Actions Needed, by State, to Accelerate Pollution Reduction
The Commonwealth faces substantial shortfalls in reducing polluted runoff from agriculture and urban areas. CBF is working to:
- Ensure Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), County Conservation Districts, and local partners work to assure robust outreach and education, technical and financial assistance, and compliance with state water quality laws and regulations by farmers and urban/suburban communities in the Commonwealth. It is estimated that a substantial percentage of farms still are lacking required pollution prevention and reduction plans and have long waits for assistance. In addition, recent audits by the US EPA have founds substantial shortfalls by communities required to address polluted runoff.
- Promote new efforts to accelerate the planting of forest buffers and other core pollution reducing practices. In Pennsylvania forested stream buffers were established at a rate of six acres per day from 2009 to 2013, but must increase to a rate of fifty acres per day through 2017 to meet the goal the Commonwealth set.
- Update Pennsylvania's Phosphorus Index to reduce over-application of phosphorus fertilizer on farm fields that can pollute streams and the Bay.
- Convince the DEP to list the Lower Susquehanna River as impaired due to the continued problems facing the smallmouth bass population.
"The State of the Bay Report is not only a reflection of the health of the Bay, but also of local rivers and streams," said CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. "Nearly one quarter of our streams and rivers are listed as impaired, damaged by pollution. That is unacceptable and puts our health and safety at risk. Polluted runoff from agriculture and urban/suburban areas are significant contributors to that damage.
To accelerate pollution reductions, Maryland must set more ambitious goals and increase efforts to plant trees in both agricultural and urban lands. CBF is working to:
- Ensure that Maryland implements measures to reduce phosphorus pollution from agriculture to nearby waterways. Phosphorus pollution is continuing to increase in many of the Eastern Shore's rivers.
- Change Maryland's Forest Conservation Act to protect and replace more trees.
- Reduce pollution from urban/suburban runoff by strengthening state permits, maintaining dedicated funding, and enforcing existing laws.
"To date, Maryland has been on track to meet the goals it set," said CBF Maryland Executive Director Alison Prost. "In order to continue to make progress, Maryland's newly elected officials will need to stand up for clean water and its citizens must hold them accountable, ensuring we all play by the same rules."
Virginia must accelerate pollution reductions from agriculture and urban/suburban runoff. CBF is working with the General Assembly to:
- Build upon Governor McAuliffe's budget proposal for farmland conservation practices and ensure that funding sufficient to achieve our Bay goals is secured in the final budget.
- Hold the line of Virginia's new stormwater management program, allowing the program to continue to mature and protect our local streams and the Bay.
- Work with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to strengthen Virginia's oyster fisheries laws in order to support the oyster industry and protect a vital resource.
"While Virginia is currently on track to meet its short-term goals, there are growing concerns that Virginia will fall short of our goals for reducing pollution from farm operations, creating the need to secure less cost-effective reductions from other sources," said CBF's Virginia Executive Director Ann Jennings.