The EPA is accepting comments until April 23 regarding draft guidance it has developed to reduce runoff from federally managed lands within the Bay watershed. The guidance was developed in response to an executive order signed by President Barack Obama last year that promised federal agencies would play a bigger role in the Bay's restoration and that they would lead by example.

Although they only apply to federal lands, EPA officials said the recommendations reflect the "best available science" on ways to reduce runoff and may be useful to states and others developing Bay cleanup strategies.

"We face particularly difficult challenges in the Bay watershed in managing runoff pollution from agricultural and urban and suburban lands, and this document has a number of innovative new measures that will reduce this pollution sharply," said Chuck Fox, senior adviser to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Chesapeake issues.

The guidance, more than 600 pages thick, makes a variety of suggestions, including that no phosphorus be applied on crop lands that are already more than 20 percent phosphorus saturated-something that could make large areas off-limits to manure. It recommends measures to ensure that new development produces no additional runoff, and actions to reduce pollution from lawns and septic systems.

After public comments are received, a final document is expected when a final federal strategy to implement the executive order is released May 12.

The draft guidance is available at www.epa.gov/nps/chesbay502/.