On July 11 in Richmond, the Chesapeake Executive Council held its annual meeting to discuss progress by the states and federal government toward restoring the Bay, including meeting the requirements of the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), issued by the U.S. EPA in December 2010. The Executive Council includes the chief executives from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the U.S. EPA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. December 2011 is the first deadline for two-year “milestones” set in 2009 by the Executive Council, as well as the deadline for states to develop Phase II of their Watershed Implementation Plans under the Bay TMDL, showing how pollution-reduction goals are to be met at the local level. At the July 11 meeting, staff of the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program presented an interim progress report, based on state-reported data through June 2010 and showing progress in implementing pollution-control practices, compared to the 2008 baseline year for the current milestone period. According to the progress report, Virginia and Delaware are “generally on track” to meet the 2011 milestones; Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and D.C. are “generally ahead of schedule”; and New York is “generally ahead of schedule for some practices, behind for others.” Here are excerpts from the Virginia section of the progress report: “Virginia is ahead of schedule or on schedule for meeting milestone commitments for BMPs [best management practices] including cover crops,conservation tillage, continuous no-till, cover crops, grass buffers, wetland restoration, stormwater management, erosionand sediment control, and septic pump-outs. Several bills to assist in achieving nutrient reductions were approvedby the 2011 General Assembly…. These new laws will require sale restrictionson phosphorus containing fertilizers for non-agricultural use, require all golf courses to develop and implementnutrient-management plans, and encourage farmers to develop comprehensive resource management plans that willinclude nutrient- and sediment-reduction practices. Despite poor economic conditions adversely impacting the statebudget, Virginia adopted in statute a dedicated funding stream for agricultural BMPs derived from an additional recordationfee associated with property transfers. This fee is projected to generate approximately $9 million per year….Virginia continues its aggressive program to upgrade sewage treatment plans. There are currently 57 active grantsagreements for nutrient-control upgrades that commit $659 million in state cost-share funds. Calendar year 2011 isthe first compliance period for wastewater dischargers to meet river basin-wide nutrient allocations established by Virginia’s watershed general permit. Virginia is on-track to reissue the permit in 2012 with nutrient allocations that conform to EPA’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL. Current and Anticipated Shortfalls: Some shortfalls are expected for some of the BMPs. The Commonwealth recently modified the tracking and reportingprocedures for nutrient management plans (NMPs) prior to the beginning of the milestone period to more accuratelyaccount for the average lifespan of NMPs: …urban nutrient-management acres…are lagging behind the milestone commitment levels [and] livestock stream-exclusion practices equating to 32 percent of the goal have been installed…. Contingencies to Address Shortfalls: Law changes have been enacted that will increase acreage of the urban nutrient-management practices substantially in future periods. To increase the pace of installation of livestock-exclusion practices, an additional $4 million in state cost-share funding has recently been earmarked for livestock stream-exclusion practices offered through soil and water conservation districts. The Governor and General Assembly have appropriated approximately $20 million per year for agricultural BMPs for FY12 and FY13….
Source: 2011 Executive Council Meeting (July 11, 2011), Chesapeake Bay Program, 7/15/11.