PA’s New Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Reduction Targets For 2025 May Be Lower Than Originally Thought
Preliminary information from the modeling done for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program shows Pennsylvania’s 2025 targets for reducing nutrients may be 7 million pounds less for nitrogen and 270,000 pounds less for phosphorus than originally thought.
Nicki Kasi, Director of DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office, Wednesday told the Steering Committee for Phase 3 of PA’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Plan better science, much better land use data and an improved model that closely tracks real-world water quality sampling results produced the lower numbers.
DEP said earlier in the year Pennsylvania had to reduce nitrogen by 34 million pounds by 2025. The new modeling shows a reduction of 25 to 26 million pounds is what’s needed in the Commonwealth.
The target phosphorus reductions declined slightly from 970,000 pounds to between 700,000 and 800,000 pounds.
Kasi and other presenters said improvements in science also found many existing best management practices were more effective than originally thought, which increased the pounds of nutrients on-the-ground practices actually yield.
The Phase 6 Model, the shorthand for the new model, also added many new approved best management practices states can use to meet their reduction targets. There are now over 400 approved BMPs.
DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell cautioned the group saying this is just the beginning of the target setting process for 2025.
Negotiations with other Chesapeake Bay Watershed states, and the outcome of discussions on how to account for growth, the reduced effectiveness of the Conowingo Dam in stopping pollutants from getting into the Bay and how to incorporate climate change impacts could also change the target numbers.
Click Here to review a copy of the presentation made to the Committee.
The next meeting of the Steering Committee will be January 22 and will be held in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building starting at 1:00 p.m.
For more information on activities and for copies of handouts, visit the Phase 3 Steering Committee Actions webpage. For a description of activities in Pennsylvania to meet Chesapeake Bay cleanup commitments, visit DEP’s Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Plan webpage.
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[Posted: Dec. 14, 2017]
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