Planning in Progress
by Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner
In the May 1, 2019 edition of this newsletter, we shared the news that the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) had recently posted the draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to their website along with a schedule of public participation and comment. WIP III implementation, however, is an ongoing effort. Here’s what’s happening now:
In January, the seven Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia) submitted two-year milestones for WIP implementation to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as they have bi-annually since 2012. Milestones identify the anticipated specific steps needed to implement the jurisdictions’ WIPs including funding, enhancing existing programs, establishing new programs, studies, and other measures.
Maryland’s Bay Workgroup, composed of staff from the Maryland Departments of the Environment (MDE), Planning, Natural Resources (DNR), Agriculture (MDA), Budget and Management DBM), and Transportation (MDOT), along with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, is responsible for compiling the State’s 2020-2021 milestones for WIP implementation which will be submitted March 1. Throughout the year, the workgroup brings bay-related information to and request decisions from Maryland’s Bay Cabinet, which is composed of the heads of each of those organizations.
Development of WIP milestones are the basis for evaluating the success of WIP implementation. As described on MDE’s WIP Implementation web page, every year the EPA, together with the Bay jurisdictions, evaluate their progress “using a suite of modeling tools. These tools predict how the Chesapeake Bay will respond to actions and practices that have been implemented to reduce nutrients and sediment loading to the Bay through a number of factors including State and local planning efforts, as well as population and land-use change. Bay jurisdictions submit implementation records to EPA each year. Results of annual progress evaluations inform subsequent programmatic two-year milestones.”