The Chesapeake Bay Program has prepared a timeline and explanatory sheet highlighting how the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) mid-point assessment and development of the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) will work. The sheet includes key dates for local government engagement. The Bay Program will update the sheet as necessary.
The mid-point assessment is a review of progress the Bay watershed states and local governments have made to date in meeting their TMDL restoration goals. Additionally, the assessment will review the efficacy of the current version of the Bay model and potentially propose changes. Changes to the model could result in new nutrient and sediment reduction targets for both states and local governments as the TMDL enters its final phase. All TMDL goals must be met by 2025.
The assessment will also figure heavily in the development of state and local Phase III WIPs. The Phase III WIPs will chart the nutrient and sediment actions governments will take during the final years of the TMDL. Most of the “low hanging fruit” in Bay restoration, such as upgrading wastewater treatment plants to enhanced nutrient removal, have already been performed leaving more difficult and costly reduction measures for Phase III.
With the conclusion of the mid-point assessment and development of the Phase III WIPs, 2018 will be a critical year for the Bay TMDL. MACo has long advocated for certainty in the Bay TMDL nutrient and sediment targets and for maximum flexibility in meeting these goals. MACo will continue to support cost-effective methods to achieve realistic outcomes as the Bay TMDL enters the “home stretch.”