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Phase 3 of Pennsylvania's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP3)

CleanWater LogoIn 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a historic clean-up plan to reduce pollution and restore clean water in the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed by 2025. This plan is the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

The “TMDL” specifies pollution reduction goals for the seven jurisdictions in the watershed: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, New York, and the District of Columbia.

By 2025, Pennsylvania must reduce nitrogen pollution levels by 34 million pounds per year; phosphorous levels by .7 million pounds per year; and sediment levels by 531 million pounds per year. For more detailed information on these goals, see the EPA Summary of a TMDL.

Like the other jurisdictions, Pennsylvania is required to develop a series of three “Watershed Implementation Plans” (WIPs). These plans specify how Pennsylvania will accomplish these pollution reduction goals—not only for 2025, but also for dates before then, to be sure that Pennsylvania working to make steady progress.

Pennsylvania developed its Phase 1 WIP in 2010, and its Phase 2 WIP in 2012.

Here’s a helpful infographic of the steps of Phase 3 WIP development from EPA.


DEP is working with the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Conservation and Natural Resources and many other government, agriculture, environmental, community, academic and business partners in 2017 and 2018 to develop Phase 3 of Pennsylvania’s WIP.

The Phase 3 plan will specify the steps Pennsylvania will take through 2025 to meet local water pollution reduction goals in the Bay watershed, based on EPA’s midpoint assessment of our progress in 2017. (For more detailed information, see EPA’s expectations for what the Phase 3 WIP should include.)

Bottom-up development and teamwork with partners is crucially important to the success of the Phase 3 plan.

Events and Outreach

In the interest of maintaining transparency in this process, DEP has opened the Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) Workgroup meetings to the public. For more information, click here.

Not only are dozens of people participating as steering committee and workgroup members (click on the tabs on right for details), but on June 5, 2017, over 240 people participated in our public kickoff and listening event for Phase 3 planning.

WIP 3 Kickoff 

Knowledgeable and passionate about the challenges of cleaning up our local streams, rivers, and lakes, they provided 32 topics for discussion over a 5-hour period (PDF). Another 16 people provided their input online, and almost 40 people shared their thoughts on Facebook. A summary of public input (PDF) has been compiled for those interested in reading the feedback DEP received through these efforts. This invaluable expertise and first-hand experience will inform the work of the Phase 3 plan steering committee and work groups.

If you serve in local government in any of the counties in Pennsylvania’s part of the Bay watershed, here are some tips from the EPA on how to help the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Effort (PDF).

For more information about Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts across state borders, visit the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program page.

  • Sept. 27: Steering committee meeting: 1:00 to 4:00 pm, Room 105, RCSOB –open to public


DEP, DCNR, and Agriculture Secretaries

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell (right), Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding (center), and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Dunn (left) discuss teaming up with local partners to develop Phase 3 of Pennsylvania’s plan to reduce nutrients and sediment from local waters in our 43 counties within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Listen to the July 20 “SmartTalk” interview on WITF FM.