ACHIEVING NUTRIENT AND SEDIMENT REDUCTION GOALS

IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY

An Evaluation of Program Strategies and Implementation

Committee on the Evaluation of Chesapeake Bay Program Implementation
for Nutrient Reduction to Improve Water Quality

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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AC HI EVI NG N U T R IE N T A N D S E D IM E NT R E D U CTI O N G OA L S I N TH E C H ES A P EAKE BAY An Evaluation of Program Strategies and Implementation Committee on the Evaluation of Chesapeake Bay Program Implementation for Nutrient Reduction to Improve Water Quality Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Govern- ing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineer- ing, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report was produced under assistance of Cooperative Agreement No. EP-C-09- 003, TO# 5. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Environmental Pro- tection Agency. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-21079-9 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-21079-8 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap. edu. Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Acad- emy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineer- ing programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is presi- dent of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Insti- tute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sci- ences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Coun- cil is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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BAY PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION FOR NUTRIENT REDUCTION TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY KENNETH H. RECKHOW, Chair, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina PATRICIA E. NORRIS, Vice Chair, Michigan State University, East Lansing RICHARD J. BUDELL, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Tallahassee DOMINIC M. DI TORO, University of Delaware, Newark JAMES N. GALLOWAY, University of Virginia, Charlottesville HOLLY GREENING, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, St. Petersburg, Florida ANDREW N. SHARPLEY, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville ADEL SHIRMOHAMMADI, University of Maryland, College Park PAUL E. STACEY, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Durham, New Hampshire* NRC Staff STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Study Director, Water Science and Technology Board MICHAEL J. STOEVER, Research Associate, Water Science and Technology Board * Formerly the director of Planning and Standards, Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. v

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Preface T he Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP), a partnership among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the six watershed states, and the District of Columbia, is working at federal, state, and local levels to restore the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. In 1987, the CBP partners commit- ted to reduce “controllable” phosphorus and nitrogen loadings to the Bay’s main stem by 40 percent by 2000. The CBP’s initial goals were modified in 1992, which led to a variety of actions directed at point and nonpoint sources of nutrient and sediment loading to the tributaries of the Bay. Unfortunately, progress has been limited and the nutrient and sediment reduction goals have not yet been attained. During the years since the 1987 agreement, water pollution manage- ment under the Clean Water Act (CWA) shifted toward more quantitative assessments of water quality impairments. The CWA requires states and tribes to identify and maintain lists of water bodies that do not meet water quality standards and to develop total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) that the water bodies can receive and still comply with water quality standards. In 2000, the CBP partners signed an agreement that provided an alterna- tive to developing a TMDL based on the expectation that actions would be taken that would result in the attainment of water quality standards within a 10-year period of time. However, a reevaluation in 2007 of nutri- ent and sediment target loads revealed that insufficient progress had been made toward improving water quality and meeting the intent of the 2000 agreement was unlikely. In response, the CBP and the federal govern- ment launched a new era of accountability, accompanied by more aggres- sive approaches to controlling nutrient and sediment pollution in the Bay vii

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viii PREFACE watershed, including the development of a TMDL for the Bay, watershed implementation plans, and a two-year milestone strategy (described in more detail in Chapter 1). In 2009, the EPA requested that the National Research Council (NRC) evaluate and provide advice on the CBP nutrient reduction program and strategy. The EPA specifically directed the NRC to evaluate the tracking of best management practice implementation, tracking and accounting efforts, the two-year milestone strategy, and the states’ and federal agencies’ adap- tive management strategies, and to suggest improvements to these strategies that might better attain the CBP goals (see Box S-1). The committee has not been charged to review the TMDL or the models used to develop it. To carry out this work, the NRC appointed a multidisciplinary committee of experts to provide advice to the EPA, the six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the District of Columbia, other federal agencies, and other interested parties. Our committee is indebted to many individuals for their contributions of information and resources. Specifically, we appreciate the efforts of our committee’s EPA technical liaisons—Julie Winters and Rich Batiuk—who assisted the committee with numerous requests for information and with utilizing the vast resources of agency expertise when needed. The committee also owes a debt of gratitude to the many individuals who educated our committee through their presentations at the open sessions of the commit- tee’s meetings. The committee has been fortunate to have the support and collabora- tion of an excellent NRC staff. Stephanie Johnson, study director, has been an extraordinary source of information and advice and has contributed sig- nificantly to this report. Michael Stoever, research associate, has provided superb support during and between meetings and has also been instrumen- tal in producing the report. I speak for the entire committee in expressing our profound respect and gratitude. This report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their breadth of perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with the pro- cedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review was to provide candid and critical comments to assist the institution in ensuring that its published report is sci- entifically credible and that it meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The reviewer comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the deliberative process. We thank the following reviewers for their helpful suggestions, all of which were considered and many of which were wholly or partly incorporated into the final report: Donald F. Boesch, University of Maryland; Mark B. David, University of Illinois; Theo A. Dillaha, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Joseph H. Harrison, Washington State University; Carlton

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ix PREFACE H. Hershner, Jr., Virginia Institute of Marine Science; David H. Moreau, University of North Carolina; Sujoy B. Roy, Tetra Tech Inc.; Thomas R. Schueler, Center for Watershed Protection; Kathleen Segerson, University of Connecticut; and Thomas W. Simpson, Water Stewardship Inc. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recom- mendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by David A. Dzombak, Carnegie Melon University, and Ken W. Potter, University of Wisconsin. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institu- tional procedures and that all review comments received full consideration. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC. Kenneth H. Reckhow, Chair Committee on the Evaluation of Chesapeake Bay Program Implementation for Nutrient Reduction to Improve Water Quality

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Contents SUMMARY 1 INTRODUCTION 1 13 Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Sediment in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, 15 History of Chesapeake Bay Program Restoration Efforts: 1983-2008, 33 Recent Initiatives (2008-2010), 49 Statement of Committee Task and Report Overview, 55 TRACKING AND ACCOUNTING 59 2 Tracking and Accounting Frameworks, 59 Assessment of Tracking and Accounting, 62 How Can the Tracking System Be Strategically Improved?, 82 Conclusions and Recommendations, 84 ASSESSMENT OF THE TWO-YEAR MILESTONES 89 3 Context for the Committee’s Analysis, 89 The Two-Year Milestone Strategy, 90 Implementation Progress in the Bay Jurisdictions, 92 Other Issues, 95 Conclusions, 96 xi

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xii CONTENTS ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT 99 4 The Chesapeake Bay Program Focus on Adaptive Management, 99 Overview of Adaptive Management, 102 Evaluation of Adaptive Management Strategies in the Chesapeake Bay Program, 107 Conclusions and Recommendations, 123 STRATEGIES FOR MEETING THE GOALS 127 5 Challenges, 128 Strategies for Improvement, 142 Conclusions, 165 REFERENCES 169 APPENDIXES A Model-estimated Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Sediment Loads by Sector for Five Scenarios 187 B Best Management Practices and Load Reduction Efficiencies Used in the Watershed Model 189 C Details on Tracking and Accounting by Bay Jurisdiction 209 D Two-Year Milestone Implementation, 2009-2010 231 E Water Science and Technology Board 245 F Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 247