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News Releases from Region 03

Evaluations of Chesapeake Bay Restoration Efforts Show Progressand Remaining Challenges in Reducing Nitrogen, Phosphorus,and Sediment Pollution

Contact Information: 
David Sternberg (sternberg.david@epa.gov)

PHILADELPHIA (June 17, 2016) Today, EPA released its evaluations of restoration efforts by the six Bay states and the District of Columbia in 2014 and 2015, as part of the blueprint to restore the Chesapeake Bay.  These two-year milestone evaluations, which look at short-term commitments and actions, assess progress toward restoration goals under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL) accountability framework.

The evaluations looked at where Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia stand regarding their commitments to reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution to their local waters and the Bay.  EPA also assessed the actions taken by federal agencies to assist the jurisdictions in meeting these commitments.

“While we are seeing solid progress across every sector, we also recognize that not all sectors in each of the jurisdictions are where they need to be in order to meet Bay water quality goals,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.  “EPA will continue working with the jurisdictions to offer assistance while also providing closer oversight where necessary to ensure the pollution reduction commitments will be met.”

The 2010 Bay TMDL calls for having all of the necessary pollution control measures for restoring the Bay in place by 2025, with controls in place to achieve 60 percent of the needed reductions by 2017.  On the whole, the jurisdictions appear on track to meet load reductions for phosphorus and sediment, the evaluations indicate it is unlikely they will meet the 60 percent threshold for reducing nitrogen on time by 2017.

The Bay jurisdictions collectively finished the 2014-2015 milestone period on target for nitrogen from wastewater, but not from agriculture, and urban/suburban stormwater.

For phosphorus, the Bay jurisdictions as a whole achieved the watershed-wide 2015 targets for all sectors except urban/suburban stormwater.

For sediment, the jurisdictions achieved the watershed-wide 2015 targets for wastewater, but did not achieve this goal for agriculture and the urban/suburban stormwater sectors.

In addition, EPA and the jurisdictions worked with federal agencies to set 2017 nutrient and sediment pollution reduction targets for over 700 federal facilities in the Bay watershed.

The Bay jurisdictions’ and federal agencies’ milestone commitments were developed by the states and the District with support from EPA, considering which practices and programs best fit each particular jurisdiction.  The milestone evaluations will help the jurisdictions adapt their plans in order to meet Bay restoration goals.  EPA will continue to provide enhanced oversight and take federal actions where needed to ensure continued progress can be made in line with the Bay Partnership goals.

The full evaluations are available on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL website