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The Process

How We Drafted This Plan

Pennsylvania's Departments of Environmental Protection, Agriculture, and Conservation and Natural Resources have been working together since 2017 to develop Phase 3 of Pennsylvania's Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).

Preparing the draft was a team effort. Dozens of partners from local government, businesses, and nonprofits worked together to study the science, meet with stakeholders to learn more, come up with fair solutions, and contribute to this draft for your review. Hundreds of individuals representing local government, universities, businesses, agriculture, and environmental organizations contributed their time and expertise. As DEP prepared this draft, we were guided by the principle that clean water is "Great for PA, Good for the Bay." We see the Phase 3 WIP planning and implementation as an opportunity for us to serve our residents and businesses — cleaning up our water, lowering flood risks, and improving the quality of life in our community.

The Phase 3 plan specifies the steps Pennsylvania will take through 2025 to meet local water pollution reduction goals in the Bay watershed. In the Phase 3 WIP, the Commonwealth will use a "Bottom Up" approach to meet its Phase 3 WIP goals — working with each of these to develop Countywide Action Plans (CAPs) for clean water that are realistic and doable by local communities. The WIP Steering Committee determined that county-level planning would be the most feasible in terms of size, number, existing data, and ability to organize resources. Pennsylvania's nitrogen and phosphorus reduction targets are broken down into local planning goals for each of these counties.

It is important to note that the county clean water goals do NOT establish any new requirement or regulatory obligation on counties. These goals are simply a way for Pennsylvania to engage with local partners on shared issues and focus resources on efforts that help Pennsylvania reach its Chesapeake Bay goals.

Timeline for WIP Development

  • January 2017: EPA Releases Interim Final Expectation for Phase 3 WIPs
  • June 2018: EPA releases final expectation for Phase 3 WIP
  • April 2019: Draft Phase 3 WIPs due to EPA
  • June 2019: EPA feedback on draft Phase 3 WIPs
  • August 2019: Final Phase 3 WIPs due to EPA and county-based planning and implementation begins

Supporting Documents

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