Water Quality Standards Attainment and Monitoring Outcome:Factors Influencing Progress
Several factors could impact our ability to monitor and assess the effects of the management actions being taken to implement the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL) and improve water quality. These factors have directly informed the management actions our partners will take to achieve the Water Quality Standards Attainment and Monitoring outcome.
Federal agencies, state and local jurisdictions, and landholders must sustain adequate capacity to complete their pollution-reducing work. The Chesapeake Bay Program will address financial needs by evaluating the cost of best management practice implementation and maintenance, considering how costs might be reduced, quantifying funding gaps, identifying new funding sources and communicating funding needs to elected officials.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is working to improve the data and information it uses to track pollution sources, loads and reductions. To do this, the partnership will:
- Review and update historical best management practice (BMP) data to (a) confirm these practices are still in place and (b) ensure accurate information is included in our modeling tools;
- Refine the pollution reduction values associated with BMPs and verify the effectiveness and efficiency of these practices;
- Incorporate improved data and information related to pollution load transport, land use and the impacts of population growth and climate change to our modeling tools;
- Assess various watershed model calibration methods with the goal of improving local watershed results; and
- Enhance the next generation of decision support tools to improve accuracy, transparency and confidence.
Improving our understanding of the factors affecting the ecosystem’s response to pollution load reductions could better focus our management strategies and efforts. These factors include:
- The “lag time” between the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) and improvements in water quality;
- The factors (in addition to nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads) that affect dissolved oxygen, water clarity, submerged aquatic vegetation and chlorophyll;
- The effects of climate change on water temperatures, sea level rise, hypoxia, river flow and storm intensity;
- The effects of impoundments, reservoirs and dams on water quality;
- The effects of plant and animal biomass on the capacity of an ecosystem to assimilate nutrients and sediment;
- The effects of population change and economic influence on restoration activities; and
- The relationship between improvements in water quality and the recovery of fish and shellfish habitat.