A series of four agreements dating to have guided the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. From the beginning, the agreements emphasized the importance of shared responsibility between the federal government, states within the Bay watershed, and the District of Columbia. No other approach would work, given that the Bay drainage area stretches 64, square miles over six states. The first agreement in was a simple, one- pledge ed by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the administrator of the U. A subsequent Chesapeake Bay Agreement in set the first numeric goals to reduce pollution and restore the Bay ecosystem.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership that le and directs Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection. Bay Program partners include federal and state agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations and academic institutions.
Bay Program-approved agricultural BMPs represent the largest and most diverse group of conservation practices and land use conversions across all sectors. The diversity of BMPs reflects the diversity of agricultural production and land uses across the Bay watershed. The three BMP are primarily based on the assessment method for their physical presence, as well as on the respective life spans or permanence on the landscape.
The five forestry BMPs for which verification guidance is presented are: a agricultural riparian forest buffers; b agricultural tree planting; c expanded tree canopy; d urban riparian forest buffers; and e forest harvesting BMPs. Four of the five forestry BMPs covered by this guidance are types of tree planting deed to improve environmental and water quality conditions in currently non-forested areas, including tree plantings in riparian areas.
This verification guidance represents a synthesis of the consensus reached by the Workgroup on the challenge of providing verification guidance for this collection of BMPs. As a part of its role within the Bay Program partnership, the Wastewater Treatment Workgroup was charged with addressing BMP verification guidance for wastewater treatment facilities, combined sewer overflow CSO areas and advanced on-site treatment systems. Verification through existing regulatory programs will confirm if the upgraded wastewater facilities, CSOs or on-site treatment systems are deed, installed and maintained over time and meeting their ased load reduction targets.
Restoration, creation and enhancement of wetlands provides a range of benefits for wildlife, fish, and other aquatic species. Wetlands also filter nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from overland flow, thereby providing quantifiable water quality benefits.
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Though defined differently, wetland restoration, creation and enhancement projects will all undergo similar verification processes. Additional guidance for stream restoration projects, specific to riparian wetlands, is available in the Wetlands verification guidance. Bay Program partners developed and adopted a set of five BMP verification principles to both guide the development of the verification guidance and to establish the basis upon which to evaluate the development and implementation of enhanced jurisdictional BMP verification programs.
The principles provide the common bar with which partners could judge the distinct components of the framework to ensure everything would be aligned to hit the same mark in the end. A complete overview of the five verification principles can be found in Appendix A.
The following are links to existing reports, documents and guidance developed through the Bay Program partnership, as well as additional resources to support development and implementation of enhanced verification of BMPs within the Bay watershed.
Maryland and D. Plans were submitted for EPA review on November 16, Below is a list of Chesapeake Bay Program sponsored meetings and teleconferences that included BMP verification on the agenda from Links are provided to the CBP calendar entry or other site with an agenda, minutes and meeting materials. A complete listing of the twelve framework elements and links to their documentation within the report are provided on this. The six sets of workgroup-based verification guidance are: agriculture, forestry, urban stormwater, wastewater, wetlands and streams.
Bay Program partners agreed to the crediting of a practice after its recorded lifespan as long as the proper level of re-verification occurs, confirming the practice is still present and functioning. The objective of this framework element is to ensure that all six states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed have full access to all federally cost-shared conservation practice data in order to: give them a greater capacity for analysis and understanding of agricultural conservation practice implementation across the landscape; to support the adaptive management and targeting of conservation programs; fully credit producers for their implemented conservation practices; to eliminate any double counting; and promote success in attaining water-quality goals.
To accomplish this goal, the partnership recommends that states establish a U. A of USDA conservation practices were identified described as having substantial limitation in the amount of data available for translating between USDA conservation practice codes and Bay Program-approved practice definitions.
For practices installed outside of a regulatory program and without the assistance of a federal or state cost-shared program, there is no permit or contractual vehicle to ensure adherence to specific practice standards, specific planning requirements, and project performance. There is no established mechanism for requiring reporting or monitoring through time or for ensuring public access to the practice data. These are the challenges facing the Bay Program partners and their shared desire to ensure the accurate and transparent ing for and crediting of all nutrient and sediment pollutant load reducing practices which are in place and operating correctly.
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There are many situations where a jurisdiction tracks an implemented conservation practice and the USDA also tracks the identical practice. Typically, both the state and the USDA are tracking the same practice, because they both provided financial assistance to the farmer for the practice implementation. In these cases, there must be a clear protocol in place to choose which data to report in order to avoid double counting. Inthe six watershed states employed various techniques to address this issue.
