Water Quality

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.

Agricultural Land Cover 2006: U.S. Geological Survey. NLCD 2006 Land Cover. For this purpose, “agriculture” includes Pasture/Hay (areas of grasses, legumes, or grass-legume mixtures planted for livestock grazing or the production of seed or hay crops, typically on a perennial cycle) and Cultivated Crops (areas used for the production of annual crops, such as corn, soybeans, vegetables, tobacco, and cotton, and also perennial woody crops such as orchards and vineyards).

Factors Influencing Goals

Many factors affect partners' ability to reach collective goals. For example, a pound of nitrogen added to a stream in NY does not affect the Bay in the same way as a pound of nitrogen from VA (see "Nitrogen from Agriculture Delivered to the Bay"). Focusing nutrient and sediment reduction efforts in areas with high delivered loads has the greatest benefit on water quality in the Bay. "Nitrogen from Agriculture Delivered to Rivers and Streams" shows the edge of field loads, or the amount of nutrients entering a river segment from the land, throughout the watershed. Focusing efforts in areas where edge of field contributions are high has the greatest impact on local water quality.

Some factors, such as soil type, are outside of our control. Knowledge of soil type supports the farmer's efforts to manage his lands in a way that considers soil erosion vulnerability, leachability and other factors. Soil characteristics can be viewed in the "Soil Survey" map.

  Agricultural Lands

Nutrient and Sediment Loads