EPA Makes Generational Investment in the Chesapeake Bay

The EPA will invest $238 million in Pennsylvania to help prevent pollutants from entering the bay. 

new update from the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership indicates a slight decline in water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, which seems to be a result of the heavy rainfall in the region during the summer of 2018 and 2019, that led to lower water clarity and dissolved oxygen. To achieve the CBP partnership’s water quality goals of improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making unprecedented investment into reducing nutrients and pollution from the watershed.

According to the EPA:

“The water quality standards are a lagging indicator because it does take time for the effects of the flooding that we saw in 2018 and 2019 to be fully felt. However, this slight decrease in water quality underscores the need to build on the progress that we’ve made in the 40 years since the Chesapeake Bay partnership was formed,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz.

“Despite the slight decrease in water quality, the story of the past two years is one of tremendous improvement, especially in the agricultural sector. The Biden administration is making a generational investment into the Chesapeake Bay – $238 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. That money is going onto the ground in the form of grants and technical assistance, like the recent partnership with EPA, Hershey and Land O’Lakes to improve farm sustainability and water quality in Pennsylvania and ultimately the Bay,” added Ortiz.

Computer modeling shows that nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment levels have been decreasing annually from the 2009 baseline. Nitrogen has decreased from 297.8 million pounds in 2009 to 255.9 million pounds in 2022; phosphorus decreased from 17.2 million pounds in 2009 to 14.9 million pounds in 2022; and sediment decreased from 18.9 billion pounds in 2009 to just under 18 billion pounds in 2022 and met the 2025 target for reduction.

Why does Pennsylvania matter to Maryland? 

The Chesapeake Bay’s main tributary is the Susquehanna River, which runs from New York through Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania and crosses into Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. The largest source of bay pollution is this river, and most pollution is picked up during its course through Pennsylvania. While nearly all of the $238 million won’t be invested directly in Maryland, the positive changes it generates will be felt everywhere in the Bay watershed.

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