The solutions are documented in the Hively et al. Bay Program partners have agreed to a suite of ongoing evaluation and oversight procedures and processes to ensure the five BMP verification principles adopted by partners are adhered to and effectively carried out.
When properly installed and functioning, these conservation and technological practices reduce the amounts of nutrients and sediment entering local waters and the tidal Chesapeake Bay. In addition, these practices can help reduce local flooding, protect sources of drinking water, ensure against the collapse of stream banks and support local economies through the return of clean water and viable habitats suitable for recreational activities. Conversely, improperly installed or functioning BMPs do little to mitigate the effects that nutrient and sediment runoff can have on local waterways.
In order to do so accurately into the future, it will be critical for the partnership to verify that BMPs across the region are being implemented correctly and are, in fact, effectively reducing nutrient and sediment pollution as expected.
This stage is focused on the systematic collection of data that will be used to ensure that the BMPs are working as expected, while also allowing the partnership to adapt approaches to the future installation and maintenance of the practices, and to help further refine their pollutant reduction efficiencies.
Initial priorities were set in the October water quality GIT meeting. These priorities have been updated and refined by recommendations from subsequent workshops and CBP meetings.
The MPA master schedule lists these priorities in a table format. Additional documents on the web are specific work plans to accomplish these tasks. Out of necessity, phase 6 development is occurring along multiple parallel paths.
These must eventually meet in a draft phase 6 watershed model and scenario builder that will be ready for full partnership review beginning January 1 These parallel paths encompass all of the CBP priorities. This document summarizes the priorities and identifies lead researchers for each effort.
The descriptions here are brief with links to more detailed workplans.
Protection and restoration efforts within the Chesapeake Bay watershed are based on environmental data—measurements of pollutants, water quality, land use, algae, fish, crabs and submerged aquatic vegetation. Scientists, researchers and policy makers must be able to trust the accuracy of the data they use for evaluating and managing these natural resources.
To ensure this accuracy, the Chesapeake Bay Program maintains a Quality Assurance Program in which data from over 40 agencies and research institutions are determined to be scientifically valid and comparable among researchers working in all parts of the watershed. Organizations funded by the U. EPA that generate, compile or use existing environmental data are required to establish and implement a quality system. Typically, grantees and cooperators describe their own quality systems in two formal documents, a Quality Management Plan and a Quality Assurance Project Plan.
These plans must be approved by EPA prior to the start of monitoring or data analysis activities. Scientists follow proven methods and quality control procedures to collect and report environmental data.
Sampling and analytical methods for water quality are selected collaboratively through the Data Integrity Workgroup. These plans are then approved and made available through their associated web :. Water quality data are systematically checked at each stage of production using quality control samples.
In addition, quality assurance staff conduct on-site audits and monitor performance on inter-laboratory split samples, reference samples and blind audit samples. When submitted, data must pass over automated checks prior to being accepted into the Chesapeake Environmental Data Repository.
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QA responsibilities are divided among the following staff:. The request for pre-proposals is currently closed. Sincethe U. Download an overview of project specific information for the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction project grants funded from through October During the collection and testing of water quality samples, scientists continually check for errors through the use of internal quality control samples such as standards, blanks, duplicates and spikes.
The Chesapeake Bay Program also requires the analysis of split samples, blind audit samples and USGS reference samples to permit an independent evaluation of laboratory proficiency. The Chesapeake Bay Coordinated Split Sample Program CSSP is an interlaboratory testing program that involves the distribution of identical surface water samples to participating state, federal and academic monitoring agencies.
The samples are processed according to standard protocols and the evaluated quarterly to ensure that the monitoring programs are producing comparable data. Comparable data are important to Chesapeake Bay scientists because data are often combined from a variety of sources and time periods to conduct Bay-wide assessments and modeling applications.
The CSSP is comprised of a mainstem component and a tributary component to represent saline and fresh water matrices. Agencies and their laboratories participate in one or both components according to their routine sample type. The of each split sample study are reviewed by Bay Program quality assurance staff and discussed at Data Integrity Workgroup meetings.
When are inconsistent among agencies, the workgroup investigates possible causes and recommends corrective actions. The Chesapeake Bay Program Blind Audit Program provides laboratory proficiency testing samples for dissolved and particulate nutrients and chlorophyll at the relatively low concentrations commonly found in estuarine systems.
Prepared concentrates of dissolved and particulate substances, whose concentrations are unknown to the analysts, are distributed twice a year to approximately 14 regional laboratories. The provide a measure of laboratory accuracy as the samples are fully prepared prior to distribution and the errors associated with field filtering and subsampling are minimized. Blind audit can be donloaded on the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's website.
are submitted online through the SRS project website.