Critical Juncture for Clean Local Waters

Conservation groups released today a report to help Counties clean their local waters and the Chesapeake Bay.  Cleaning up Local Waters and the Bay: Ideas and Best Management Practices in Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plans describes the elements needed for strong, effective, attainable clean water plans.  The report also describes some of the most innovative ideas from jurisdictions across the State.

This summer is a critical time for our local waters as the Counties finalize their plans and begin to implement them. This report provides helpful tools to make County plans stronger and ready for action.  Jurisdictions still struggling with their plans will find great, economical ideas to ensure we have clean water everywhere in the state.

Across the board, strong local plans:

  • Are multi-jurisdictional – involving the municipalities, counties, state and federal offices, as well as the private, non-profit and academic sectors in joint decision-making.
  • Provide a forum for not only planning but also tracking and reporting progress.
  • Provide a meaningful role for local citizens and citizen groups to work effectively for clean water solutions

As Maryland works alongside other Bay watershed states, Washington DC and the federal government to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, the importance of the implementation at the local level cannot be overstated. Local clean water plans equal local control and local benefits, including  clean, healthy water in our rivers and streams; safe places to swim and to fish; protected drinking water;  local jobs; and a thriving seafood industry.

Pollution control is local. Local leaders must be engaged in this process, for they play a crucial role in achieving pollution reduction goals. Local plans contain key strategies for who does what and when.

The local jurisdictions submitted draft plans to MDE in December of 2011, and MDE submitted a final plan for the State to EPA in March of 2012.  MDE has asked that revisions and updates to the plans be submitted by July 2nd.  We encourage local jurisdictions to continue to evaluate and refine their plans during the implementation phase. These Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans are intended to provide a “road map” of how each jurisdiction will achieve necessary nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reductions by 2025.

Read the report here and the full press release, with a list of local contacts, here.

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