Monday, October 15, 2018

Seed Grant Funding Available For Energy, Environmental Research At Penn State

Penn State's Institutes of Energy and the Environment announced the availability of seed grant funds focused on energy and the environment. Deadline to apply is November 7.
The strategic research themes of focus are (alphabetically)-- Climate and Ecosystem Change; Future Energy Supply; Health and the Environment; Smart Energy Systems; and Water and Biogeochemical Cycles.
This year the seed grant program will support each of these themes as they do each year.
In addition, this year they are interested in supporting three crosscutting topics: Food-Energy-Water Systems, High-Performance Building Systems, and Energy and Environmental Resilience.
IEE established a Seed Grant Program in 2013 to foster basic and applied research focused on these strategic research themes. Over the previous rounds, IEE has awarded over $2 million to 96 interdisciplinary projects with investigators from fifteen Penn State colleges and campuses.
For 2018-19, at least $500,000 of funding is available. To encourage establishment of new collaborations and enhancement of networks, larger grants will require innovative partnerships of investigators from multiple colleges and/or campus locations.
Funds up to $5,000 can be awarded for a single investigator project; up to $10,000 for two or more faculty from the same college (University Park) or Commonwealth Campus; and up to $50,000 for multi-college (across University Park) and multi campus (between campuses) collaborative grants.
Learn more about how researchers can submit proposals that demonstrate interdisciplinary innovations in all five of IEE’s research themes at the Seed Grant Program 2018 webpage.

Nominations Now Being Accepted For 2019 River Of The Year

The PA Organization For Watersheds and Rivers and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are now accepting nominations from nonprofit organizations across the state for the 2019 Pennsylvania River of the Year.  The deadline for nominations is November 9.
“Just like the preceding Rivers of the Year, the Loyalsock Creek now has it swirling around it in 2018 ‐‐ a pronounced pride in a waterway that comes to the forefront with the annual support of this selection process,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “As I have seen year after year, all nominated waterways emerge true winners when the public rallies around them.”
“We are excited to once again announce the opening of the nomination period for the 2019 River of the Year program. The River of the Year designation raises the awareness of the importance of the Commonwealth’s waterways”, said PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers Director Janet Sweeney. “The River of the Year program engages a broader audience in the appreciation of our rivers and streams, as well as, gives all Pennsylvanians a chance to support their favorite waterway in friendly competition with others across the Commonwealth.”
All Pennsylvania waterways are eligible for nomination, except for the River Of The Year winners since 2014.  Selected nominations will then be voted on by the public beginning in early November.
Pennsylvania’s River of the Year is an honor designed to elevate public awareness of specific rivers and recognize important conservation needs and achievements. River of the Year designations have been presented annually since 1983.
After a waterway is chosen, local groups implement a year‐round slate of activities and events to celebrate the river, including a River of the Year Sojourn. The nominating organization of the winning river will receive a $10,000 leadership grant to help fund their River of the Year activities.
Pennsylvania’s 2018 River of the Year is the Loyalsock Creek.  Click Here for a list of previous winners beginning in 1983.
For more information about the program, visit the 2019 Pennsylvania River of the Year website.
Visit the PA Organization For Watersheds and Rivers website for more information on this and other river and watershed-related programs.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook.  Visit PEC’s Audio Room for the latest podcasts.  Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.
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Deadline Extended: Call For Abstracts For Nov. 29 Academy Of Natural Sciences Delaware Watershed Research Conference; Registration Open

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University  has extended the deadline for accepting abstracts for presentations for the second annual Delaware Watershed Research Conference to October 31.
Registration is also open for the Conference will be held on November 29 in Philadelphia.
The Conference will feature oral presentations by researchers whose work relates to conditions in the Delaware River Watershed, and will include updates and results from researchers funded under the Delaware Watershed Research Fund.
Any researcher working on topics involving the Delaware River Basin is invited to submit abstracts for presentations or posters describing their work. This Conference can be an opportunity to get feedback on work in progress, and to present recent scientific investigations and management experiences.
Final themes and panel discussions will be determined from submitted abstracts. Last year’s themes were: Management successes and considerations; Forests, headwaters and predictive modeling; Social influence and implications; Biotic Communities, Wastewater, Microbial Communities, with implications for management and public health; Floodplains, Forests and Stormwater.
The Conference provides significant opportunities for networking, sharing ideas, and identifying collaborators, as well as a chance to learn about cutting edge work being done to better understand and manage the Delaware River Watershed.
The agenda will include presentations, keynote addresses and panel discussions.
Click Here for instructions on how to submit an abstract.  Click Here to register for the Conference.
For more information on Delaware River research, visit the Academy of Natural Sciences’ Delaware River Watershed Initiative webpage.

