The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) posted the final version of the state’s Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) on August 23, 2019. The WIP outlines Maryland’s plan for reaching its final 2025 nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reduction goals under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.
From the Phase III WIP’s Executive Summary:
The Phase III WIP builds on lessons learned from Phases I and II and charts a course to 2025 that is locally-driven, achievable, and balanced. To develop the Phase III WIP, Maryland agencies met with county public works and planning departments, municipalities, soil conservation districts, NGOs, and the public. Maryland hosted these stakeholder meetings to understand which restoration strategies are working and which are not, to anticipate plans and restoration actions from now to 2025, and recognize where resources and collaborations are needed. To establish local planning goals, the State compiled the stakeholder information into local summaries, along with local pollution sources, progress to date, and pollution reductions required by permits or contract. These local goals, combined with State-level reduction strategies, are projected to achieve Maryland’s 2025 Chesapeake Bay restoration targets.
Maryland’s 2025 nutrient targets for Bay restoration are 45.8 million pounds of total nitrogen (TN) per year and 3.68 million pounds of total phosphorus (TP) per year. This represents a substantial increase in effort over the Phase II WIP, with an additional million pounds of nitrogen reductions required by 2025. Maryland’s Phase III WIP strategy, which accounts for growth in human and livestock populations to 2025, achieves a nitrogen load of 44.8 million pounds per year and a phosphorus load of 3.28 million pounds per year. In surpassing its nitrogen and phosphorus targets by 1.0 million and 0.44 million pounds per year respectively, Maryland is not only providing itself a margin of safety toward its current targets, with the expectation that some strategies might not be fully executed by 2025, but more importantly, advancing a plan for reductions that can be applied toward its forthcoming climate change goals. In fact, looking at the combined reductions for both nutrients, the plan described in this report puts Maryland most of the way toward its anticipated climate change goals. A formal plan for the climate change goals will be drafted by 2022. In meeting its nutrient targets, the State will also achieve its sediment goals. Because phosphorus attaches to sediment, practices that reduce phosphorus tend to drive sediment reductions as well.