EPA Issues Review of State Watershed Cleanup Plans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its comprehensive evaluations of state plans for cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, according to a press release.

The report notes strengths in Maryland’s plan including the engagement of local agricultural partners, thorough verification of best management practices (BMP), and locally-driven strategies that can be effective at achieving several goals at once.

Maryland’s plan meets its numeric planning targets for nitrogen and phosphorus at the state and statebasin levels through the submission of BMPs and wastewater reductions. Maryland’s plan provides confidence in its narrative submission (i.e., adequate funding and programs) that it will attain the necessary load reductions by 2025 through the suite of BMPs and wastewater reductions proposed. The associated level of confidence could be enhanced as further detailed in this evaluation.

In its evaluation of the Phase III WIP, EPA identified that Maryland will meet its planning targets and its commitment through high rates of BMP implementation. In its Phase III WIP, Maryland identified six specific BMPs that account for 77% of the WIP nitrogen load reduction moving forward. To provide further confidence the planned load reductions will occur, Maryland’s Phase III WIP could have included detailed explanations about how Maryland will strengthen these practices and programs, including the inspection and maintenance of the BMPs already implemented. This could be addressed through development of specific and detailed numeric targets for BMP implementation in selected source sectors. EPA recommends that Maryland include 2-year numeric BMP implementation targets for these six practices as part of its programmatic milestones.

Read the full report on the EPA’s webpage.