2014–15 federal water quality milestones released for comment
Federal agencies are taking comments until Dec. 20 on their draft two-year milestones that would guide their water pollution control activities during 2014–15.
Most of the actions outlined would be taken by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the two agencies most directly involved in implementing, or overseeing, nutrient and sediment control actions in the watershed.
The EPA pledges to maintain its oversight of state pollution control activities, work toward developing new computer models that estimate runoff into the Bay, and develop new protocols for ensuring that runoff control practices are properly installed and maintained over time.
It also outlined plans to inspect animal feeding operations, oversee stormwater control programs, work with states to promote further air pollution controls, and take other activities to help ensure that pollution control efforts stay on track.
The USDA will evaluate the results of recent efforts to target the implementation of runoff control practices in watersheds around the region, publish a new report assessing conservation activities on croplands in the watershed, and continue to fund the construction of new manure treatment and distribution facilities, among other actions.
Some commitments involved other agencies. For instance, the Department of Defense said it would work with states to support their implementation of watershed implementation plans, and to develop and implement a new Stormwater Best Management Practices Operation and Maintenance Policy to meet water quality requirements at its facilities.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey will research the effects of chemical contaminants on fish and wildlife in the Bay and its watershed with an emphasis on chemicals of emerging concern.
States, under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, are required to develop two-year milestones outlining the specific nutrient and sediment control actions they will take each two years to ensure Bay cleanup efforts remain on track. Federal agencies are not required to do so under the TMDL, but the federal Bay strategy developed in response to President Obama’s 2009 Chesapeake Bay Executive Order calls for them to also develop milestones.
The draft milestones only cover water quality actions. Milestones for other federal activities planned for 2014–15 will be outlined in the 2014 Federal Action Plan to be published in early next year.
To review the water quality milestones, or to make a comment, visit the federal executive order website.