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Delaware’s Efforts in Developing the Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP)

Delaware is among six Chesapeake Bay Watershed jurisdictions – along with Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and the District of Columbia, who are committed to a federal-state initiative to develop and implement an overall plan that will help restore the water quality of the Bay and its tidal waters by 2025.

The Environmental Protection Agency is leading the effort to reduce pollution and has developed a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that sets limits for major sources of nutrients and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal branches. A TMDL is the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards that protect humans and aquatic life. As part of the TMDL, each jurisdiction has been required to develop a series of WIPs that detail specific steps they will take to reduce nutrient and sediment and actions that will maintain water quality standards in the future.

The Chesapeake Bay TMDL document called for an assessment in 2017 to review progress toward meeting the nutrient and sediment pollutant load reductions necessary for Bay restoration. This midpoint assessment measured the Bay jurisdictions' progress toward meeting the 2017 goal of having practices in place to achieve 60 percent of the necessary reductions compared to 2009 levels. The Phase III WIPs provide information on what actions the jurisdictions intend to implement between 2019 and 2025 to continue to meet the Bay TMDL restoration goals. See the Phase III Planning Expectations and Planning page for EPA’s mid-point assessment schedule to meet the new requirements.

Development of Delaware’s Phase III WIP

There have been three phases of Delaware’s Chesapeake Bay WIP. Delaware developed its Phase I WIP in 2010 and its Phase II WIP in 2012. Both the Phase I and Phase II WIPs describe actions and controls to be implemented by 2017 and 2025 to achieve applicable water quality standards. The Phase III WIP provides information on actions Delaware intends to implement between 2019 and 2025 to meet the Bay restoration goals.

On April 12, 2019, Delaware submitted a draft version of the Phase III WIP to EPA and posted it on DNREC’s website. Delaware solicited public comments from April 12-June 7, with comments submitted via electronic form, email, and the United States Postal Service. Delaware has consolidated every comment received in Appendix J, along with a response.

The updated version of the Phase III WIP was submitted to the EPA and posted onto DNREC’s website for final review on Aug. 23, 2019.

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