That’s right folks - it is here. The Iast phase in the creation of the states’ watershed implementation plans (WIPs) is almost over. For some, this has been a long and arduous process and for others, they have already clicked out of this post. However, the reality is, what is included in these draft WIPs, that are scheduled to be finalized this year, will have a major impact on not just our water, but on what we as a community focus on in the years to come.
For those who need a little more background, the basic history is that there were three phases of WIP development that started in 2010 with the creation of the TMDL for the bay. Each round of development of these plans required the Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, West Virginia and the District of Columbia) to come up with their plan for how they would reach their water quality goals. For the past 10 years, the Coalition has watched the development of these plans and given feedback and submitted formal comments when and where appropriate.
This final round, Phase III, is the final plan that the states are putting forward as their road map to success and serves as one of the last opportunities for us to formally comment on the plans before they come into effect in August 2019. The Coalition, our State and Outreach Leads, and other member organizations across the watershed, worked for weeks to produce a region-wide and six state-specific comment letters on the Draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans. The region-wide letter touched on common barriers to success, such as climate change and project verification, while the state-specific letters addressed the issues that are unique to each jurisdiction.
Even if you and/or your organization have not been involved in this work in the past, I encourage you to review the plans and letters below. The recommendations outlined in these plans will have a major impact on some of the priorities of our work here in the watershed, especially when it comes to state and local policy.
If you have any questions about this or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to reach out, firstname.lastname@example.org.