New USGS Study on Chesapeake Bay: Groundwater Delaying the Effects of Some Water Quality Actions

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New research by the U.S. Geological Survey conducted on the Delmarva Peninsula, which forms the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, indicates it may take several decades for many water-quality management practices aimed at reducing nitrogen input to the Bay to achieve their full benefit due to the influence of groundwater.


The USGS findings provide critical information on how long it may take to see the water quality in the Bay improve as more stringent practices are implemented to reduce nutrients and sediment to tidal waters.  Having established a calculation for the total nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollutants that are allowable for the Chesapeake watershed, known as the total maximum daily load (TMDL), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the four other Bay watershed jurisdictions to ensure that all water-quality practices needed to reduce the flow of nutrients and sediment to the Bay are in place by 2025.

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