Gov. Wolf Criticizes FEMA Denial Of Western PA Disaster Declaration Request Appeal

Gov. Tom Wolf Monday issued the following statement in response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s denial of the July 2018 appeal for a major disaster declaration for damages from western Pennsylvania’s February through April severe weather that included flooding and landslides:
“The federal government chose to ignore geological experts’ information regarding the cumulative damage from multiple western Pennsylvania storms and resultant landslides,” Gov. Wolf said. “The Commonwealth provided extensive information on the likelihood that the damage from these storms and landslides was related; it appears FEMA chose to ignore that evidence and has denied the appeal submitted.
“This string of severe storms and series of landslides across much of western Pennsylvania stretched our Commonwealth resources well beyond their limits, causing stress on local budgets, too. I vowed to appeal after the initial request denial, which we did, only to be faced with a second denial.
“Federal assistance exists to help after state and local resources are overextended and that was most definitely the case for this continuous stretch of unprecedented weather and geologic events that devastated much of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties in winter and early spring and early summer.
“FEMA chose to look at this string of severe landslides as separate incidents. And therefore, none of the landslides individually would meet the threshold for a declaration. FEMA ignored the fact, however, that these landslides were relentless. Damage and costs escalated with each subsequent storm. Geological experts agreed the landslides were connected as ‘a historic and unprecedented singular geological event’.”
The total costs associated with the request, which was sent in late June, was $22 million.
A major disaster declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides federal funding to local, county and state governments, as well as certain eligible non-profits in those counties through the Public Assistance program.
Applicants can be reimbursed up to 75 percent of the costs incurred on eligible expenses, which can include but are not limited to: payroll, contracts, repairs to damaged or destroyed infrastructure, equipment rentals and materials.
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Golden Opportunity To See A Golden Eagle, North America's Largest Bird Of Prey, Nov. 3 At Hawk Mountain

On November 3, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary visitors will have a guaranteed opportunity to see North America's largest predatory bird, the golden eagle, up close. The one-day-only eagle programs will be presented by Carbon County Environmental Education Center at Noon and 2:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary's Outdoor Amphitheater in Berks County.
The program is free for Members or with purchased trail pass.
Golden Eagle Day coincides with the peak of golden eagle migration at Hawk Mountain. The golden eagle is rare to see throughout the northeast, but during the autumn, an average of 127 are spotted at the Sanctuary.
Early November is also the best time to catch both a golden and bald eagle migrating past the Mountain in the same day.
"Golden and bald eagles may fly close to the lookouts, particularly on windy days," says Dr. Laurie Goodrich, Director of Long-term Monitoring at Hawk Mountain. "Migration in November is the best time to see the species as they pass over the colorful ridge."
Visitors in early November can also expect large numbers of red-tailed hawks, the Sanctuary's third-most numerous migrant, and there is the possibility of sighting the rarer northern goshawk.
The official Hawk Mountain raptor count will continue until December 15, and weekend programs are held until November 4.
The air finally feels like fall, and hopefully the persistent rain will give the Mountain a break as the season moves forward. It is the perfect time to plan a visit to Hawk Mountain for a hike, program, and day of bird-watching.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary website or call 610-756-6961.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Sanctuary, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, visit them on Flickr, be part of their Google+ Circle and visit their YouTube Channel.  Click Here to support Hawk Mountain.

