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Water Quality

Many parts of the Chesapeake Bay contain excess nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment, and are listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), or “pollution diet,” uses Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) to drive nutrient and sediment reductions in each of the watershed states and the District of Columbia. These plans set pollution reduction targets for sources like agricultural runoff, stormwater runoff and wastewater. Reducing pollution is critical to restoring the watershed because clean water is the foundation for healthy fisheries, habitats and communities across the region.

Goal: Reduce pollutants to achieve the water quality necessary to support the aquatic living resources of the Bay and its tributaries and protect human health.

Outcomes

2017 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP) Outcome: By 2017, have practices and controls in place that are expected to achieve 60 percent of the nutrient and sediment pollution load reductions necessary to achieve applicable water quality standards compared to 2009 levels.

Learn more about this outcome or related management strategy.

2025 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP) Outcome: By 2025, have all practices and controls installed to achieve the Bay’s dissolved oxygen, water clarity/submerged aquatic vegetation and chlorophyll a standards as articulated in the Chesapeake Bay TMDL document.

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Water Quality Standards Attainment and Monitoring Outcome: Continually improve the capacity to monitor and assess the effects of management actions being undertaken to implement the Bay TMDL and improve water quality. Use the monitoring results to report annually to the public on progress made in attaining established Bay water-quality standards and trends in reducing nutrients and sediment in the watershed.

Learn more about this outcome or related management strategy.

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