The Pennsylvania chesapeake bay strategy
What's New: Bay Reboot Update --- Development of Procedures for Conducting Farm Inspections
DEP has worked in close cooperation with representatives of the State Conservation Commission, the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, and several individual conservation districts to develop a final Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and inspection report form for conservation district and DEP staff to follow when completing the inspections called for as part of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Strategy. Links to the SOP, and inspection report are available below. These documents will be updated over time as conservation districts and DEP gain experience under the inspection program. Full implementation will begin following training events scheduled for the summer of 2016.
Improving Local Water Quality in Pennsylvania and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay
Half of the land area of Pennsylvania drains to the Chesapeake Bay from four major river basins, and Pennsylvania comprises 35 percent of the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Susquehanna River is the largest tributary to the bay, providing 90 percent of the freshwater flow to the upper bay and half of the total freshwater flow to the bay. Simply stated, the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay cannot be restored without Pennsylvania's support. But even more important, water quality in Pennsylvania must be restored.
Since 2011, Pennsylvania has significantly reduced its discharges of nutrients from point sources such as wastewater treatment plants. Data show that Pennsylvania is on track for meeting phosphorous reduction goals. However, those same data show Pennsylvania is not meeting nitrogen and sediment goals. Pennsylvania must change its approach for the Chesapeake Bay.
On Jan. 21, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf unveiled a comprehensive strategy to "reboot" the state's efforts to improve water quality in the commonwealth and the bay. The strategy, developed by DEP in consultation with departments of Agriculture and Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), as well as the State Conservation Commission, relies on a mix of technical and financial assistance for farmers, technology, expanded data gathering, improved program coordination and capacity and – only when necessary – stronger enforcement and compliance measures.