in millions of pounds per year
||2015 Milestone||2017 Goal||2025 Goal|
|Go to West Virginia's WIP website >>|
Collectively, the EPA's TMDL and the state Watershed Implementation Plans establish the Clean Water Blueprint for the Chesapeake.
West Virginia and the other six Bay jurisdictions agreed to create state-specific plans to implement 60 percent of their Bay cleanup practices by 2017 and 100 percent by 2025. These plans are called Watershed Implementation Plans or WIPs and will not only help restore the Bay, but will also significantly improve the health of local waterways.
WEST VIRGINIA'S PROGRESS
In June 2014, EPA evaluated West Virginia's progress to date. Their findings are summarized here.
|Wastewater & CSO†|
|On track for 2017 target||Within 10% of being on track for 2017 target|
|More than 10% off track for 2017 target||*No contribution from this source sector|
† Combined Sewer Outflow
Chart based on data from the Chesapeake Bay Program's 2014 Reducing Pollution Indicator: www.chesapeakebay.net/indicators/indicator/reducing_nitrogen_pollution
Download the West Virginia Milestones 2014-15 Interim Report
2014-15 MILESTONES INTERIM REPORT
To track progress toward achieving these goals, each jurisdiction established interim, two-year cleanup goals called Milestones, which would be publicly reported beginning January 2011. Two-year Milestones and progress reports are a critical tool to hold the states and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publicly accountable.
In July 2015, CBF and the Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC) released an analysis of each state's progress toward achieving its 2014-2015 Milestones. The goal of this analysis—which focused on the highest priority pollution-reduction practices for each state—was to determine whether the state's progress is sufficient to allow it to achieve 60 percent implementation by 2017.
For West Virginia to continue to make progress toward meeting pollution-reduction goals, they need more funding and a requirement for nutrient management plans. Voluntary implementation in the agriculture sector is heavily reliant on landowner willingness in addition to funding for outreach, technical assistance, and implementation. Field staff of the state programs are forced to respond to opportunities on a first-come, first-served basis, rather than taking a more strategic watershed-wide planning and coordination approach. This is a systemic problem that can be addressed through additional state and federal funds. One promising opportunity to accelerate forested buffers is implementating the recommendations of the State Buffer Task Force and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The acceleration of animal waste management systems in recent years was due, in part, to regulations applicable to concentrated animal feeding operations. Requiring nutrient management plans, as well as the funds needed to for technical assistance and implementation, would also accelerate this important practice.
West Virginia should look to models in other states with required crop-nutrient management regimens while at the same time working to adequately fund other important practices.
Lastly, the use of phytase has greatly reduced phosphorus concentrations in poultry manure. The state should continue to work with the industry to maximize the benefits of this and other feed adjustments.
Assessment of West Virginia's High Priority Pollution-Reduction Practices
Off track On track Slightly off track
|Nutrient Management||Agricultural fertilizers that drain from farm fields are a significant pollutant impacting local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. West Virginia has made progress in the methods used to track nutrient management best management practices, but lags behind in implementing enough nutrient management plans to meet its 2017 goal for this important practice. Crop nutrient management programs are voluntary in West Virginia, and so implementation of this practice has lagged behind other states with a regulatory framework for nutrient management.|
||Phytase is an enzyme added to poultry feed that improves birds’ ability to take up phosphorus from the feed, so that less needs to be added to meet their nutritional requirements. The end result: less phosphorus in the manure. Currently, the milestone information suggests that the state is slightly off track on this practice. More recent data, however, indicates that average phosphorus concentrations in broiler manure has decreased by roughly 24 percent between 2006 and 2012, putting the state at, or close to their 2017 and 2025 targets. The state should continue to work with the poultry industry to ensure that the benefits of the use of phytase and other feed adjustments are maintained and maximized.|
|Forest Buffers||Trees, shrubs, and other plants that grow along rivers and streams prevent pollution from entering waterways, stabilize stream banks, provide food and habitat to wildlife, and keep streams cool during hot weather. Despite earlier successes, West Virginia is not on track to achieve their 2015 milestone goal and slightly off-track for their 2017 goal. Implementation efforts are hampered by insufficient resources for outreach and technical assistance. More federal and state resources are needed to support this important practice.|
|Animal Waste Management Systems||Manure management is crucial to preventing water quality degradation. Farm practices needed include a means of collecting, scraping, or washing animal manure wastes from confinement areas into appropriate waste storage structures. This allows the farmer to spread manure or separated nutrients onto crops at agronomic rates informed by their required nutrient management plans. West Virginia is not on track to achieve their 2015 milestone for this practice, but since 2009 they have made good progress, such that they are on track for their 2017 goal. Implementation of the West Virginia Confined Animal Feeding Operations Program has encouraged better manure storage practices that have helped accelerate implementation.|
Source: Chesapeake Bay TMDL website
You can track progress for all Bay jurisdictions on EPA's Chesapeake Stat website. Or you can read about progress already being realized.
