The Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Policy Committee (CBPC) held its sixth Annual Bay & Water Quality Forum in September with EPA and several Chesapeake Bay states (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) as part of an ongoing dialogue on key issues and to identify areas of collaboration. Forum participants acknowledged several successes while acknowledging some of the challenges in striving to meet the 2025 Bay restoration goals.
Some notable successes included the region’s wastewater plant upgrades and nitrogen removal performance meeting the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay goals ten years early, improvements in air quality (e.g., reduced power plant and other nitrogen oxide power plant emissions) that have resulted in water quality benefits, and the resurgence of submerged aquatic vegetation in the Potomac River – a response to decades of water quality improvements. The participants also acknowledged the challenges of trying to achieve the required nutrient and sediment reductions by 2025 in less than 10 years, the ongoing litigation over stormwater permits, and a need to identify innovative funding mechanisms for this work.
Forum participants agreed on expanding existing collaboration efforts to engage the public and share water quality success stories, and to coordinate on the development of Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) at a regional level, efforts that will be developed over the coming months and year.