Delaware Highlands Conservancy Eagle Day, Nov. 17; Eagle Watch Volunteer Training Dec. 1; Eagle Watch Bus Tours

Hundreds of bald eagles migrate through the Upper Delaware River every year as lakes and rivers freeze over up north.
The Delaware Highlands Conservancy is again organizing a series of events around bald eagles that individuals of all ages will enjoy.  The events include--
-- November 17: Eagle Day: Join the Conservancy and other local environmental organizations for Eagle Day, a free afternoon of fun for the whole family at the Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center in Hawley, PA. Enjoy a “Live Birds of Prey” presentation with Bill Streeter of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center and hands-on activities for all ages to learn about eagles.  Click Here for more.
-- December 1: Eagle Watch Volunteer Training Day: Join the Conservancy for an overview of its volunteer Eagle Watch program followed by visits to actual monitoring sites. The winter Eagle Watch program runs through January and February, weekends only. Volunteers cover morning or afternoon shifts. Click Here for more.
-- Eagle Watch Bus Tours: Learn about eagles in the Upper Delaware region, how they returned from the brink of extinction, and the habitat they need to thrive while you take a scenic drive with an expert guide on a heated bus and look for eagles.  The bus tours will be held--
-- January 12: 10:00 to 1:00, Click Here for more
-- January 26: Noon to 1:00. Click Here for more
-- February 2: 10:00 to 1:00. Click Here for more
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Delaware Highlands Conservancy website or call 570-226-3164 or 845-583-1010.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter. Learn about the Green Lodging Partnership initiative.  Click Here to support their work.

Bay Journal: Part 1 - Chesapeake Bay Cleanup May Lose Race To 2025 Goal, But Presses On

By Karl Blankenship, Chesapeake Bay Journal

This article is the first in Chesapeake Bay Journal 4-part special report, The Bay's Pollution Diet: Is it Working?

