Maryland Releases Tributary Strategy to Restore the Chesapeake Bay
An Estimated $13.6 Billion Needed For Maryland’s Bay Restoration Efforts
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Department of Natural Resources Secretary C. Ronald Franks today released Maryland’s Tributary Strategy on behalf of Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. and the Bay Cabinet. The submission of this strategy to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fulfills Maryland’ s commitment to develop a new Tributary Strategy by April 2004 that achieves nutrient and sediment reduction goals established in the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.
“We are committed to taking the necessary actions outlined in the strategy, but it is critical to understand that State government alone cannot successfully implement the Maryland Tributary Strategy,” said Secretary Franks. “Restoration of the Bay will require actions and a commitment from everyone living and working in the Bay watershed -- from the mountains in Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore -- to make this strategy a reality.”
The $13.6 billion estimate to fully implement Maryland’s Tributary Strategy reflects the magnitude of the effort required to restore the Chesapeake Bay. “Without substantial federal assistance to fulfill the funding needs, these strategies are unrealistic,” added Secretary Franks.
Maryland will be taking a major step in securing $1 billion to fund the upgrades of the 66 major sewage treatment plants with the signing into law of Governor Ehrlich’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Restoration Fund.
In the coming months, the Departments within the Bay Cabinet will be working with the Tributary Teams, local governments and other stakeholders to create the implementation plans that include state and local laws, regulations, and ordinances necessary to implement this strategy for the ten Tributary basins. These plans will be designed to achieve the restoration goals while ensuring that they do not jeopardize the continued viability of Maryland’s diverse economy, nor at the expense of future growth or the well being of our citizens. The plans are expected to be completed by December 2004.
The strategy was a public process with the direct involvement of local governments, the agriculture community, watershed associations, regional organizations, and a wide variety of other interested local stakeholders. In creating the strategies, Maryland worked closely with those groups and individuals within each respective watershed who will be directly involved in implementation of the strategy.
In April 2003, the Chesapeake Bay watershed states agreed to steep cuts in the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into Bay and its rivers. The Bay-wide annual nutrient loading goals are 175 million pounds of nitrogen and 12.8 million pounds of phosphorous. Maryland’s allocation is a reduction of 37.25 million pounds of nitrogen and 2.92 million pounds of phosphorous. Similar Tributary Strategies must also be developed by Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, West Virginia, and, the District of Columbia if the Bay wide goal is to be attained.
Tributary Strategies are detailed descriptions of planned local actions–riparian forest buffer replanting, waste water treatment upgrades, nutrient management on farms, storm water treatment, stream restoration, and many others–and a schedule for undertaking those actions necessary to reduce nutrients and sediment loads from each tributary watershed to reach the assigned loading caps by 2010.
Maryland has been actively pursuing an integrated approach to the Bay’s restoration that involves not only nutrient reduction goals but also the reestablishment of healthy populations of oysters and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).
More information on the Maryland Tributary Strategy can be found at http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/bay/tribstrat/executivesummary.pdf
Posted April 30, 2004