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Swallowing Jargon to Save The Bay

 

It’s a heavy order, but you need to do it

       It’s a mouthful. But you probably need to swallow the draft Phase III Watershed Implementation’s lumpy title for the sake of knowing what Maryland planners have in store for our Chesapeake.

         What we’re talking about, in case that title doesn’t tell you, is what’s coming to help us reach the 2025 “ultimate restoration deadline” the EPA set back in 2010. In essence, each state has gone on a pollution diet to keep from surpassing its Total Maximum Daily Load of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. 

         Dieting is always a long-term business, so each state had to develop its diet — here comes another mouthful — through three phases of Watershed Implementation Plans.

         We’ve moved with some success through Phase One and Phase Two to Phase Three. The job now is to “identify the strategies, opportunities and challenges in not only meeting the 2025 Chesapeake Bay Restoration targets, but also sustaining restoration into the future.”

         If that sounds vague to you, you’ll have to bite into the document itself to find specifics to chew on. Log on, and you’ll find the full plan and its six appendices plus summary guides in the Executive Summary and FAQs. Lots of graphs try to help you understand what words can’t seem to say in plain English.

         There you’ll learn that Phase Three focuses on reducing nitrogen because we’re on track to meet phosphorus and sediment goals. Wastewater treatment plants and farm fields are targeted to make the needed reductions.

         Climate change and population growth get a bit of attention. The Conowingo Dam, holding back the upper Susquehanna River’s huge pollution dump, gets a full three-point strategic attack.

         We’re asked to read, digest and report back by June 7, so the final Phase Three WIP (that’s Watershed Implementation Plan, as I’m sure you remember) can be issued by August 9.

         Public participation is key, so be a good Bay citizen and eat your spinach: www.tinyurl.com/MDE-phase-3.