Begin Main Content Area

Pennsylvania's Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan

Healthy Waters, Healthy Communities

Many residents are working together to restore and protect streams and rivers in Pennsylvania's part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, because they value what clean local waters mean for quality of life:

  • Clean drinking water 
  • Food and beverage production by farmers
  • Public health
  • Less erosion and flooding, reducing the expense of related repairs
  • Property value protection
  • Outdoor experiences such as fishing, boating, and swimming
  • Income from recreation and tourism businesses
  • Habitat for fish, insects, birds, animals

They're participating in community meetings and outdoor projects in 43 counties in the watershed to determine actions that will reduce three types of stormwater runoff pollutants: soil and, from fertilizer use, nitrogen and phosphorus. 

When it rains, these pollutants run off surfaces such as farm fields, streets, and parking lots and go right into streams and rivers. 

Stormwater runoff has contributed to the impairment of more than 11,400 miles of streams in Pennsylvania's part of the watershed and it heads downstream to damage the Chesapeake Bay as well.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires Pennsylvania and our neighbors in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia—to reduce these pollutants by specific amounts by 2025. 

Pennsylvania's 2025 Goals:

  • Nitrogen: Reduce by 34 million pounds per year
  • Phosphorus: Reduce by .7 million pounds per year
  • Sediment (soil): Reduce by 531 million pounds per year

A challenge this size requires many partners and a game plan. Three state agencies—DEP, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources—are coordinating a process to develop Pennsylvania's Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, known as the "Phase 3 WIP." It's in a draft phase now, and will be finalized in August. 

Your help is needed! You can join the effort to create a plan for healthy waters in several ways. You can review the draft plan, and you can get more involved, participating in the planning process.

Success Story: Turtle Creek 

Turtle Creek Story Map

This is a story about the long-term, piece-by-piece restoration of Turtle Creek in north-central Pennsylvania.  It’s also a story about the power of partnerships, innovation, the environmental stewardship of landowners, and the resiliency of natural systems. It’s a success story suggesting broader opportunities for Pennsylvania’s waters, and for the Chesapeake Bay.


How to Get Involved

A family in a canoe The Public

We welcome comments from every state resident about the draft Phase 3 WIP, to share thoughts and help us create options to clean up our local waterways.


Countywide Action Teams Countywide Action Teams

There are 43 Pennsylvania counties whose waterways run to either the Susquehanna or Potomac Rivers, which drain to the Chesapeake Bay. Each county will plan how they will meet pollution reduction goals. 


Agriculture equipment Agriculture

The state and its partners will emphasize seven practices that farmers can take to  reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. 

A man works at a construction site Developers and Construction

To reduce water pollution from construction sites, the state and its partners will promote practices that capture and filter stormwater onsite. 

A woman takes a water sample from a stream Environmental Organizations

The Phase 3 WIP is an opportunity for environmental stewards to partner with state and county governments and local businesses. 


A man works at a water company Water and Wastewater Utilities

Water and wastewater utilities have done more than any other sector to reduce water pollution. The Phase 3 WIP is an opportunity for utilities to work with and encourage others to do their part.

CleanWaterLogo.png