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2021 Outcome Attainability Documents

Over the past year, the Chesapeake Bay Program assessed each outcome in its ability to attain its target. This assessment found that 11 outcomes are fully on track to meet their targets by 2025. On the other hand, several challenges were identified in meeting some outcomes (e.g., forest buffers, wetlands, 2025 Watershed Implementation Plans, tree canopy). These issues are now being discussed to determine the appropriate solutions that will accelerate progress. These documents include the original outcome language, current status, background information in how the outcome came to be included in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, the baseline (if available) and data source. Information is updated as of November 18, 2021.

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Understanding Chesapeake Bay Modeling Tools

The Chesapeake Bay Program uses state-of-the art science and monitoring data to replicate conditions of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This information is then used by decision-makers at the federal, state and local levels to determine how best to restore and protect local waterways, and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. By combining advanced modeling tools and real-world monitoring data, we gain a comprehensive view of the Chesapeake ecosystem—from the depths of the Bay to the upper reaches of the watershed.

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Bay Barometer: Health and Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (2018-2019)

The data in Bay Barometer reflect the Chesapeake Bay’s health over the course of many years and, in some cases, decades. The publication offers a snapshot of the best available information from 2018 and 2019 on ecological health and our efforts to protect and restore the nation’s largest estuary, as well as our progress toward achieving the goals and outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

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Wetland Rehabilitation, Enhancement and Creation BMP expert panel report

The Wetland Workgroup approved the formation of this expert panel to evaluate the effectiveness of nontidal wetland best management practices (BMPs) to reduce loads of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment to the Chesapeake Bay. This panel was formed to expand on the CBP-approved report by a previous Wetland Expert Panel that clarified the wetland restoration BMP and established two nontidal wetland land uses in the Phase 6 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model (WEP, 2016).
The current panel first convened in November 2017 and deliberated its approach and recommendations over the subsequent months. This report describes the panel’s recommendations for review, feedback and approval under the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Protocol for the Development, Review, and Approval of Loading and Effectiveness Estimates for Nutrient and Sediment Controls in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model, or “BMP Review Protocol.”
The expert panel worked diligently to articulate BMP efficiencies for wetland creation, rehabilitation and enhancement with respect to the available literature and the CBP-approved wetland restoration BMP. As with wetland restoration, the recommended wetland creation BMP is simulated as a land use change that also reduces upland loads using the above efficiency value. The recommended wetland rehabilitation BMP is not a land use change, but the efficiency is applied to upland land uses. Further details for how the BMPs will be reported for progress runs and simulated in the Watershed Model are provided in Appendix B. As explained in section 5, the panel recommends that wetland enhancement should not be a BMP for purposes of achieving nutrient and sediment reduction targets under the TMDL, as simulated in the Watershed Model.

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Bay Barometer: Health and Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (2017-2018)

The data in Bay Barometer reflect the Chesapeake Bay’s health over the course of many years and, in some cases, decades. The publication offers a snapshot of the best available information from 2017 and 2018 on ecological health and our efforts to protect and restore the nation’s largest estuary, as well as our progress toward achieving the goals and outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

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Holistically Analyzing the Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Changes in the regulatory landscape, coupled with budget-constrained environments, are driving local governments to search for new or evolving strategies and investments that deliver more value than conventional stormwater management practices.

In light of this challenge, green infrastructure (GI) is getting more attention as a stormwater management strategy. GI is described as a more holistic and multifunctional approach to stormwater management that can deliver benefits across the triple bottom line, mitigate water quality impacts, improve quality of life and enhance climate resiliency (US EPA, 2015).

The list of direct and indirect benefits arising from GI is fairly consistent across sources, but the scale and value of these benefits are not. Careful examination of peer-reviewed published literature, combined with existing guidance documents and studies, provide options for quantifying and monetizing the wide array of GI benefits. The various sources are diverse. They employ different valuation and assessment methodologies. Existing resources do not provide a unifying framework or standardization. Consequently, the methods require multi-disciplinary technical knowledge (engineering, economic and bio-physical) that stormwater managers do not generally have.

This document is intended for smaller local governments with stormwater programs that are responsible for regulatory compliance with municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) obligations (e.g., Phase 2 communities). It outlines an approach to holistically evaluate the benefits of implementing green infrastructure. The guidance places emphasis on first understanding the goal and scope for assessing benefits. It uses the goal and scope to step the user through: (1) differentiating between direct benefits and co-benefits of GI, and (2) understanding when and how these benefits need to be characterized, quantified or monetized. This document is not intended to be a “how to” measure benefits for conducting benefit-cost analysis, but rather anapproach to tailor benefits and co-benefits identification and description to inform decision making and stakeholder engagement.

The report is organized into three sections with attachments.

  • The first section introduces the concept of green infrastructure and describes some of the most common GI practices.
  • The second section discusses the range of benefits and co-benefits often attributed to GI.
  • The third section outlines an approach to assessing the benefits.
  • Finally, the attachments provide case studies that illustrate how this guidance can be used.

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Bay Barometer: Health and Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (2016-2017)

The data in Bay Barometer reflect the Chesapeake Bay’s health over the course of many years and, in some cases, decades. The publication offers a snapshot of the best available information from 2016 and 2017 on ecological health and our efforts to protect and restore the nation’s largest estuary, as well as our progress toward achieving the goals and outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

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Healthy Watersheds Forest Retention Studies

The Healthy Watersheds/Forest project is a Virginia-led, multi-year, landscape-scale effort begun in 2015 that is now in nearing completion in phase III. The goal of this project was to research and pilot alternative methods for forest and agricultural land conservation through three separate phases. Phase 1 modeled and tested alternative land use growth scenarios in a portion of the Rappahannock River Basin as a proxy for the Chesapeake Bay watershed by employing the methodology used by EPA TMDL modelers and using real land use data from the localities in the test area to determine the potential value of a BMP in the TMDL model for retaining forestland. In Phase II, Pennsylvania partnered with Virginia to determine what from the perspective of local leaders were the economic and policy incentives needed to prioritize forestland retention as a land use planning option. Phase III developed and piloted the community policy and financial infrastructure necessary to facilitate high quality forest and agricultural land conservation/retention on a sustainable, landscape scale basis. Phase III was divided into two tasks. Task 1 focused on collaborating with the municipal authorities responsible for the plans, policies and ordinances in the two pilot counties. Task 2 focused on developing a transferable financial model in the pilot counties to incentivize private capital markets to invest in the retention of forest and agricultural lands to offset future forecasted growth and development based on the 6.0 Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) model. The ultimate goal has been to create a favorable regulatory environment and incentives for private landowner participation in land conservation while also contributing to the funding requirements of counties to help them meet basic services for their citizenry through a model that can attract private sector financial interest at a scale required to achieve the Phase III goal. This Phase III report covers the research, findings and activities from the start of phase III in April 2018 through September 30, 2019, the end-date for the Chesapeake Bay Trust-funded grant period. The focus of the project team from this point forward to the end the project next Spring (with additional funding from the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities) will be on (1) designing and testing in collaboration with Orange County Virginia, the Economic Development Authority infrastructure required to aggregate landowner interests effectively, and (2) further engaging with the private financial sector to solicit its interest in participating in the Virginia approach, while refining the financial options to best meet landowner, locality and investor needs.

You can read the final reports for each phase here:

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