Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint

Delaware's Watershed Implementation Plan

in millions of pounds per year
2015 Milestone 2017 Goal 2025 Goal
Nitrogen 4.05 3.94 3.82 3.39
Phosphorus 0.27 0.25 0.3 0.28
Sediment 85.52 88.66 99.46 99.79
Go to Delaware's WIP website >>

Collectively, the EPA's TMDL and the state Watershed Implementation Plans establish the Clean Water Blueprint for the Chesapeake.  

Delaware 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. View Delaware's WIP

Two-year Milestones and progress reports are a critical tool to hold the states and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publicly accountable. The goal is for each jurisdiction to implement actions to achieve 60 percent of the needed pollution reductions by 2017 and 100 percent by 2025.


In June 2014, EPA evaluated Delaware's progress to date. Their findings are summarized here.
CSO stands for Combined Sewer Outflow

URBAN RUNOFF            
WASTEWATER & CSO            
ALL SOURCES            
        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
Chart based on data from the Chesapeake Bay Program's 2014 Reducing Pollution Indicator:
Delaware Milestones - 2014-15 Interim Report
Download the Delaware Milestones 2014-15 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.

In July 2015, CBF and  the Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC) released an analysis of each state's progress toward achieving its 2014-15 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.

The analysis showed that while Delaware continues to make progress towards their pollution reductions in the Chesapeake, it faces significant hurdles to meet its 2017 goals. Improved verification protocols will help Delaware get a better picture of all the pollution controls on the ground and implementing new regulations can reduce runoff, but Delaware will need to face tough issues like how to improve and/or verify participation in voluntary agricultural pollution-control programs as we approach 2017. Further dedication of resources including staff, data gathering, and cost sharing programs will assist Delaware in meeting its 2017 goals.

Assessment of Delaware's Progress on High Priority Pollution-Reduction Practices

x Off Track        check mark On Track

icon - agricultureAGRICULTURE

Animal Waste Management Systems

This practice refers to proper storage and handling of manure and chicken litter.

Delaware has put in place just under half of the animal waste management systems necessary to meet its 2017 goal. Part of the shortfall is due to reporting—the state believes many of the existing animal waste management systems are not being tracked because they were implemented voluntarily. The state is also grappling with identifying locations to implement these animal waste management systems and must resolve this issue in order to meet its 2017 goals.

Grass Buffers x

Grass buffers are densely vegetated areas of grass on farms along streams that promote filtration, infiltration, and settling to remove pollutants before they reach nearby waterways.

Delaware has implemented 2 percent of the grass buffers necessary to meet its 2017 goal. This slow pace of implementation of buffers is a region-wide problem. Part of the reason is insufficient financial incentives for farmers to take land out of production. Increased outreach and education about buffer benefits, with sufficient technical assistance are also needed. Better tracking and reporting may help Delaware close some of the implementation gap, but if the state remains off track, it should consider alternative pollution-reduction practices.

icon - urban/suburban runoffURBAN/SUBURBAN RUNOFF

Erosion and Sediment Control

This practice refers to controls used on construction sites for new development that are designed to minimize erosion and polluted runoff.

Delaware has put in place just under half of the erosion and sediment controls it needs to reach its 2017 goal. Part of this shortfall is due to a slower rate of new development than Delaware had anticipated when it set its goal. Delaware’s new Erosion and Sediment regulations went into effect in 2014. These new regulations, along with an expected rise in development, should increase implementation of this practice. However, the new regulations grandfather in many developments that would be exempt from meeting these new regulatory requirements if they are built prior to 2020. Even though these projects might be exempt under the current regulations, Delaware should encourage all new development to adopt erosion and sediment controls to reduce their impact on local streams during construction.

Tree Planting check mark

Tree planting provides significant pollution-reduction benefits when used in an agricultural setting.

Delaware has currently implemented 90 percent of its 2017 goal. Delaware has planted more than 500 acres of trees since 2009. This success can be attributed to programs like the Delaware Forest Service’s “Partnership Tree Planting Grant,” which awarded eight $1,000 matching grants to nonprofit groups who own property within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and outreach programs like their Arbor Day school poster contest “Trees are Terrific.”

Source: Chesapeake Bay TMDL website

You can track progress for all Bay jurisdictions, including Delaware, on EPA's Chesapeake Stat website site. On EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL website you can read about progress already being realized.


The decline of the Bay has cost our region billions of dollars in lost jobs, revenue, and resources and threatens to be a continuing drag on local and state economies for years to come. To find out more about the economic impact of the Bay to the region, see the following CBF reports:

Debunking the "Job Killer" Myth: How Pollution Limits Encourage Jobs in the Chesapeake Bay Region (pdf)

The Economic Argument for Cleaning Up the Bay and Its Rivers (pdf)

Oyster Report: On the Brink (pdf)

Bad Waters and the Decline of Blue Crabs in the Chesapeake Bay (pdf)

Bay pollution also threatens public health. To read more about health threats, see CBF's report Bad Water 2009: The Impact of Human Health in the Chesapeake Bay Region (pdf)

You can find the EPA pollution limit documents on the EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL website.


Apathy, anti-Bay legislation, lawsuits, and a bad economy all threaten to derail the 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 Bay will reach a tipping point when improvements outpace pollution and the Bay rebounds exponentially.


In 2017, Delaware 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.

May 2014
Delaware delivered its second set of two-year milestones for 2014-2015 to the EPA.

March 2012
Delaware delivered its Final Phase II WIP on March 30, 2012. EPA commented (PDF) (6 pgs, 304KB) on the blueprint May 31, 2012.

February 2012
EPA evaluated the Bay jurisdictions' Draft Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and 2012-2013 two-year milestones and provided feedback on February 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 Delaware (PDF) (4pg, 32K).

November 2010
Final Phase I Watershed Implementation Plans submitted to EPA by the six watershed states and the District of Columbia began 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 Delaware.

December 2010
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. View the Phase I evaluation for Delaware (PDF).

Visit Delaware's WIP website

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