Chesapeake Bay Program


On June 16, 2014, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement was signed by representatives from the entire watershed. This plan for collaboration across the Bay's political boundaries establishes ten goals, each linked to a set of outcomes, for the restoration of the Bay, its tributaries and the lands that surround them. In a letter, partners promised to openly and publicly engage watershed citizens in implementing these goals and outcomes. Partners have also identified the Management Strategies they plan to participate in. These strategies will explain how the partners will accomplish the outcomes and how we will monitor, assess and report progress. The adoption of the Management Strategies may vary by signatory, and the implementation will take place in two-year periods. West Virginia state agencies have agreed to participate in the development of the following outcomes: Tree Canopy, Riparian Forest Buffers, Healthy Watersheds, Water Quality Standards Attainment and Monitoring, Toxic Contaminants Policy Research, Toxic Contaminants Policy and Prevention, and 2017 and 2025 Watershed Implementation Plans.

Public input is essential to management strategy development and evaluation: each strategy will include a period for public review and comment before it is adopted. To stay informed about the development of one or more management strategies, sign up for e weekly newsletter, Bay Brief, or visit the subscription page to sign up for the appropriate mailing list. E-mails from the Management Strategies mailing list will include information about relevant meetings and public input periods.

Since 2002, West Virginia has been a formal partner in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. In June, our state signed on to the updated Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which was released on December 29, 2010, establishes the foundation for water quality improvements embodied in the new Agreement. It drives the nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reductions West Virginia committed to in our Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).

West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Tributary Team partners are in the midst of implementing the strategies in the WIP. These strategies address new, existing, and expanded sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. The Bay Team partners are required to make 60 percent of the needed reductions from all of the sources by 2017, and 100 percent of the needed reductions by 2025. There are also milestones, to ensure the project stays on track.

While some commitments are carried out through permits, like wastewater treatment plant upgrades, many of the WIP strategies are voluntary and depend on homeowners, school classes, local governments, and others to do things like install rain gardens to manage runoff, take care of septic systems, or plant trees. Some real momentum and progress is occurring thanks to projects like Cacapon Institute’s CommuniTree and Potomac Headwaters Future Leaders of Watersheds (PHLOW). Even more commitment of this kind by the residents and workers in the eight-county Potomac Basin will be needed this year and in the years to come. Please contact us if your organization or class would like to be involved.

Data compiled by the West Virginia Chesapeake Bay Tributary team is now available, showing West Virginia's implementation process to date on several agricultural best management practices (BMPs), as well as stormwater practices. These slides help to put in perspective where we are now, and how far we are from the 2017 and 2025 goals. For many BMPs, West Virginia is well on its way to achieving the 2017 goal levels, such as in stream exclusion fencing, and agricultural tree plantings. Other BMPs, such as cover crop acres, show fluctuation as they are "annual" BMPs, not cumulative. Some BMPs are not cost-shared, meaning tracking instances of this practice can be difficult. To see all progress slides, click here. In addition, the 2013 Programmatic Milestone Progress Report is posted here.

Volunteers from the Town of Bath at the West Virginia Project CommuniTree Tree Planting at Greenway Cemetery in Berkeley Springs in the fall of 2012. Students at Martinsburg High School working on planting a Flowering Dogwood tree in the spring of 2013. 

Additional Resources

1. West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Program
2. Chesapeake Bay Program
3. Chesapeake Stat
4. Potomac basin watersheds
5. Click here for the Nonpoint Source BMP reporting tool

 West Virginia Eastern Panhandle

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