EPA Oversight of Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and Milestones in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
The TMDL is being implemented using an accountability framework that guides restoration efforts using four elements. These elements include Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), two-year milestones, EPA’s tracking and assessment of restoration progress and, as necessary, specific federal actions if the Bay jurisdictions do not meet their commitments. Bay jurisdictions include Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Under the accountability framework, EPA committed to conduct ongoing oversight of Bay jurisdictions' programs to ensure they are on track to meet the goals of their WIPs and two-year milestones.
EPA evaluates the milestone commitments that each jurisdiction makes every two years. In addition, EPA conducts, at a minimum, biennial reviews of the progress that each jurisdiction has made towards achieving the TMDL targets and milestone commitments. EPA identifies its level of oversight for each sector in each jurisdiction. The current status is shown here:
Ongoing oversight: EPA, while having no significant concerns with a jurisdiction’s strategy to implement the TMDL goals, will continue to monitor progress.
Enhanced Oversight: EPA, having identified specific concerns with a jurisdiction’s strategy to implement the TMDL goals, may take additional federal actions, as necessary, to ensure that the jurisdiction stays on-track.
Backstop Actions Level: EPA, having identified substantial concerns with a jurisdiction’s strategy to implement the TMDL goals, has taken necessary Federal Actions to help the jurisdiction get back on-track.
EPA's goal is for the Bay jurisdictions to successfully implement their Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and two-year milestones to achieve the necessary nutrient and sediment reductions. However, EPA is prepared to take federal actions if it is necessary and appropriate to do so to help the jurisdictions reach their targets. Federal actions can be taken at any time. Potential actions could include:
- Expand National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit coverage to unregulated sources.
- Expand EPA oversight review of state-issued NPDES permits and EPA objection to inadequate permits.
- Require net improvement offsets for new or increasing loadings.
- Establish finer-scale waste load allocations and load allocations in the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.
- Require additional reductions of loadings from point sources.
- Increase and target federal enforcement and compliance assurance, including both air and water sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.
- Condition or redirect EPA grants.
- Federally promulgate local nutrient water quality standards (WQS).
For more information on the potential actions, please visit:
- Section 7 of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL document
- EPA's December 29, 2009 letter to the Bay jurisdictions
If you have additional questions regarding EPA's evaluations of the Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and two-year milestones, please contact the appropriate EPA staff member listed on our Program Contacts page.