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Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans

In 2010, the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This historic clean-up plan provides a guide for reducing pollution and restoring clean water to the Chesapeake Bay and its local rivers and streams.

To guide these efforts, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia (collectively referred to as the “Bay jurisdictions”) created a series of roadmaps—known as Watershed Implementation Plans, or WIPs—describing how each will achieve the pollution reductions called for in the TMDL.

There are three phases of WIPs. Phase I and II WIPs were developed in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and describe actions to be implemented by 2017 and 2025 to achieve the goals of the TMDL. Phase III WIPs, under development in the 2017 to 2018 timeframe, will describe actions the seven Bay jurisdictions intend to implement through 2025 to meet Bay restoration goals, based on a 2017 midpoint assessment of progress.

Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL):

Timeline for WIP Development:

EPA’s Interim Expectations for Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans (PDF)

Local Government’s Role in the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Effort (PDF)

June 5: Pennsylvania Phase III Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan Kickoff and Listening Session

Although registration for this event is closed, your input is valuable and requested. DEP has a 45-day open public comment period starting June 3-July 7,  2017. 

  • What key elements need to be included for this effort to be a success? What priority issues must be addressed in the Phase 3 WIP for you to consider it a success?
  • What measurable outcome does the Commonwealth need to achieve by 2025 that would make this effort successful?
  • Is there a particular initiative, action, partnership or training that would aid this effort?
  • Are there possibilities for continuing and enhancing current projects or initiatives?

Commentators are encouraged to submit comments using the Department's online eComment system. Written comments should be submitted by e-mail to or by mail to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.