Measuring Maryland's Progress


Natural resources and environment data dashboards provide a summary of the State’s progress toward its land conservation and Chesapeake Bay restoration goals.  Both of the topics have been in the news in recent years.  Of particular interest in recent months has been the implementation of Chapter 151 of 2012, which required the 10 local jurisdictions subject to a Phase I municipal separate storm sewer systems permit to establish a stormwater fee and local watershed protection and restoration fund to help defray costs associated with stormwater remediation.  According to Maryland’s Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), which is the State’s roadmap for achieving the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution reduction goals set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stormwater is one of the State’s major sources of pollution.  Stormwater management, and other issues related to bay restoration, will likely be debated during the 2014 legislative session. 


In addition to providing an overview of the health of the Chesapeake Bay, the dashboards provide basic data about the acres of land conserved in the State and State spending on land conservation.  The dashboards also highlight some of the State’s strategies toward achieving bay TMDL compliance. 





Land Conservation in Maryland


Maryland has a longstanding tradition of land conservation. This includes not only the protection of agricultural land and woodland, but the protection of open space and open space resources.  State land conservation spending is allocated among several programs such as Program Open Space, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, the Rural Legacy Program, and the Maryland Environmental Trust.  As of August 2015, Maryland had over 850,000 acres of land under easement.


The primary source of funding for these programs is the State property transfer tax; therefore, the amount of funding available for the programs depends largely on the real estate market.  However, in recent years, the amount of funding available for these programs has not only been impacted by a fluctuating housing market, but by the extent to which transfer tax revenues have been transferred to the State’s general fund in order to help address budget deficits.


November 2015



Chesapeake Bay Health


Maryland is one of six states and the District of Columbia within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  Maryland contributes about 20% of the nitrogen and 18% of the phosphorous pollution to the bay.  The State's biggest source of nitrogen pollution to the bay is from the agricultural sector; however, stormwater pollution is the fastest growing source sector.


Despite efforts to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, limited progress has been made over the last decade and population growth and development is expected to complicate future progress. 




November 2015

Bay Restoration Progress


In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established a Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), as required under the federal Clean Water Act and in response to consent decrees in the District of Columbia and Virginia.  This TMDL sets the maximum amount of nutrient and sediment pollution the bay can receive and still attain water quality standards.  It also identifies specific pollution reduction requirements that must be in place by 2017 and 2025.


Maryland's Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) details how and when the State will achieve the TMDL pollution reduction goals.  Maryland's Phase II WIP incorporates a variety of strategies to comply with the TMDL.  These strategies include enforcing farmer nutrient management plan compliance, upgrading failing septic systems, and retrofitting existing infrastructure with better stormwater controls.


November 2015




This page revised November 13, 2015