West Virginia has released its draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) as part of its requirement under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay initiative.
The Phase II WIP continues the process of defining how West Virginia, in partnership with federal and local governments, will achieve the pollution load reductions required to support the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. A TMDL is the maximum amount of a pollutant a body of water can receive and still meet its water quality standards.
The Bay TMDL, which grew out of a 2009 Executive Order from President Obama calling for the natural sustainability of the Bay Watershed, involves a six-state region. It targets load reductions of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus from sources such as agriculture, wastewater treatment facilities, non-point storm water runoff and permitted storm water.
Eight West Virginia Eastern Panhandle counties – Pendleton, Grant, Mineral, Hardy, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson – are part of the Bay Watershed. The Potomac River, which flows through the Eastern Panhandle, drains into the Chesapeake Bay.
West Virginia’s Phase II WIP is a modification of its Phase I WIP and adds local detail, as well as increased specificity and accountability. It was developed by the West Virginia Departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, as well as the state Conservation Agency, with significant input from The Conservation Fund-Freshwater Institute, Cacapon Institute, WVU Extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and many other partners.
A draft of the Phase II WIP is available at www.wvca.us/bay.
Public comment on the draft will be accepted through Feb. 20, 2012. Comments may be sent to Alana Hartman, WVDEP-DWWM, HC 63 Box 2545, Romney, WV 26757 or electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
The final Phase II WIP is currently scheduled for submission to the EPA on March 30, 2012.