Chesapeake Bay Program


The December 2010 Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL) calls for an assessment in 2017 to review our progress toward meeting the nutrient and sediment pollutant load reductions identified in the 2010 Bay TMDL, Phase I and Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and two-year milestones. West Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Tributary Team is now gathering input for West Virginia’s Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), which will guide implementation from 2018-2025.

Please contact Alana Hartman at if you have ideas or comments, or would like to be included in the information-gathering process. This could include attendance at local workgroup meetings, requesting a presentation for a group you are involved in, or simply emailing us your thoughts. Also sign up for our Trib Team’s quarterly e-newsletter to stay in touch about this process and specific local projects. West Virginia Potomac Tributary Strategy Team: Stay in Touch.

We would like to know which strategies have worked well, how much capacity we have to carry out good strategies, and what else is needed (funding, staff, new programs) to fill the gaps. To refresh your memory, download the Phase II WIP we’ve been working from, and navigate to the sector that interests you most (wastewater, developed lands, agriculture, forestry, and others). We can use new ideas, too.

Since 2002, West Virginia has been a formal partner in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. In June, our state signed on to the updated Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which was released on December 29, 2010, establishes the foundation for water quality improvements embodied in the new Agreement. It drives the nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reductions West Virginia committed to in our Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).

West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Tributary Team partners are in the midst of implementing the strategies in the WIP. These strategies address new, existing, and expanded sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. The Bay Team partners are required to make 60 percent of the needed reductions from all of the sources by 2017, and 100 percent of the needed reductions by 2025. There are also milestones, to ensure the project stays on track.

While some commitments are carried out through permits, like wastewater treatment plant upgrades, many of the WIP strategies are voluntary and depend on homeowners, school classes, local governments, and others to do things like install rain gardens to manage runoff, take care of septic systems, or plant trees. Some real momentum and progress is occurring thanks to projects like Cacapon Institute’s CommuniTree and Potomac Headwaters Future Leaders of Watersheds (PHLOW). Even more commitment of this kind by the residents and workers in the eight-county Potomac Basin will be needed this year and in the years to come. Please contact us if your organization or class would like to be involved.

West Virginia is generally on track to achieve our goals so far; click to see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s webpage that summarizes the 2014-15 milestone period.

In addition, United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps and charts show that water quality in West Virginia’s tributaries to the Potomac River is also trending in the right direction.

Major pollution reductions are possible when federal, state, and local governments work together, as West Virginia’s partners have shown through wastewater treatment plant upgrades and thousands of instances and acres of agricultural best management practices. However, we must continue to stay focused, further engage people in various sectors representing pollution sources, and make progress toward West Virginia’s goals.

Volunteers from the Town of Bath at the West Virginia Project CommuniTree Tree Planting at Greenway Cemetery in Berkeley Springs in the fall of 2012. Romney's wastewater treatment is one of several that were upgraded to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. 

Additional Resources

1. West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Program
2. Chesapeake Bay Program
3. Chesapeake Stat
4. Potomac basin watersheds
5. Click here for the Nonpoint Source BMP reporting tool

 West Virginia Eastern Panhandle