Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of October 28, 2019, is “The Chesapeake Bay Commission Turns 40 in 2020.” The 4 min./40 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2019/10/episode-496-10-28-19-chesapeake-bay.html, focuses on the Commission’s involvement since 1980 in efforts to restore the Bay. The episode features music by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va., and Andrew VanNorstrand of New York.
Chesapeake Bay looking north from Cape Charles, Va. (Northampton County), October 6, 2007.
Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org. Have a listen or two!
The Chesapeake Bay Principals’ Staff Committee met March 2, 2018, at the Maryland Department of Environment, 1800 Washington Boulevard in Baltimore, Md. Click on the date above for more information and access to the meeting agenda.
According to the Chesapeake Bay Program Web site at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/who/group/principals_staff_committee, the “Principals’ Staff Committee works on behalf of the Executive Council to translate the restoration vision into policy and implementation actions: accepting items for Council consideration and approval, setting agendas for Council meetings, providing briefings to the Watershed Agreement signatories and providing policy and program direction to the Management Board.”
The Chesapeake Bay Executive Council (see information online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/who/group/chesapeake_executive_council) consists of the governors of the six watershed states (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia), the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Council establises policy direction for Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection.
In 2017-2018, the Chesapeake Bay Program (online at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/) was working on a midpoint assessment of progress toward the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 2010. Information about the assessment is available from the Bay Program online at https://mpa.chesapeakebay.net/. According to that Web site, “The December 2010 Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL) calls for an assessment in 2017 to review our progress toward meeting the nutrient and sediment pollutant load reductions identified in the 2010 Bay TMDL, Phase I and Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and two-year milestones. The driving purpose of the Bay TMDL’s 2017 midpoint assessment is to streamline implementation and to make challenges to implementation more understandable for the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership as we move towards 2017 and 2025.”
As of February 2018, the midpoint assessment was expected to be completed in December 2018 (see “Midpoint Assessment & Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) Schedule,” online at https://mpa.chesapeakebay.net/).
An overview of the midpoint assessment, is provided in “Conowingo, growth, climate may threaten Bay cleanup deadline” in the Jan.-Feb. 2018 issue of Bay Journal; see particularly the “Midpoint Assessment Update” section of the article. Contact Bay Journal at P.O. Box 222, Jacobus, PA 17407-022; phone (717) 428-2819.
In August 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $6.7 million in grants for projects in Virginia related to restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and to the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution-reduction plan (published by the EPA in 2010). The grants include the following:
*$3.43 million to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in the Bay and tidal tributaries;
*$2.78 million to the DEQ specifically for reducing non-point source pollution;
*$463,000 to the DEQ for additional monitoring of nutrients and sediments and for water-quality analysis and interpretation; and
*$20,000 to Virginia Tech for technologies to reduce pollutant inputs.
Source: Bay cleanup gets $6.7M from EPA, [Newport News] Daily Press, 8/29/17.
On June 30, 2017, a project team from the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Rappahannock River Basin Commission released “Healthy Watersheds Forest Retention Project Phases 1 and 2 Final Report.”
The report’s title page states that the project is “a Virginia and Pennsylvania partnership focused on expanding the use of forestland to meet Chesapeake Bay Watershed goals from the perspective of the local leaders who are responsible for making it happen.” The Acknowledgments (page 8) describe the report as an effort “to answer two questions: Can we quantify the contribution of forestland in economic terms toward achieving Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals [under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, published by the U.S. EPA in 2010]; and if the value is significant, what needs to be done to incentivize forestland retention so that contribution is maximized?” The report (page 10) asserts that it “validated the working hypothesis” that localities can realize “substantial savings” from retaining or increasing forestlands that, in turn, reduce the inputs of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments to Chesapeake Bay waters.
The report includes sections on tax and fiscal policy tools that state and local governments can use to promote forestland. A forestland ecosystem services literature review, prepared by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, is included as Appendix B of the report.
The 199-page report is available online at the VDOF main Web page, http://www.dof.virginia.gov/, as of July 2017; or click here for a direct link to a PDF of the report.
The Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources’ Chesapeake Bay Stakeholder Advisory Committee meets July 21, 2017, 9:30 a.m., at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 7870 Villa Park Drive #400 in Henrico.
According to the Virginia Commonwealth Calendar notice for this meeting, the “focus [of the July 21 meeting] will be to examine to intensive work related to the 2017 midpoint assessment of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and solicit [committee] views on key issues that are currently under consideration by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. Those issues include the fate of loads from the Conowingo Dam, any accommodation for climate change in the Phase III Watershed Implementation plan and other issues that will influence the level of effort required by Virginia, the other states, and the District of Columbia. [The meeting will also bring the committee] up to date of the revisions to the Chesapeake Bay model [and on] upcoming 2018-2019 milestones and seek [committee] input on strategies for ongoing stakeholder engagement in the WIP [Watershed Implementation Plan] development process.”
Previous meetings were held March 20, 2015; September 3, 2015; May 3, 2016; and December 8, 2016.
More information about the Chesapeake Bay Stakeholder Advisory Committee is available online at https://naturalresources.virginia.gov/chesapeake-bay-restoration/.
On June 21, 2017, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation released a report on progress made in 2016 by Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania toward ithe 2016-17 interim, or “milestone,” goals for the Cheseapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution-prevention plan published in 2010. Following is an excerpt from CBF’s Web site on its milestone-progress tracking, http://www.cbf.org/how-we-save-the-bay/chesapeake-clean-water-blueprint/blueprint-progress-tracking.html, accessed 6/22/17:
“In June 2017, CBF analyzed the most recently available information (for 2016) to evaluate pollution-reduction progress. This analysis included [the following]: comparing 2016 progress to 2017 interim goals for achieving 60 percent of the total reductions targeted for 2025; [and] evaluating some of the programmatic commitments that Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia made in their two-year milestones.
“…Overall, CBF found [the following]:
Pennsylvania is off track for meeting its 2017 goals for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment;
Maryland is off target for its 2017 nitrogen reduction goals, but on target for reductions in phosphorus and sediment; and
Virginia is on track to meet its 2017 goals for nitrogen and phosphorus, but off track for sediment.”
CBF’s reports for the three states are online (as PDFs) at these links:
For more information, see also CBF Releases Assessment of MD, VA, and PA Milestone Progress, Chesapeake Bay Foundation News Release, 6/21/17.
News media account: Report: Virginia making overall progress in Chesapeake Bay cleanup, Daily Press, 6/21/17.
In June 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided its evaluations of progress by Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions and by federal agencies towards meeting two-year interim goals, or “milestones,” for the 2014-2015 period. For more on that report, please see this Water Central News Grouper post of June 23, 2016.