The Chesapeake Bay is a 64,000 square mile watershed draining from six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware) and Washington, D.C.
The health of the Bay has been declining for the past 25 years due to pollution from all sectors – agricultural, industrial, forestry, and urban. The pollutants of concern for the Bay are nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. Though these are naturally occurring elements (and soil), there is more entering into the Chesapeake Bay than the Bay can handle. Instead of being a balanced, healthy ecosystem, these excess pollutants causes algal blooms creating “dead zones” and block sunlight from getting to submerged aquatic grasses, an essential component of the Bay’s fragile ecosystem.
The Chesapeake Bay TMDL calls for a targeted amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment to enter the Bay watershed by 2025 in order for the ecosystem to begin to repair itself. Based on this target, each of the six states and Washington, D.C. developed “watershed implantation plans” (WIPs) that lay the groundwork needed to meet this challenge. Virginia’s WIP was submitted in two phases – Phase I and II. A link to Virginia's Phase II WIP is available in the documents below.
The Chesapeake Bay TMDL requires pollution to be reduced from all sectors. Virginia’s WIP calls for an increase in cost-share funding to support Best Management Practice (BMP) implementation in the agricultural sector. In December 2013, Virginia’s Governor announced $22.9M in grant funding to local governments implementing urban stormwater BMPs and retrofits. Additionally, implementation of local TMDL plans – such as in the Upper Rockfish watershed– works towards achieving the Bay-basin goal. For more information, visit the Chesapeake Bay Program website.