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Restoring and Protecting Chesapeake Bay and River Water Quality June 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Restoring and Protecting Chesapeake Bay and River Water Quality June 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Restoring and Protecting Chesapeake Bay and River Water Quality June 2005

2 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 2 The Chesapeake Bay is North Americas largest and most biologically diverse estuary, home to more than 3,600 species of plants, fish and animals.

3 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 3 For more than 300 years, the Bay and its tributaries have sustained the regions economy and defined its traditions and culture.

4 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 4 It is a resource of extraordinary productivity, worthy of the highest levels of protection and restoration.

5 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 5 Whats the Problem with Bay and River Water Quality? Because things on land are easily washed into streams and rivers, our actions on land ultimately affect the Bay. Section 1: Whats the Problem

6 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 6 Most scientists believe that nutrients and sediment are the root of most water quality problems in the Bay. The amount of nutrients that would naturally enter the Bay would be okay, but the amount going into the Bay now has been amplified by people. When we use fertilizers, dispose of sewage, drive cars, and generate electricity, we harm the Bay. Section 1: Whats the Problem

7 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 7 Water Quality Problems Algae blooms and sediment cloud the water and block sunlight, causing underwater bay grasses to die. When the algae die and decompose, they use up oxygen needed by other plants and animals living in the Bay's waters. Algae blooms and depleted oxygen levels are caused by nutrient pollution. Poor water clarity is caused by algae blooms and sediment pollution. Section 1: Whats the Problem

8 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 8 Sources of Nutrient Pollution to the Bay Stormwater and groundwater carry nutrients into rivers and the Bay from a variety of nonpoint sources, such as farms, lawns, gardens, golf courses and septic tanks. Scientists believe that agricultural sources contribute the largest portion of the nutrient pollution entering the Bay. Point sources, such as wastewater treatment plants, are the second largest contributors of nutrient pollution to the rivers and the Bay. Section 1: Whats the Problem

9 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 9 A significant amount of nitrogen pollution is created when we generate electricity and drive cars. Generating electric power by burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, releases nitrogen, in the form of nitrogen oxide gas, into the air. Nitrogen oxide gases from automobile exhaust are another source of nitrogen pollution. When it rains, this nitrogen is washed out of the air and off of the land, eventually making its way into rivers and the Bay. Section 1: Whats the Problem

10 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 10 What Do We Want to Achieve? Achieve and maintain the water quality necessary to support the aquatic living resources of the Bay and its tributaries and to protect human health. Section 2: What Do We Want to Achieve

11 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 11 Chesapeake 2000: The New Agreement Section 2: What Do We Want to Achieve Improving water quality is the most critical element in the overall protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. In June 2000, the Chesapeake Bay Program partners signed a new agreement to guide the restoration and protection of the Bay through the next decade and beyond. In Chesapeake 2000, the partners agreed that:

12 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 12 Bay and River Water Quality Commitment By 2010, correct the nutrient and sediment related problems in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries sufficiently to remove the Bay and the tidal portions of its tributaries from the list of impaired waters under the Clean Water Act. Section 2: What Do We Want to Achieve In order to achieve and maintain the water quality necessary to support aquatic living resources, one of the commitments the partners made is to:

13 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 13 The pollutants causing water quality impairments drain into to the Bay and its rivers from the entire watershed. Maryland Delaware New York District of Columbia Virginia West Virginia Pennsylvania Watershed-wide Pollution Reductions Needed Chesapeake Bay Watershed Boundary Section 2: What Do We Want to Achieve

14 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 14 How Might the Bay and its Tidal Rivers Look with Restored Water Quality? Section 3: How Might the Bay Look? The Honorable Bernie Fowler wades into the Patuxent River every year to test water clarity. One year he hopes to wade out up to his shoulders and still see his white sneakers.

15 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 15 Restored Water Quality Means: Fewer algae blooms and better fish food. Clearer water and more underwater Bay grasses. More oxygen and improved habitat for more fish, crabs and oysters. Section 3: How Might the Bay Look?

16 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 16 Healthy vs. Unhealthy Water Quality Section 3: How Might the Bay Look? Sunlight Healthy Habitat Unhealthy Habitat Balanced Algae Growth Minimal Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sediment Inputs Excessive Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sediment Inputs Healthy Bay Grasses Reduced Bay Grasses Algae Die-off Algae Decomposition No Oxygen Lack of Benthic Community Benthic Community Healthy Oyster Reef Adequate Oxygen Algal Bloom Barren Oyster Reef

17 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 17 How Far Have We Come? Section 4: How Far Have We Come? The Bay and its rivers are doing better but we have a long way to go.

18 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 18 Bay Grasses Show Annual Variation Underwater bay grasses are slowly improving, but further reductions in the pollutants flowing into the Bay are needed to help them flourish. Annual variations in bay grasses show the sensitivity of the Bay ecosystem. Restoration Goal (185,000 acres by 2010) *Note – Hatched area of bar includes estimated additional acreage. No Baywide surveys and 1988 Source: Chesapeake Bay Program. Section 4: How Far Have We Come?

