PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its evaluations of the final Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Completion of the plans marks a significant stage in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort and represents the local-level planning needed to continue accelerating implementation of the necessary practices to restore the health and economic engine of the Bay watershed’s streams and rivers, the EPA said.
The plans were developed by the states and the District with support from EPA, and in collaboration with local governments and conservation districts. They outline steps each jurisdiction will take toward restoring clean water to the thousands of streams and rivers that make up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and improving the quality of life for the more than 17 million people who live in the watershed.
“While significant progress continues to be made across the watershed, the Phase II WIPs represent a transition from planning to implementing the necessary practices at the local level,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin during a conference call with reporters. “We will continue to work closely with the states and the District as we reaffirm our shared commitment for restoring this incredibly valuable national resource.”
Garvin acknowledged that the jurisdictions are already doing much of this work, consistent with their Phase I WIP commitments. He added that the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership, including state and federal officials, have committed to having all of the needed pollution control measures in place to fully restore the Bay by no later than 2025.