Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Denying the challenge by the American Farm Bureau Federation and its allies, the decision supports a lower court ruling allowing the state-implemented, EPA-guided effort to reduce pollution in local rivers, streams, and waterways.
A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a “pollution diet” which calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant that can occur in a healthy waterbody and allocates the necessary projects or strategies to achieve necessary reductions of one or more pollutant sources. A TMDL serves as a planning tool and potential starting point for restoration or protection activities with the ultimate goal of attaining or maintaining water quality standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Virginia Department of Environmnetal Quality (DEQ) design and approve TMDLs for all sizes of waterbodies throughout the Commonwealth and each year, are required to inventory a list of “impaired waterways” under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. This list includes all waters that are too polluted or otherwise degraded to meet water quality standards and provide for safe activities like fishing, swimming, boating, and provision of habitat for fish and wildlife. Friends of the Rappahannock works with our partners throughout the watershed to implement strategies and projects designed to address these TMDLs, reduce pollution to our local streams and the Rappahannock River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay as a whole.
The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a monumental win for the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay as a whole. This TMDL is responsible for a wide range of programs and funding sources that are driving the cleanup effort. Every project that goes in the ground slowly chips away at a much larger defecit of pollution that has an incredible impact. A healthy Rappahannock River will provide millions of dollars of revenue from a wide range of sources and we are committed to continuing to work with all our partners to make this happen.
For more information about the Chesapeake Bay TMDL or a local TMDL