• Progress

    States have set their own definitions of healthy waters and watersheds, and a map of state-identified healthy waters and watersheds is available. While the datasets behind this map may be subject to future revisions and updates, the Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team has agreed that the 2015 datasets will serve as the baseline from which to assess watershed health and measure progress toward this outcome. New healthy waters and watersheds may be added in the future.

    Because jurisdictions have differing definitions of healthy waters and watersheds, there is not a common definition for the healthy waters and watersheds addressed in this outcome. Instead, our partners track and support the protection of the waters and watersheds identified through the definitions below.

    • In Delaware, there are currently no healthy watersheds. All of the state's tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay are impaired by nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and/or bacteria, and will only be considered healthy when their Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) are achieved and their surface water quality standards are met.
    • Because the District of Columbia is a primarily urbanized area, it has not identified currently healthy watersheds.
    • In Maryland, streams and their catchments are designated Tier II when their biological characteristics are significantly better than minimum water quality standards.
    • In New York, those waterbodies that have been categorized as "No Known Impact" because monitoring data and information indicate an absence of use restrictions are considered healthy.
    • In Pennsylvania, those waters and watersheds that have been classified as High Quality or Exceptional Value are considered healthy.
    • In Virginia, those waters and watersheds that are identified as having high aquatic integrity according to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Division of Natural Heritage Healthy Waters Program are defined as ecologically healthy waters.
    • In West Virginia, those waters that have been designated Tier 3 are known as outstanding national resource waters and are considered healthy.
    Healthy watersheds begin with healthy streams, and bring resilience to the region in the form of clean water, critical habitat and social and economic benefits. Healthy watersheds are also a bargain: protecting them is much less expensive than restoring degraded waters.

  • Management Strategy

    To achieve the healthy watersheds outcome, participating partners have committed to:

    • Tracking the health, vulnerability and protection status of state-identified healthy waters and watersheds;
    • Strengthening local commitments and capacity to protect healthy watersheds;
    • Improving communication among federal agencies to encourage them to protect healthy watersheds; and
    • Supporting state-based efforts to improve the identification, assessment, monitoring and protection of healthy watersheds.

    These partners will also collaborate with the work being done to achieve the land use methods and metrics and land use options evaluation outcomes.

    As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome was reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in May of 2017. This outcome will be reviewed again in 2019.

  • Work Plan
    Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions over the course of 2016 and 2017 to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy above.
  • Participating Partners

    The Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team leads the effort to achieve this outcome. It works in partnership with the Sustainable Fisheries, Vital Habitats, Water Quality and Fostering Stewardship goal implementation teams.

    Participating partners include:

    • Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (State of Delaware)
    • District Department of Energy and Environment (Contact: Matt Robinson) (District of Columbia)
    • Maryland Department of Natural Resources (Contact: Angel Valdez) (State of Maryland)
    • New York Department of Environmental Conservation (Contact: Lauren Townley) (State of New York)
    • Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (Contact: Todd Janeski) (Commonwealth of Virginia)
    • Virginia Commonwealth University (Contact: Greg Garman) (Commonwealth of Virginia)
    • West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (Contact: Tim Craddock) (State of West Virginia)
    • Chesapeake Bay Commission
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • National Park Service
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    • U.S. Forest Service
    • U.S. Geological Survey
    • Nature Conservancy