2016 TMDL Symposium

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation hosted a TMDL Symposium at the Phillip Merrell Environmental Center on April 22, 2016.   A Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL is a scientific estimate of the maximum amount of pollution a body of water listed as "impaired" can accommodate and still meet water quality standards as defined in the Clean Water Act. During the Symposium, groups from across the nation discussed how the Clean Water Act and other tools can be used more effectively to reduce pollution loads and how TMDL implementation can be ensured.

Professor Oliver Houck of Tulane University Law School addresses the gathering.


CBF was honored to have Professor Oliver Houck from Tulane University Law School and Professor Pat Parenteau from Vermont Law School speak to the group. Oliver Houck has published several books and articles on The Clean Water Act and TMDL implementation. Pat Parenteau teaches courses on Water Quality and Environmental Litigation at Vermont Law School and is nationally recognized as a leader in environmental law and policy.

During the Symposium, Professor Houck discussed the national and local impacts of the Third Circuit's decision in the American Farm Bureau Federation v. EPA case which upheld EPA's TMDL pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay region. Additional information on this case and it's impact upon states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed can be found here.

Professor Pat Parenteau of Vermont Law School discusses his findings.


Professor Parenteau and CBF Trial Attorney Ariel Solaski discussed TMDL implementation and addressed the concept of "no new loads" related to TMDL assigned limits for point and non-point sources of pollution.

CBF Sr. Scientist Dr. Beth McGee and Brett Korte of the Environmental Law Institute considered the pros and cons of nutrient credit trading as a means to achieve TMDL goals.

CBF Federal Affairs Director Alix Murdoch and Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition reviewed options for pollution reductions from agriculture including several federal programs such as the Farm Bill.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Vice President of Litigation, Jon Mueller, and Trial Attorney Paul Smail discussed the difficulties associated with attaining pollutant reductions from urban stormwater.

Later, CBF's Education Program took several attendees on an informational tour of the Chesapeake Bay aboard the "Marguerite."

The symposium successfully generated discussion on the difficulties associated with TMDL implementation and the vagaries of TMDL law moving forward not only for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but for watersheds across the Country.

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