In 2014, the Maryland Department of Planning worked with state and federal agencies across the watershed to develop the amended Chesapeake Bay Agreement, which articulates the actions necessary to advance bay clean-up by 2025. Planning worked to ensure two meaningful land use goals were included in the document, which was signed by the governors of the six bay region states and the EPA administrator.
Planning is a member and co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Maintain Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team. This cross-jurisdictional team works to maintain local watersheds at optimal health across a range of landscapes as population growth and development continues throughout the watershed.
In 2010, the EPA, in coordination with the bay watershed jurisdictions of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, New York and the District of Columbia, established a nutrient and sediment pollution diet to guide Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. Known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, (TMDL) the strategy is a complex tool that determines the amount of pollution that the bay can tolerate and still meet its water quality goals and uses (like public water supply or human contact). See Planning’s Citizens Guide to Restoring the Bay: What Every Resident Can Do.
Each state developed a set of strategies to achieve the TMDL called Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs). Planning plays a critical role in ensuring the best data on current land uses is available and used to forecast pollution loads associated with past and future development and land use change. As the State Data Center, Planning also supplies population projections, septic system information as well as maps depicting changes in population and areas targeted for growth and preservation.
As part of their efforts to achieving the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, each state measures implementation of milestones, a set of actions within Watershed Implementation Plans that will be accomplished within a two-year window. Maryland’s milestones include changes in land use and wastewater treatment, thus reflecting Maryland’s progress in implementing sound planning and growth measures.
The Patuxent River Commission (PRC) was formed after the Patuxent River Watershed Act sought to protect the 110-mile-long river that runs the length of central Maryland. The PRC envisions a Patuxent River ecosystem as vital and productive in 2050 as it was in the 1950s. Planning provides staff and data analysis for PRC activities.
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