19 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 19 Many Water Habitats Still Lack Sufficient Oxygen Excessive nutrients can stimulate algae blooms resulting in reduced oxygen levels in the water. Stressful dissolved oxygen conditions occur during summer months throughout much of the deeper waters of the mainstem Bay and up into the Patapsco, Chester, Patuxent, Potomac, Rappahannock, and York Rivers, and Eastern Bay. Section 4: How Far Have We Come?

20 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 20 How Do We Define Restored Water Quality? Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality? Map out the designated uses (habitat zones) for the Bays different living resource communities. Determine the water quality conditions or criteria necessary to protect those uses.

21 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 21 Designated Uses of Bay and Tidal River Waters The needs of the Bays living resources dictate what the uses (habitat zones) should be: Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality? Migratory Fish Spawning and Nursery Use Shallow-Water Bay Grass Use Open-Water Fish and Shellfish Use Deep-Water Seasonal Fish and Shellfish Use Deep-Channel Seasonal Refuge Use

22 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 22 A. Cross Section of Chesapeake Bay or Tidal Tributary B. Oblique View of the Chesapeake Bay and its Tidal Tributaries Shallow-Water Bay Grass Use Open-Water Fish and Shellfish Use Deep-Water Seasonal Fish and Shellfish Use Deep-Channel Seasonal Refuge Use Open-Water Habitat Migratory Fish Spawning and Nursery Use Refined Designated Uses for Chesapeake Bay and Tidal Tributary Waters Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality? Shallow-Water Bay Grass Use Deep-Water Seasonal Fish and Shellfish Use Deep-Channel Seasonal Refuge Use

23 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 23 General Description of Designated Use: Aims to protect migratory and resident tidal freshwater fish during the spawning and nursery season in tidal freshwater to low-salinity habitats. Critical time period is late winter to late spring (February through May). Migratory Fish Spawning and Nursery Use Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

24 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 24 Migratory Fish Spawning and Nursery Use Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality? The upper reaches of tidal waters and the upper mainstem used as spawning and nursery grounds by striped bass, shad, perch and other fish. Spawning and Nursery Habitat

25 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 25 Shallow-Water Bay Grass Use General Description of Designated Use: Designed to protect underwater bay grasses and the many fish and crab species that depend on the vegetated habitat provided by grass beds. Critical timeframe is the bay grass growing season. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

26 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 26 Shallow-Water Bay Grass Use Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality? Tidal waters up to two meters in depth where underwater bay grasses have been historically observed. Shallow Water Habitat Two Meter Bathymetry Contour

27 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 27 Open-Water Fish and Shellfish Use General Description of Designated Use: Designed to improve water quality in the surface water habitats within tidal creeks, rivers, embayments and the mainstem Bay. Aims to protect diverse populations of sportfish including striped bass, bluefish, mackerel and sea trout as well as important bait fish such as menhaden and silversides. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

28 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 28 Open-Water Fish and Shellfish Use All surface tidal waters extending to the bottom, or to the top of the pycnocline* in areas where it exists and presents a barrier to re- oxygenation of deeper waters. Open Water Habitat Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

29 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 29 Deep-Water Seasonal Fish and Shellfish Use General Description of Designated Use: Aims to protect living resources inhabiting the deeper transitional water column and bottom habitats between the well-mixed surface waters and the very deep channels. Protects many bottom-feeding fish, crabs and oysters, as well as other important species, including the bay anchovy. Critical timeframe is June through September. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

30 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 30 Deep-Water Seasonal Fish and Shellfish Use Tidal waters within the pycnocline* where it presents a barrier to re- oxygenation of deeper waters. * Pycnocline marks a density change in the water column due to a transition from the warm, fresher water layer on the surface to the relatively cold, saltier water at the Bays bottom. Deep Water Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

31 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 31 Deep-Channel Seasonal Refuge Use General Description of Designated Use: Designed to protect bottom sediment dwelling worms and small clams that act as food for bottom-feeding fish and crabs in the deep channel habitats. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

32 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 32 Deep-Channel Seasonal Refuge Use Very deep water and adjacent bottom sediment located in the channels below the pycnocline at the lower reaches of major tidal rivers and along the spine of the upper and middle mainstem Bay. Deep Channel Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

33 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 33 Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Criteria Water Clarity – light for underwater Bay grasses Chlorophyll a – base of the Bay food chain Dissolved Oxygen – for fish, crabs and oysters Together, these three criteria define the conditions necessary to protect the wide variety of the Bays living resources and their habitats. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

34 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 34 Water Clarity All plants--even those underwater--need light! Water clarity is a measure of the amount of sunlight that penetrates the Bays waters and reaches the surface of underwater Bay grass leaves. The amount needed is determined by the specific underwater grasses which grow in different areas of the Bay. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

35 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 35 Whats Blocking the Light? Good Water Clarity Poor Water Clarity Algae in the water Sediment and other particles in the water Algae on the leaves Percent of sunlight at the water surface that penetrates the water: 13% in low salinity waters 22% in high salinity waters + + equals Very low percentage of sunlight reaching leaves – Bay grasses grow poorly or die. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

36 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 36 Chlorophyll a Chlorophyll a is a measure of the amount of algae in the water. Some algae are good sources of fish food and others are poor sources. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality? Excessive nutrients can stimulate nuisance algae blooms resulting in reduced water clarity, reduced amounts of good fish food, and depleted oxygen levels in deeper waters.

