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Development of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load Allocation

Published: October 01, 2013

Nutrient load allocations and subsequent reductions in total nitrogen and phosphorus have been applied in the Chesapeake watershed since 1992 to reduce hypoxia and to restore living resources. In 2010, sediment allocations were established to augment nutrient allocations supporting the submerged aquatic vegetation resource. From the initial introduction of nutrient allocations in 1992 to the present, the allocations have become more completely applied to all areas and loads in the watershed and have also become more rigorously assessed and tracked. The latest 2010 application of nutrient and sediment allocations were made as part of the Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load and covered all six states of the Chesapeake watershed. A quantitative allocation process was developed that applied principles of equity and efficiency in the watershed, while achieving all tidal water quality standards through an assessment of equitable levels of effort in reducing nutrients and sediments. The level of effort was determined through application of two key watershed scenarios: one where no action was taken in nutrient control and one where maximum nutrient control efforts were applied. Once the level of effort was determined for different jurisdictions, the overall load reduction was set watershedwide to achieve dissolved oxygen water quality standards. Further adjustments were made to the allocation to achieve the James River chlorophyll-a standard.

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