Friday, September 17, 2010

Committee Advises on Nutrient Reduction in the Chesapeake Bay

The Committee on the Evaluation of Chesapeake Bay Program Implementation for Nutrient Reduction to Improve Water Quality held its third meeting on September 9 and 10. The committee addressed questions regarding nutrient tracking and accountability as well as the milestone strategy of the Chesapeake Bay Program. The meeting was sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, and representatives from EPA, World Resources Institute, various universities, and agencies involved in Chesapeake Bay restoration participated.

During the open session held on September 9, various aspects of the Chesapeake Bay Program were presented and discussed. Jeff Corbin, Senior Advisor to the Regional Administrator of the EPA Region III, provided an update on the Bay TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Loads), which included an overview of EPA's approach for promoting both state and agency accountability and performance in the Bay restoration process. Furthermore, the presentation detailed information about how two-year milestones, relate to TMDL and WIPs (Watershed Implementation Plans). The two-year milestones, initiated in 2009, are short term goals designed to accelerate Bay restoration. According to the plan outlined in the presentation, by 2025 all practices will be in place for restoration of the Bay and its tidal waters. The remainder of the afternoon was dedicated to dialogue about water quality, management strategies, goals, and expectations for Bay restoration.

A discussion on the prospects for nutrient trading and markets made it clear that, although water nutrients are included in the market-based approach to conservation outlined in Section 2709 in the 2008 Farm Bill, such trading and markets face many technical, economic and political challenges and barriers.

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