37 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 37 Dissolved Oxygen Living things--even those underwater--need oxygen! The amount of oxygen needed in the water depends on the specific needs of the Bays living resources. The amounts depend on where and when certain areas are used by different living resources. Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

38 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 38 Oxygen Requirements (mg/L) of Bay Species Hard Clams: 5 Striped Bass: 5-6 Worms: 1 Migratory Fish Spawning & Nursery Areas Shallow and Open Water Areas Deep Water Deep Channel Crabs: 3 Spot: 2 White Perch: 5 American Shad: 5 Yellow Perch: 5 Alewife: 3.6 Bay Anchovy: 3 Section 5: How Do We Define Restored Water Quality?

39 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 39 What needs to be done? Now that restored water quality has been defined, what actions will need to be taken to remove the Bay and its rivers from the impaired waters list by 2010? Section 6: What Needs to Be Done?

40 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 40 Reduce Nutrient Pollution Loads Section 6: What Needs to Be Done? In order to achieve the water quality conditions necessary to protect aquatic living resources, certain amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus reductions need to occur. As we reduce nutrient loads... …we improve water quality conditions.

41 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 41 Reduce Sediment Pollution Loads Section 6: What Needs to Be Done? In order to achieve the water quality conditions necessary to protect aquatic living resources, certain amounts of sediment reductions need to occur. As we reduce sediment loads... …we increase underwater bay grasses.

42 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 42 Nutrient and Sediment Load Reduction Goals The 2010 pollutant reduction goals are: Nitrogen - Reduce annual loads to no more than 175 million pounds. Phosphorus - Reduce annual loads to no more than 12.8 million pounds. Land-based Sediment - Reduce annual loads to no more than 4.15 million tons. Source: CBP Phase 4.3 Watershed Model. Estimates of nutrient and land-based sediment reductions that may occur when the reported management practices and reduction technologies are implemented within watershed portions of NY, PA, MD, DC, DE, WV, VA. The model's nonpoint source load reductions are estimates of what would occur under long-term avergaed rainfall conditions based on the years The point source load reductions are actual measurements and are influenced by the reporting years rainfall Nitrogen Goal 2010 Phosphorus Goal 2010 Sediment Goal Section 6: What Needs to Be Done?

43 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 43 Who is involved? What is the timeline? Section 7: Who? When? We are all a part of the problem – All of us need to become part of the solution.

44 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 44 Timeline for Removing Impairments to Bay and River Water Quality Section 7: Who? When? 2010 – The Chesapeake 2000 agreement calls for Bay Program partners to have corrected the nutrient and sediment-related problems in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries sufficiently to remove the Bay and the tidal portions of its tributaries from the list of impaired waters under the Clean Water Act – Bay Program partners will begin development of TMDLs for any areas of the Bay that may still be listed for impairments due to nutrient and sediment related problems.

45 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 45 Whos involved? Bay Program partners in this effort include the signatories to the Chesapeake Bay agreement -- EPA (representing the Federal government), the jurisdictions of MD, PA, VA and DC, and the Chesapeake Bay Commission (representing MD, PA and VA state legislatures). The partnership for this effort was expanded through a Memorandum of Understanding to include the jurisdictions of DE, NY and WV. Section 7: Who? When? Delaware Maryland Virginia District of Columbia Pennsylvania EPACBC New YorkWest Virginia

46 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 46 Who Needs to be Involved? Participate in restoration and protection efforts. Hold Bay Program partners accountable! Section 7: Who? When? We are all a part of the problem – All of us need to become part of the solution. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER Local governments and citizens and… YOU need to become informed and get involved:

47 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 47 Key Opportunities for Citizen Involvement Section 7: Who? When? – participate in the the state water quality standards development process – get involved with teams developing tributary strategies From now until 2010 – stay informed and involved and… hold Bay Program partners accountable!

48 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 48 Water Quality Improvements Alone Will Not Restore the Bay Section 8: Restoring the Complete Ecosystem If we do not manage fisheries, no matter how clean the water becomes, we still may not have sustainable populations.

49 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 49 Water Quality Improvements and Fisheries Management Are Still Not Enough Section 8: Restoring the Complete Ecosystem We need to protect and restore all habitats, not just water habitats.

50 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 50 Water Quality Improvements, Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection and Restoration Are Still Not Enough Section 8: Restoring the Complete Ecosystem We need to manage the way we use the land in watersheds.

51 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 51 Water Quality Improvements, Fisheries Management, Habitat Protection and Restoration, and Sound Land Use are Still Not Enough Section 8: Restoring the Complete Ecosystem We need to engage everyone to become better stewards of the watershed.

52 CBP 6/16/05 CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM 52 Only By Integrating ALL Components of Chesapeake 2000 Can We Expect to Restore the Bay Section 8: Restoring the Complete Ecosystem The agreement reflects the Bays complexity in that each action taken, like the elements of the Bay itself, is connected to all the others.


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