Today Maryland will release an important plan for restoring the Bay. Called the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan, this draft plan should show show clear next steps on how Maryland will meet its pollution reduction goals.
But the eyes of citizens are not just on the State. For this effort to succeed and clean not just the Bay but also local waters, local governments must play a prominent role in developing – and implementing – their own clean water plans.
Conservation advocates have been reviewing the local efforts so far, and are concerned that most of the draft submissions were weak or incomplete. However, local governments still have time to produce strong clean water plans before the July 2012 final deadline.
Restoring the Chesapeake Bay starts in our backyards – in the rivers and streams our families know and love. The counties are already thinking differently about how they can structure staff, resources, and funding to meet clean water goals. The next few months will determine if the new way of thinking will translate into a new way of acting – and result in clean waters. Marylanders who want local rivers and streams to be healthy will be watching and holding county governments accountable.