Press Release
July 8, 2013

Milestone Progress Being Made, but No Jurisdiction Meeting All Commitments

(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—All the jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay region are making progress meeting pollution reduction goals, but no jurisdiction is on track to implement all the pollution reduction practices they committed to achieve by 2013. The analysis of selected interim 2012-13 milestone goals was conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC). This analysis is designed to ensure that commitments are being met, and if not, that actions will be taken to compensate for any shortfall. (State highlights and links to full reports below)

2012-13 Milestone Interim Progress at a Glance

Click to view largerChart: 2012-13 Milestones at a Glance (Interim Progress)

"This interim analysis is important because it celebrates the areas where states are exceeding the goals, but also shines a light on areas needing improvement," said CBF President William C. Baker. "While no state met the mark, and Pennsylvania and Delaware missed on half or more of the goals we evaluated, all jurisdictions had the opportunity to alter their plans to reach their 2013 pollution reduction goals. That information, however, is not currently available."

Click here to tweet your elected official and encourage him to read the report!In 2009 Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions, having missed restoration goals in the past, created two-year milestones designed to be transparent and provide accountability. This report evaluates the interim progress toward achieving the 2012-13 milestone commitments. Together with pollution limits and state specific plans, this Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint outlines the path to the restoration of local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.

   

The analysis looked at practices within three pollution source categories—agricultural runoff, urban/suburban sources, and wastewater treatment—based on their potential to provide substantial nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution reductions and offer important lessons for implementation moving forward.

"We are encouraged that states are working to reach their milestones and, in some cases, significant progress has been made," said Hilary Harp Falk, co-chair of Choose Clean Water Coalition. "However, after reviewing the data, it is clear that we need verification protocols to help local, state, and federal programs ensure that practices are properly designed, installed, and maintained over time."

In addition, CBF and CCWC believe that the next set of milestones, from 2014-15, should be reported at the basin or county level, as opposed to only at the state level. Local jurisdictions will play an important role in the restoration of local waterways, which is critical to long-term success.

Restoring local rivers and streams, and saving the Chesapeake Bay, will provide benefits today and for future generations. If progress is not made we will continue to have polluted water, human health hazards, and lost jobs—at a huge cost to society. Reducing pollution and restoring local water quality will create jobs and enhance local economies. 

REPORTS

Washington DC Milestones Report
Washington, D.C. Milestones
2012-13 Interim Report 
(PDF 497 KB) Download

Delaware Milestones Report
Delaware Milestones
2012-13 Interim Report
(PDF 574 KB) 
Download

Maryland Milestones Report
Maryland Milestones
2012-13 Interim Report
(PDF 554 KB) Download

Pennsylvania Milestones Report
Pennsylvania Milestones
2012-13 Interim Report
(PDF 565 KB) Download

Virginia Milestones Report
Virginia Milestones
2012-13 Interim Report
(PDF 566 KB) Download

West Virginia Milestones Report
West Virginia Milestones
2012-13 Interim Report
(PDF 603 KB) Download

Assessment Highlights

Pennsylvania
Of the eight practices evaluated, Pennsylvania was on track or exceeded its goals for three practices and fell short on five. Conservation plans, barnyard runoff control, and stormwater infiltration practices all exceeded the mid-term goal. Pennsylvania needs to accelerate issuance of permits for wastewater treatment plants. Forest buffers, conservation tillage, farm acres with nutrient management plans, and urban tree canopy goals significantly missed the mark.

"Pennsylvania is making progress in cleaning up its local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. The rebounding of trout in once-polluted streams is a tribute to collective hard work,” said Kate Gibbons with PennFuture. “But our analysis shows continuing problems in both urban and rural areas, and we face significant challenges in meeting our timeline for reducing Pennsylvania’s pollution. We need to do more, as the health of our waterways, wildlife and communities depends on clean water." 

“Forested buffers are one of the most cost effective ways to reduce pollution and restore the health of local rivers and streams,” said CBF Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell.

“While Pennsylvania met its 2011 goal, they are not on track to meet the goal in 2013 or their 2025 goal. Tying forest buffer implementation to other conservation programs and creative incentive efforts could significantly increase participation as well as increase water quality benefits.”

Pennsylvania has the tools to get the job done, what is needed is for government to step up to the plate.

Maryland
Of the seven practices evaluated, Maryland exceeded or was on track to meet six goals, and lost ground on one. Animal waste management systems and grass buffers significantly exceeded the goals. Maryland is on track or ahead in cover crops, stormwater retrofits, and wastewater treatment plant and septic system upgrades. Nutrient management plan acreage was below the previous year.

