CBF President Will Baker spoke to environmental advocates at the 2012 Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit about why protecting EPA's Chesapeake Bay pollution limits is critical. Watch the video above to hear what he had to say.

What is the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint?

Why This is the Moment in Time for the Chesapeake Bay

Most experts consider the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint the Chesapeake Bay's best, and perhaps last, chance for real restoration.

It comes at a time when great progress has already been achieved. Some estimates suggest pollution to the Bay has been halved, and signs of recovery abound. With success in our sight, this is no time to turn and go backwards. But that is precisely what some want.

What is the Blueprint?

A Clean Water Act provision known legally as a Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL is a scientific estimate of the maximum amount of pollution a body of water listed officially as "impaired" can accommodate and still meet water quality standards.

In December 2010—after years of missed deadlines for restoration and no consequences—the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exercised its Clean Water Act authorities by releasing enforceable pollution limits for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Subsequently the six Bay states and the District of Columbia released their plans to meet those limits by 2025.  Together the pollution targets and the states' plans comprise a Clean Water Blueprint for the Chesapeake and its rivers and streams.

What Will it Do?

If fully implemented, the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint will ensure pollution reduction and result in the "fishable, swimmable" waters promised by the Clean Water Act of 1972. The Blueprint does three things:

  • ensures everyone shares in the responsibility for cleaning up our waterways;
  • sets two-year, incremental pollution-reduction goals—known as milestones—to keep progress on track; and
  • imposes consequences for failure, ensuring states and localities will meet their responsibilities.

This Time Really Is Different

What makes this Blueprint better than the previous failed efforts is that it has teeth. For the first time, the states have each committed to two-year incremental milestones of pollution reduction. EPA can and will impose consequences for failure. If the Blueprint is fully implemented, the Bay should come off the impaired waters list.

Obstacles the Blueprint Faces

Legal challenges by national corporate lobbyists, anti-Bay legislation, rumor-mongering, and worries about cost all threaten to derail the state-federal Bay cleanup.

You Can Help

The Bay's problems have been identified; we have the know-how and tools to fix them; and the health, economic, and quality of life benefits of a restored Chesapeake Bay outweigh cleanup costs. If we work together to make the Blueprint work, many scientists believe the Bay will reach a tipping point when improvements outpace pollution and the Bay rebounds exponentially.

It's critically important that citizens get involved. And it's not too hard.

  • Join CBF's Action Network to receive e-mails regarding actions you can take to Save the Bay™.
  • Tell your Congressman and Senators that clean water is important to you and urge them to support clean water legislation and oppose legislation that would derail the Bay TMDL by calling, writing, or visiting them.Attend a public meeting of local governing bodies.
  • Ditto your state and local representatives and ask them to finalize and implement strong plans to achieve the Bay pollution limits and provide ample Bay funding.
  • Write a letter of support to the editor of your local newspaper.
  • Attend a public meeting of local governing bodies.
  • Become a Speaker for the Bay. CBF will provide the tools and materials needed to present the Save the Bay message to local community groups and organizations.
  • Walk the walk. Reduce pollution from your home, back yard, school, or business.


Follow-up to the Chesapeake Executive Council annual meeting July 23, 2015

July 28, 2015

Blog post by CBF Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration, Kim Coble. This article also appeared in The Daily Times.

At the recent annual meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Program leadership, there was much talk about the importance of restoring local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay, but a shortage of commitment to specific actions that will get Bay restoration back on track.

And it is clearly off track. READ MORE

July 24, 2015

Email to members from CBF President Will Baker

Yesterday, I attended the Chesapeake Executive Council's annual meeting, and I want to take this opportunity to let you know what happened.

As a reminder, the latest science indicates that while solid progress is being made under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, Bay-wide efforts to reduce pollution are falling short. It's time to pick up the pace, particularly in Pennsylvania and when tackling agricultural pollution. And it will take strong leadership by the Executive Council to make this happen.

Yesterday's meeting was the Executive Council's opportunity to take bold action, chart a course to get the Blueprint back on track, and be leaders whose legacy is clean water once and for all. Here are my top-level takeaways of what happened:

  1. There were some encouraging remarks, especially from Pennsylvania Department of the Environment Secretary Johnathan Quigley acknowledging all the work that Pennsylvania needs to do to meet its Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint goals. CBF is calling on Pennsylvania to articulate specific actions to ramp up pollution-reduction plans in the next 30 days.
  2. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was unequivocal about EPA remaining on the job of ensuring the Chesapeake gets cleaned up. However, she did not specify the consequences the states will face if they do not implement the promised practices.
  3. While the messages were encouraging, it will be the actions taken by the states and federal partners that will clean up the Bay. And we are still waiting for many of those to happen.  

More than 13,000 CBF members sent messages to Executive Council members letting them know clean water is important. Many council members let me know they heard you loud and clear. Thank you! As a result, our leaders got the words right yesterday, but starting today, they need to get the actions right.

A priority for CBF and its members will now be to ensure Pennsylvania delivers on the five-part plan that Secretary Quigley outlined. Another will be to ensure federal partners like USDA provide much-needed technical and financial support, especially for Pennsylvania's farmers. And finally, we need to be sure EPA takes strong action if clean water commitments are not met.

Our call for clean water is more important now than ever. 

Thanks again and stay tuned for how you can continue to help.

Reports & Fact Sheets

A Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) report examines claims that environmental regulations hurt the economy and finds them to be false. In addition, the report looks at the jobs that have been and will be created as a result of the Bay pollution limits.

Download the following reports and fact sheets about the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint:

Report: Debunking the "Job Killer" Myth

Report: The Economic Argument for Cleaning Up the Bay And Its Rivers

Fact Sheet: The Case for the Chesapeake Bay Pollution Limits

Fact Sheet: Political Influence and the Chesapeake Bay

Fact Sheet: The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan Under Attack

Fact Sheet: Response to the Farm Bureau's Claims Concerning the Bay Pollution Limits

Fact Sheet: CBF Assistance to Farmers and Landowners

Cover: Chesapeake Quarterly

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