EPA recently released their evaluations of the jurisdictions’ progress in meeting the Bay TMDL.
The Chesapeake Bay partners set goals of having all practices in place to clean up the Bay by 2025, with 60% of the practices in place by 2017.
As part of the process, every two years, EPA evaluates what the states and the District of Columbia have done …as compared to what they said they would do by this time… as compared to what they need to have accomplished by now in order to stay on track with the 2025 deadline. These assessments, or “two-year milestones” as they are called, allow for an “adaptive management” approach toward meeting the Bay TMDL. It allows them to adjust their Watershed Implementation Plans as needed to stay on track with the load reductions required of them.
EPA evaluates the states’ progress in two ways: (1) numerically – are the estimated loads going down based on the practices being reported, and (2) programmatically – are the states implementing the necessary programs to support restoration goals? It is important to note that there is a strong connection between programmatic commitments and numeric reductions thus it is important to be sure that changes in implementation are supported programmatically.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the “Midpoint Assessment” is just around the corner which is the halfway mark for meeting the Bay TMDL where 60% of the practices are supposed to be in place by 2017. So one component of these evals is to look at the states’ progress and trajectory to see if they will be able to meet the 2017 goal of “60% of practices”.
So, how are we doing? Well, you can read the full results below but for now, here are some of the major numeric highlights that we think you will find interesting, you can read about programmatic progress in the presentation below.
- Nobody has met their Nitrogen reductions – in any of the sectors
- Urban stormwater is off for every pollutant (nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment)
- The urban sector is closest to meeting their phosphorus reductions having made 34% of the reduction needed*
- In fact, several of the jurisdictions (DC, WV, DE and NY) were able to meet their 2015 targets for phosphorus – good job guys!
- We are off on TSS having only met 14% of the reduction*
- Nitrogen is a mess, with an increase of Nitrogen of 11% most likely due to population growth in urban areas and land conversion*
- Urban sector not on track to meet the 2017 60% reduction goals for all 3 pollutants
*Since we are 45% of the way through the process, the idea is that the states should have achieved 45% of the reductions.
What does this mean for those of us working in the urban sector? There is still a lot needed to do. One thing that in particular seems to be a glaring need is the ability to reduce Nitrogen from urban stormwater (well all sources really) in light of increasing population growth.