"Maryland is making important progress in meeting its Chesapeake Bay milestones, but like EPA we want to see better BMP data as well as increased clarity in how milestone goals are set and revised in order to be sure that the goalposts aren't moving,” said Brent Bolin, with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Overall, Maryland must get serious about funding implementation of the Clean Water Blueprint and dedicate resources to key programs including green stormwater retrofits and verification of key agricultural practices."

"We finally have a blueprint and a solid foundation for finishing the job of saving the Chesapeake Bay," said CBF Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost. "This assessment says that Maryland, under Governor O'Malley's leadership, is on track to meet our water quality improvement goals. Now Maryland, and all the states, need cooperation between government, businesses, and citizens to fully implement the plan."

Delaware
Of the eight practices evaluated, Delaware exceeded four of its goals, and fell short on four. Wetland restoration, cover crops, traditional stormwater ponds, and infiltration practices all significantly exceeded the goals. Farm acres under nutrient management, grass buffers, septic systems, and wastewater treatment plants all fell short.

“The Delaware Nature Society applauds the efforts of Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to meet the nutrient reductions needed to improve local water quality; however, we recognize there is still work to be done,” said Brenna Goggin, with the Delaware Nature Society. "Federal and state funding must continue to provide the resources necessary so all states can achieve their milestone goals."

"Delaware is making progress, especially in reducing pollution from urban and suburban runoff," said CBF Senior Water Quality Scientist Beth McGee. "However, tracking, data collection, and verification are significant problems for Delaware, as well as other states."

Washington, D.C.
Of the six practices evaluated, the District of Columbia is on track or exceeded five goals, and fell short on one. Urban tree planting, traditional stormwater ponds, modern stormwater practices, reducing impervious surfaces, and urban stream restoration all exceed the goals. Street sweeping, which saw no increase over the previous year, is not on track to meet the goal.

"We applaud Mayor Gray's leadership to restore the Potomac and Anacostia rivers and the District's considerable progress toward achieving its 2017 and 2025 restoration goals," said Amanda John, with the Potomac Conservancy. "For Washington, D.C. to achieve its required pollution reductions, enhanced policies and sustainable funding to reduce stormwater runoff is necessary as polluted runoff is expected to worsen as DC's population continues to grow."

West Virginia
Of the five practices evaluated, West Virginia is on track on four goals and behind in only one. Forest buffers, cover crops, and fencing cattle out of streams exceed the target, and wastewater treatment plants are on target to meet the 2013 milestone goals. Acres of farms under nutrient management is not on track to meet the goal.

"The increased use of West Virginia's voluntary programs shows the effectiveness of conservation programs provided in the Farm Bill. However, we are behind in meeting nutrient management milestone goals," said Angie Rosser of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. "The state is committed to increasing outreach and improving data tracking systems to accelerate progress in this area. West Virginia is a model in its commitment to wastewater treatment the state took the initiative to pass a funding bill for upgrades to public wastewater facilities in an effort to clean up local waterways and the Bay a win-win outcome.”

Virginia
Of the eight practices evaluated, Virginia is on track to meet five goals and behind on three others.  Stream fencing and urban stream restoration significantly exceeded the goals, and traditional stormwater ponds and wastewater treatment plants are on target. While only achieving 42 percent of its forest buffer goal, the dramatic improvement over the previous milestone led CBF and CCWC to determine they are on track for this goal. Virginia fell short in grass buffers, conservation tillage, and modern stormwater practices.

"Our analysis of Virginia's Bay cleanup milestones shows the state is continuing its progress under Governor McDonnell's administration to improve water quality by advancing pollution-reducing measures," said CBF Virginia Executive Director Ann Jennings. "However, to stay on track for restoring the Bay, Virginia must address lagging progress for certain key practices, including planting grass buffers along farm streams and constructing urban infiltration projects. Milestones provide a crucial checkup by identifying successes and troubleshooting shortfalls; the next administration in Virginia will benefit from the lessons learned thus far."

"When you look at Virginia's wastewater milestone, this analysis highlights the fact these goals are very achievable when policy makers have the will to make them a priority," said Jacob Powell, with the Virginia Conservation Network. "It also illuminates where that will has been lacking. It is clear that Virginia must now commit to investing in a modern stormwater infrastructure the same way it has committed to our wastewater infrastructure."

 

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