Since 2002, West Virginia has been a formal partner in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Our state signed on to
the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which was
released on December 29, 2010, established 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.
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 West Virginia
Conservation Agency's Agricultural Enhancement Program (AgEP). Even more commitment of this kind by the
residents, agricultural producers, and workers in the eight-county Potomac Basin is needed. 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; see the Chesapeake Progress webpage where a
single jurisdiction such as West Virginia can be selected, and modeled pollutant loads from recent years vs.
goals can be compared.
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 generally 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.