delware environmental institute

More public comment sought for Delaware plan for cleaner instate streams and Chesapeake Bay Watershed

More public comment sought for Delaware plan for cleaner instate streams and Chesapeake Bay Watershed

NEWS FROM THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL and the DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Contact:  Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
                Anne Fitzgerald, Chief of Community Relations, DDA, 302-698-4520


Additional public comment and input sought for Delaware plan for cleaner instate streams and Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan now on DNREC's website

DOVER (Nov. 29, 2011) – After a year of DNREC’s involving the public in developing Delaware’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) – including outreach, soliciting comment and input into the plan from interested people, groups and stakeholders – the department continues to seek contributions to the draft of the Phase II plan. The developing WIP document will be the state’s long-range plan for reducing pollutants that enter the state’s waterways that drain into the Chesapeake Bay.

The draft plan, which must be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency later next month, has been posted on DNREC's website. DNREC will accept public comment and feedback on the draft until Tuesday, Dec. 13. Beyond this date, additional opportunities for comment will continue until the final WIP document is submitted to EPA March 30, 2012.

Currently, Delaware’s rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay are burdened with pollution that afflicts the health of these waterways and the Bay, and affects their productivity. Restoring water quality to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed will have far-reaching benefits for Delaware’s economic and environmental health.

Delaware is among six Chesapeake Bay Watershed states – Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York – and the District of Columbia required to develop a plan to help restore water quality of the Bay and its tidal waters by 2025, with 60 percent of the work to be completed by 2017.

To create Delaware‘s Draft Phase II WIP for the watershed’s future, the Phase I document was reviewed by numerous stakeholder groups and revised to provide more details regarding how implementation will occur at the local level. The draft plan identifies partners, program locations, actions and the resources needed to reach milestones and meet implementation goals for 2017. The wide-ranging collaboration and cooperation which went into the plan will continue with DNREC seeking additional public participation in developing the WIP.

Delaware’s WIP is being completed in three phases. Last December, Delaware’s Phase I WIP was approved by the EPA. The Draft Phase II WIP is due to EPA by December 15, with the final Phase II Plan due on March 30, 2012. Delaware’s Phase III WIP must be received by EPA in 2017. With each successive WIP, the details of the actions to achieve load goals will become increasingly more specific. 

“Delaware is committed to finding the most cost-effective ways to achieve the goal of cleaner rivers and streams in our state and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara.”We have made significant progress in reducing pollutants over the years and exceeded our goals for reducing nitrogen and phosphorus in 2009 and 2010. By increasing best management practices and improving data management, Delaware is right on track to achieve our two-year milestone goals.”

“The restoration of the ecology and environment of the Chesapeake Bay is and has been supported by agriculture,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Kee. “As we move forward, we should recognize the forty percent reductions in the nutrient loading of nitrogen and phosphorus that have already been achieved by agriculture. The Delaware agriculture community will continue to do its part in WIP Phase II to meet the 2025 goals for improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.”

The Environmental Protection Agency is leading the effort to reduce pollution and has developed a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for nutrients and sediment for 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 is required to develop a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) that details how load goals will be achieved and maintained into the future.

The following Delaware WIP-related documents are posted at http://www.wr.dnrec.delaware.gov/Information/Pages/Chesapeake_WIP.aspx: Delaware’s Phase I WIP; Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); Delaware’s 2009-2011 Milestone Goals; Accomplishments, Initiatives and Funding to meet Delaware’s Milestone Goals; and University of Delaware Water Resources Agency’s 2010 Report on the Socioeconomic Value of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in Delaware.

For information on EPA’s TMDL, visit http://www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl/.

For more information, contact Jennifer Volk, Chesapeake WIP lead at Jennifer.Volk@state.de.us or 302-739-9939.

 

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Almost 35 percent of Delaware lies within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and includes land in all three counties. Approximately one-half of Sussex County, about one-third of Kent County and about 10 percent of New Castle County drain into the rivers, creeks and agricultural ditches that eventually drain into the Chesapeake Bay. Delaware communities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed include: Middletown; Hartly: Farmington; Greenwood; Bridgeville; Seaford; Blades; Bethel; Laurel; and Delmar. The Watershed also includes some of the state’s most prized waterways:  Broad and Marshyhope Creeks; and the Nanticoke, Chester and Choptank Rivers.

 

The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries are being polluted when excess nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment enter our groundwater and drain to waterways. Sources of pollution include: residential and agricultural fertilizers; stormwater runoff, which includes gas and oil from roads and parking lots; erosion and sediment; wastewater treatment plants; and manure from poultry and livestock.

 

Delaware's Phase I and  Draft Phase II WIP have been prepared by an Interagency Workgroup made up of representatives from DNREC; Delaware Department of Agriculture; Department of Transportation; Office of State Planning Coordination; County Conservation Districts; U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies; U.S. Geological Survey; and other stakeholders such as representatives from the farming and development communities. Nine subcommittees were formed to address: agriculture; stormwater; wastewater; land use and comprehensive plans; restoration; public lands; funding; information technology; and communications.

 

Vol. 41, No. 456