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Comment on Draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Plan
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 04/19/2019

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) invites comments from residents, communities, farmers, and local government leaders on a draft plan to improve water quality in streams and rivers by removing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution in the Susquehanna and Potomac watersheds.

The draft Pennsylvania Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (Phase 3 WIP) was developed with input from local government leaders, agricultural operators, community organizations, county residents, university researchers, federal agency partners, expert volunteers, and a steering committee led by DEP, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The Phase 3 WIP is part of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandated reductions of nitrogen and phosphorous in local streams and rivers in Pennsylvania's 43 counties in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by 2025.

"Pennsylvania is fortunate to have many state and local partners committed to improving the health of local streams and rivers and bringing their communities the benefits of better water quality," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "County level planning will be critical to this effort, and several counties are leading the way in identifying on-the-ground projects to reduce water pollution. DEP, DCNR, and the Department of Agriculture will continue to work with county and municipal governments as well as our agricultural community to identify and implement projects that prevent and reduce pollution in local streams and rivers."

The plan recommends actions for the agriculture, forestry, stormwater, and wastewater sectors and state government initiatives, such as legislative actions to ensure stable funding for water quality projects and privacy protection for farmers who put projects in place.

Recommendations include ways to maximize federal, state, and local funding sources and to distribute funds more flexibly and efficiently.

Comments on the Phase 3 WIP can be submitted at www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment/ or via email to ecomment@pa.gov. The comment period ends on June 7, and the final version of the Phase 3 WIP will be submitted to Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership on Aug. 9.

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