WHAT OBSTACLES DOES THE CLEANUP FACE?
Apathy, finger-pointing, anti-Bay legislation and lawsuits, powerful interest groups, and a bad economy all threaten to derail the collaborative local/state/federal Bay cleanup. Yet most experts consider this the Chesapeake Bay's best, and perhaps last, chance for real restoration. The problems have been identified; we have the know-how and tools to fix them; and the benefits of a restored Chesapeake Bay manifestly outweigh cleanup costs. If we work together to make the pollution limits work, many scientists believe the Chesapeake Bay will reach a tipping point when improvements outpace pollution and the Bay rebounds exponentially.
TRACKING WEST VIRGINIA'S WIP
In 2017, West Virginia and the other Bay states are to submit a Phase III WIP which will focus on ensuring that all practices are in place by 2025 as need to fully restore the Bay and its tidal waters.
EPA evaluated the Bay jurisdictions' Draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and 2012-2013 two-year milestones and provided feedback on Feb. 15, 2012. The Phase II WIPs and the two-year milestones are important elements in helping to meet the Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council's goal of having all practices in place by 2025 to meet water quality standards in the Chesapeake Bay. View the evaluation for West Virginia (PDF) (5 pgs, 33KB).
For their Phase II WIPs, EPA asked jurisdictions to make key stakeholders—local governments, conservations districts, farmers, builders and others—aware of their roles in cleaning up the region's waterways, and to strengthen pollution-reduction strategies for any sectors subject to federal enhanced oversight or backstop actions based on the Phase I WIPs and the Bay TMDL issued in 2010. Visit West Virginia's website to learn more about their activities to finalize their Phase II WIP.
Final Phase I Watershed Implementation Plans were submitted to EPA by the six watershed states and the District of Columbia beginning November 29, 2010. The WIPs were designed to provide a roadmap for how and when a jurisdiction intends to meet its pollutant allocations under the Bay TMDL. View the Final Phase I WIP for West Virginia.
The Phase I WIPs were reviewed by a team of EPA sector specialists based on detailed expectations provided by EPA in November 2009 (PDF) and supplemented in April 2010 (PDF) and extensive interaction with the jurisdictions since the submittal of draft WIPs in early September 2010. The WIPs needed to meet the lower pollution limits for that jurisdiction and provide reasonable assurance that the actions identified would achieve the reductions, particularly for non-permitted sources like runoff from agricultural lands and stormwater from urban and suburban lands. The final WIPs represented significant improvements over the draft WIPs, enabling EPA to reduce and remove most federal "backstops" that had been included in the draft TMDL. Because of inadequacies in dealing with agriculture, EPA included a "backstop" measure in the final TMDL, that could lead to a requirement that WV regulate more of their animal feeding operations if they don't make sufficient progress reducing agricultural loads. In addition, because of some deficiencies in their plans to reduce pollution from stormwater and wastewater, EPA will be conducting "enhanced oversight" of these programs, potentially invoking more stringent measures in the future. View the Phase I evaluation for West Virginia (PDF)
Source: Chesapeake Bay TMDL website
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