As the Chesapeake Bay region enters what was supposed to be the final stretch of a decades-long effort to clean up the nation’s largest estuary, it — once again — faces a cleanup goal it appears likely to be missed.
Progress has been made — and Bay water quality has improved — but the region is significantly off track to meet its 2025 cleanup goals. In fact, updated pollution control targets approved by the state-federal Bay Program in July show that the shortfall is greater than previously thought.
That wasn’t supposed to happen after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted a new, more regulatory cleanup plan eight years ago.
Not only did the new “pollution diet” include oversight provisions that were supposed to keep cleanup efforts on track, work was supposed to be front-loaded so that 60 percent of the needed actions would be implemented by the end of 2017 and put the region on a glide path to meet the 2025 goal.
While the region did meet goals for two targeted pollutants, phosphorus and sediment, it achieved only 30 percent of the goal for nitrogen, which has long been the most difficult to control and is the most harmful pollutant in much of the Bay.
More worrisome is that the new cleanup program doesn’t seem to have accelerated the rate of nitrogen reduction. Since 2010, the amount of nitrogen reaching the Bay has decreased at an average annual rate of 2.6 million pounds — or less than 1 percent per year — according to figures from computer models used by the state-federal Bay Program.
That’s essentially the same pace as the previous 25 years — and a rate at which it would take another quarter century to meet the Bay’s clean water goals.
“It didn’t create this monumental acceleration in implementation that we would have liked to have seen,” said Beth McGee, senior water quality scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, though she added that progress would likely have been even less without the new cleanup plan.
The vast majority of nitrogen reductions have come from sources that are the easiest to control: wastewater treatment plants. Those plants have nearly all been upgraded, though, so most of the remaining nutrient reductions will have to come from the agricultural and stormwater sectors, where getting significant reductions has been difficult.
“In the next couple of years, progress is really going to start to slip unless there are some big changes in funding levels and improvements in programs,” said Jeff Corbin, the EPA’s former “Bay czar” who is now with an environmental restoration firm. “It gets harder and harder every day that we get closer to 2025.”
Some, including Corbin, even worry that the 35-year-old state-federal Bay Program partnership could disintegrate into lawsuits that pit states against one another if progress continues to falter.
So as the region reaches what was supposed to be the halfway point to its ultimate cleanup goal, has the latest cleanup plan — the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load — worked?
A Historic Moment
In December 2010, the EPA called it a “historic moment” as it unveiled the Bay TMDL, which it had spent years crafting in collaboration with states in the watershed. Unlike earlier voluntary commitments that failed to meet goals, the “pollution diet,” as it became known, required states to write more detailed plans than ever before and to face potential consequences if they fell short.
Then-EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin called it “by far the most comprehensive and rigorous road map to restoration we’ve ever had. Not just in the Chesapeake Bay, but nationally.”
In fact, fearing the Bay TMDL would force more action by agricultural interests — and inspire similar plans elsewhere — the American Farm Bureau Federation immediately sued to block it, an effort that failed in federal court.
The TMDL is not unique to the Bay. It is a federal requirement for any waterbody that falls short of water quality standards and is aimed at making rivers, lakes, streams and coastal waters fishable and swimmable. A TMDL sets the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterway can receive and still meet those standards.
But the Bay TMDL was by far the largest — covering a 64,000-square-mile watershed — and the most complex ever written. It defined the maximum amount of water-fouling nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that the Chesapeake could handle while meeting measurable goals to improve water clarity and largely eliminate oxygen-starved summertime dead zones.
Those “maximum loads” were then allocated to states and major rivers. Mindful that past Bay cleanup efforts had missed earlier goals set for 2000 and 2010, the EPA required states to write detailed plans showing how their portion of the goals would be met.
The state plans also set reduction goals for different sources of pollution, called sectors, such as wastewater, developed lands and agriculture, to provide better accountability.
To keep efforts on track, the EPA also required states to set interim two-year cleanup goals, which are evaluated by the agency. Collectively, the states were charged with implementing 60 percent of the needed cleanup actions by the end of 2017, roughly halfway to the ultimate 2025 cleanup goal.
If states fell short, the agency could take a variety of actions, such as forcing even greater — and more costly — reductions from wastewater plants than states had planned; regulating smaller animal operations than normally covered by federal programs; withholding water grants; or other actions.
In theory, the threat of those consequences would spur states to create new programs, provide more funding or establish new regulations to rein in pollution. That was particularly important for agriculture, an area over which the EPA has limited regulatory oversight.
“This was markedly different from the majority of other TMDLs,” said Jon Capacasa, who is now retired but oversaw the development of the TMDL as the former head of EPA Region III’s water protection division. “We gave it a running chance at success by paying attention to detailed implementation strategies and the accountability framework that became part and parcel of the TMDL package.”
Uneven Progress
Questions remain about the ability of the TMDL to push the region to the finish line, though, as well as its effectiveness at getting needed pollution reductions from hard-to-control sources.
Since the pollution diet was adopted, Bay Program figures show that 87 percent of the nitrogen reductions have come from upgrading wastewater treatment plants, which are subject to strict regulatory oversight, although they are not the largest source of nitrogen pollution.
