In addition to the Overview information provided for Water Quality, the Agriculture and Wastewater Workgroups have described their priorities and progress in the tabs below. Other important work is being conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership to restore water quality by implementing pollution reduction practices on urban and suburban lands and reducing pollution deposited in the watershed from the air. Additional information on these efforts will be included over time. Progress in implementing the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and in achieving milestones set at the 2009 Executive Council Meeting is also described below.
The Agriculture Workgroup (AGWG) has described their priorities and progress in the tabs below. Other important work is being conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership to restore water quality by implementing pollution reduction practices on urban and suburban lands and reducing pollution deposited in the watershed from the air. Additional information on these efforts will be included over time.
The Wastewater Workgroup has described their priorities and progress in the tabs below. Other important work is being conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership to restore water quality by implementing pollution reduction practices on urban and suburban lands and reducing pollution deposited in the watershed from the air. Additional information on these efforts will be included over time.
The Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or “pollution diet” sets pollution limits necessary to meet applicable water quality standards in the Bay and its tidal rivers. The primary elements of the TMDL are “wasteload allocations” for “point sources” like sewage treatment plants, urban stormwater systems and large animal feeding operations, and “load allocations” for “non point sources” such as runoff from agricultural lands and non-regulated stormwater from urban and suburban lands. These pollution limits are further divided by jurisdiction and major river basin based on state-of-the-art modeling tools, extensive monitoring data, peer-reviewed science, and close interaction with jurisdiction partners.
During the 2009 Chesapeake Executive Council (EC) meeting, the Bay watershed jurisdictions set short-term goals or milestones to reduce pollution to the Bay and dramatically accelerate the pace of restoration. Jurisdictions based the 2009-2011 milestones on increasing their historic implementation rates in order to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. In December 2010, EPA finalized the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) which provided jurisdictions with load allocation numbers for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. These allocations created a “pollution diet” which set limits for the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that could enter the Bay from each jurisdiction and ensure the Bay is meeting water quality standards.
The 2009-2011 milestones were developed prior to the limits set by the Bay TMDL. As a result, the information presented here is not directly comparable with the annual reporting by the Bay jurisdictions on progress toward achieving the TMDL allocations. Beginning with the 2012-2013 milestone period, reporting of 2-year milestone progress will be tracked against the Bay TMDL allocations and the level of commitments made in the Phase I and II Watershed Implementation Plans.
In 2008, the Chesapeake Executive Council charged the seven jurisdictions to develop a two-year milestone process for reducing their respective nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment contributions to the Chesapeake Bay and to track the pace of those reductions. Two-year milestones provide short-term objectives and have become part of the overall Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) accountability framework established in 2010 to assess progress on restoration goals. When fully implemented, the seven Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) will ensure that practices are in place by 2017 to reduce the load by 60 percent. By 2025, all practices necessary to meet the target loading levels will be in place. The two-year milestones allow jurisdictions the opportunity to adapt implementation strategies outlined in their WIPs as necessary to meet those goals and ultimately achieve applicable water quality standards and restore the Bay.
Stormwater blurb here.
- Factors Influencing Goals
- Current Efforts and Gaps
- Strategies and Resources
- Performance Assessment
- Case Studies
- Make Your Own Map
- AGWG Members
Why is Agriculture Important to Clean Streams and a Healthy Bay?
Agriculture covers 23% of the land area in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, making it one of the primary land uses in the region. By toggling between the radio buttons and mousing over the pie chart below, one can view respective contributions by source of total nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads delivered to the Bay in 2009. While agriculture is the largest single source of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution to the Bay, agricultural lands also hold the greatest potential to play a significant part in cleaning up local waterways. By applying pollution-reducing management practices and state-of-the-art technologies to agricultural lands and livestock operations, healthy waters and a thriving farming industry can coexist.
Agriculture and the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
In December 2010, the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) was signed. This ‘pollution diet’ called for reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from all sectors, including agriculture. The interactive map below presents the allocations set for regulated and unregulated agriculture within each state basin. Regulated agricultural contributors are those operations that are required to maintain water quality standards outlined in a permit, including Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). All other agriculture is unregulated. Each of the seven jurisdictions has developed a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), laying out what practices they will have on the ground by 2025 to achieve these allocations.
Chesapeake Bay Executive Order
The Chesapeake Bay Executive Order, signed in May 2009, calls for the targeting of "resources to better protect the Bay and its rivers, particularly in agricultural conservation practices." As part of the Executive Order Strategy, USDA committed to the following agricultural conservation outcome in support of the overall goal of restoring clean water:
Work with producers to apply new conservation practices on 4 million acres of agricultural working lands in high-priority watersheds by 2025 to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.