goals. Virginia is on track to meet five of eight goals. Delaware exceeded four of its goals but fell short in four others. Pennsylvania exceeded or is on track to meet only three out of eight goals.
Other News Coverage
From a July 8 Capital Gazette article:
In Maryland, the report notes progress in agricultural conservation and urban stormwater with two agricultural milestones, animal manure management and grass buffers surpassing even the two-year goal.
Six of seven milestones showed improvement with a reduction in nutrient management plans the only setback — but those plans are updated on a three-year cycle.
The report said Maryland needs to set milestone goals for low-impact stormwater practices such as vegetated channels for runoff and suggested the state increase its effort to implement more grass and forested buffers to capture nutrient runoff.
The advocacy groups declined to make comparisons among the states and the district or if they shared common roadblocks to achieving their goals, such as funding. They said it’s important to continue to monitor each state’s progress and adjust plans when needed.
“If we’re not going to learn from the milestones we’re doomed to fail,” said Ann Jennings, the Bay Foundation’s Virginia executive director.
The EPA can take steps to nudge states that are failing to achieve their pollution diet goals, she said.