Chris Pomeroy, an attorney with the firm AquaLaw, which has represented wastewater treatment plants on Bay issues over the years, said it’s not surprising that entities with permits would bear the brunt of the cleanup effort early on.
“Generally speaking, it probably is working about the way you would expect,” he said. Pomeroy added that the long-term regulatory certainty provided for dischargers by the TMDL fended off any potential litigation by wastewater treatment plant operators against the cleanup plan.
In fact, wastewater treatment plant operators in Virginia and Maryland even joined the EPA in defense of the TMDL when it was unsuccessfully challenged by farming interests and homebuilders.
Wastewater plant operators, in their filings, said the cleanup plan provided a “holistic watershed approach” that was needed to prevent excessive reliance on dischargers that would be “inequitable and insufficient” to restore water quality.
But their support could change, Pomeroy said, if other sectors don’t do their share, and states seek another round of costly wastewater plant upgrades.
“I can assure you there would be no patience in the wastewater sector for any sort of, ‘What have you done for us lately’ approach,” Pomeroy said. “We are looking for a stable regulatory climate extending well into the future now that we have done our part.”
Taken as a whole, the wastewater sector has already reached its 2025 goal, and their discharges will further decline in the next few years as upgrades at a handful of additional plants come online. Their overachievement will help cover some of the shortfalls in other sectors. But that benefit will only be temporary as the population they serve increases.
Virginia, for instance, overachieved its 2017 goals largely because discharges from its wastewater treatment plants were nearly cut in half. But, cautioned James Davis-Martin, Chesapeake Bay program manager with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality,
“Those loads are going to start climbing back up with continued growth through 2025.”
Meanwhile, stormwater runoff in the state has increased, and the nitrogen load from agriculture has decreased only about 3.5 percent since the TMDL took effect. “This next period, even though we hit those 60 percent targets, is going to be very difficult for us,” Davis-Martin said.
Difficulties Ahead
Controlling nutrients from stormwater is a costly and evolving challenge, especially for older urban areas that were developed before stormwater controls became required in recent decades.
Under the TMDL, permits for stormwater systems — which historically had been more focused on managing water flows — are starting to include quantifiable nitrogen and phosphorus reduction goals. But meeting nutrient reduction goals — especially as the acreage of developed lands continues to increase — will be difficult.
Among the jurisdictions affected by the TMDL, only the District of Columbia, where a huge underground tunnel is now capturing and storing much of its stormwater, has seen a decrease in the amount of nitrogen runoff from developed lands.
Rich Batiuk, the recently retired associate director for science with the EPA Bay Program Office, said states are starting to make progress with stormwater, but “they are probably going to need another five to 10 years beyond 2025 to fully put their programs in place.”
Even that may not fully meet water quality goals for the stormwater sector. About 40 percent of developed lands in the Bay watershed lie outside areas covered by stormwater permits and their regulatory requirements. “That is something that states have no idea how to get their hands around,” Batiuk said.
Across the Bay watershed, agriculture remains the largest source of nutrients and is responsible for about 48 percent of the nitrogen reaching the Bay. Since the TMDL was established, many states have ramped up their oversight of agricultural programs and even provided additional funding.
At the same time, though, federal assistance for agricultural conservation practices has decreased after a Bay-specific funding program in the federal Farm Bill ended in 2014.
The net result is that nitrogen from agriculture has decreased 2.5 million pounds since 2009 — the baseline for measuring TMDL progress. That’s about a quarter of one percent per year. And that reduction was driven in large part by the loss of farmland across the region.
In parts of the watershed, farm operations have intensified in recent years. Crop production is increasing and, in some cases, low-intensity lands, such as pastures, were converted to crop lands.
Also, data collected by the Bay Program show that more fertilizer is going onto more fields than previously thought. In some areas, a growth in farm animal populations is generating more manure.
Put another way: In many areas of the watershed, nutrient control best management practices — or BMPs — have done little more than hold the line on active farmland since the TMDL was enacted. Existing programs would need to be greatly ramped up to achieve the needed goals of the pollution diet.
“It has not conquered the agricultural problem,” said Roy Hoagland, who was a vice president at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation when the TMDL was being written. “And I don’t think the TMDL alone ever could conquer the agricultural problem. I think we have an overall flaw in the Clean Water Act when it comes to agriculture.”
A Boost For Programs
Nonetheless, Hoagland and many others involved with the cleanup effort say that the TMDL has not failed, even as they acknowledge that it is unlikely to achieve its goal on schedule. Without it, they say, the Bay’s restoration would be even further off track.
Leaders and advocates for the cleanup effort said the TMDL deserves credit for prompting policy changes throughout the region that could produce improved results in coming years. Many states, for instance, have ramped up their support for farmers and launched new programs, such as a state-funded stream bank fencing initiative in Virginia.
Some have enacted new rules or regulations. Maryland, for instance, has taken action to prevent farm animals from entering streams and enacted new rules to limit phosphorus applications on farmland.
Recognizing that agricultural efforts need to be ramped up, the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council — a panel that includes state governors and the EPA administrator — in August pledged to increase the amount of technical support available to help farmers install nutrient control practices.
