Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) is a 3-phased planning process to achieve nutrient and sediment clean-up goals for the Chesapeake Bay. This initiative is important because it creates the road map and accountability framework that steer us toward clean local streams and a healthy Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed states are required to have practices in place by 2025 that are anticipated to achieve the necessary nutrient reductions.

During 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set limits on the amount of nutrients and sediments that can enter the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to setting these limits, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), EPA required the Bay states to develop statewide "Phase I" WIPs. The Phase I WIP allocates the allowable load among different sources and identifies statewide strategies for reducing nutrients and sediments that impair the Chesapeake Bay." (Source: "Development Support for the Chesapeake Bay Phase II WIP," Maryland Department of the Environment website, August 12, 2013)

The Phase II WIP provided more detail regarding how the State would achieve its nutrient reduction goals. This effort included incorporating information and activities from local jurisdictions that would contribute to the reduction effort. Actions included in the Phase I WIP were also implemented, including additional requirements in each jurisdiction’s stormwater permits to implement practices to achieve a certain level of restoration.

In 2017, a MidPoint Assessment (partway between 2010 and 2025) was conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Program. The Bay model was updated and local data added to attempt to better simulate on-the-ground results from the model. This process resulted in a change to the nutrient reduction amount needed to have practices in place by 2025 to achieve the Bay TMDLs.

The Phase III WIP, released August 23, 2019, identifies the gap in what has been achieved and what still needs to be achieved by 2025. The State of Maryland identified additional measures needed, how they may be implemented, and by whom to develop the Phase III WIP.

For more information on Maryland's WIP, visit one of the following Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) websites:

For more information on the federal and state partnership to restore the Bay, visit the Chesapeake Bay Program's website HERE.