Under the TMDL, states for the first time are starting to incorporate nutrient reduction goals into stormwater permits. As a result, many local governments are starting to charge stormwater fees to help meet Bay goals. And many places are testing new “green infrastructure” techniques to treat urban runoff that they hope will become more widely adopted in coming years.
In Pennsylvania, which has the greatest shortfall in nutrient reductions, the General Assembly is debating legislation that could charge large water uses a fee that would be used to help fund the state’s faltering cleanup efforts.
“People are no longer debating the need for reducing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment,” Hoagland said. “One of the strongest things [the TMDL] has done is it has made water quality improvement in the Bay watershed, and the needs for these reductions, a routine consideration. It has helped drive conversations. It has helped drive changes.”
Now that the region has reached the midpoint to its 2025 goal, states are required to update their cleanup plans and describe how they intend to reach the remaining portion of their nutrient reduction obligations.
As part of that process, the EPA is requiring states to develop more localized subgoals and better incorporate local officials in the planning process to help drive further progress.
“We are poised to do the right things if we go to the local scale,” Batiuk said.
More Oversight Needed?
At the same time, there is growing pressure for the EPA to more aggressively use its oversight to accelerate progress than it has thus far.
Most point their fingers to Pennsylvania as the biggest laggard — measured in sheer pounds, it accounts for about half of the region’s shortfall in nitrogen reductions, and was the only state to miss goals for phosphorus and sediment.
Like the region as a whole, Pennsylania’s nitrogen reductions have come almost entirely from wastewater treatment plant upgrades. Runoff from developed lands and 33,000 farms in its portion of the Bay watershed have both increased since the TMDL was enacted.
Past reports lay out a host of woes facing the state. It lacks the staffing to oversee its programs or enforce regulations, faces an overall shortage of funding for conservation programs, and has done a poor job of managing the federal grants it received to help the state address its problems.
But there are other problems as well. New York has also shown little overall progress with nitrogen and is the one place where wastewater discharges are increasing. Nor did Delaware or Maryland meet nitrogen goals. Stormwater runoff is increasing everywhere except the District of Columbia.
When the TMDL was enacted, the EPA had insisted that it would use its oversight to keep states — and sectors — on track. It reiterated that pledge in a June letter to the states, saying it would take “appropriate federal actions … if there is a lack of adequate progress” toward meeting 2025 goals.
So far, the agency has been reluctant to impose the consequences it had originally outlined in 2009, although it twice temporarily withheld grant funding from Pennsylvania to force it to take certain steps.
“EPA has a role under the TMDL now to take backstop actions, and it is going to get harder and harder and harder to not take some sort of action unless some of the states that are lagging make progress, and some of the sectors that are lagging make progress,” said Corbin, the EPA’s former Bay czar.
If that doesn’t happen, he said, “my nightmare scenario is that states are going to end up challenging, legally or otherwise, the ones that aren’t making progress.”
Earlier this year, some Maryland lawmakers already engaged in saber-rattling about taking Pennsylvania to court for lack of adequate progress. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has been increasingly critical in his comments about his state’s northern neighbor.
Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles, who chairs a Bay Program committee of senior state and federal agency officials, cautioned that “adding courts and litigation into the mix can be a challenge” but added that “the patience grows thinner as 2025 gets nearer. So there is a sense of urgency.”
“There is a point where the EPA has to provide less discretion and more backstop authority and accountability and step in and impose different types of consequences,” he said. “We need a strong and fair EPA to hold each state accountable — and keep our feet to the fire.”
Slow, but steady, progress
Ultimately, the success of the TMDL may be determined by patience. Reaching the 2025 goals is unlikely and would require a level of implementation — and funding — significantly beyond what is occurring, or has ever occurred, in the stormwater and agricultural sectors.
Reaching those goals got even harder in recent months, when the Bay Program updated its computer models to incorporate new science and better data and found that there was even less progress in those sectors than previously thought.
Older models estimated that the region had achieved 36 percent of its nitrogen goal; the new models revised that down to 30 percent.
And those figures do not factor in the substantial reductions that will be needed to offset the impacts of climate change and the filling of the Conowingo Dam reservoir.
Climate change is projected to increase precipitation to the region and supercharge the impact of stormwater and agricultural runoff.
The Conowingo reservoir, now filled to capacity with a backlog of sediment, is sending more nutrients and sediments downstream instead of trapping them in the Susquehanna River. At recent rates of progress, it would take six years of work just to offset those factors.
That said, nitrogen pollution does continue to be on a downward trend — at least for the moment — despite increased development and a growing population. Phosphorus reductions are on track — though the Bay will never meet its water quality goals without dealing with nitrogen.
“Overall, the TMDL has done, and continues to do the job of driving progress forward,” Hoagland said. “It is a question of how fast it will move forward.”
“It’s easy for us to say we haven’t made our goals and we haven’t achieved the reductions that we committed to,” he added. “On the other hand, you’ve made the reductions in spite of continuing healthy economic progress and the unavoidable increases in pollution that comes with that.”
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