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Total Maximum Daily Load

Total Maximum Daily Load

The Chesapeake Bay Diet.

You may be aware of cleanup efforts and pollution diets for the Chesapeake Bay. Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) stands for the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards. The “diet” is the amount of each type of pollution  from various sources that a waterbody can receive.

  • Here's a quick and dirty run down on the Chesapeake Bay situation and related terminology:

    The Chesapeake Bay watershed (the area with water draining into the Bay) includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia and all of Washington DC - about a 64,000 square mile area!

    A healthy Bay means the water contains a balanced amount of nutrients and normal fluctuations in salinity and temperature. The water needs to have enough dissolved oxygen so fish, crabs and other aquatic life can breathe and few suspended sediments so underwater grasses receive enough sunlight to grow.

    The current conditions in the Bay are not healthy because of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution. Rain, which leads to stormwater runoff, causes these pollutants to get into local streams, creeks, rivers and the Bay itself.

    To improve water quality, the flow of pollution must be reduced.

    Each locality within the Bay watershed is required to draft a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), which details how localities will meet the diet by working in partnership with the agricultural community, wastewater treatment plants and developers.

    A clean, healthy Bay means improved public health, fishing, recreation opportunities, economic opportunities and more!

    Making small changes in your every day activities can help improve the Bay.
  • Pick up your pet's waste, no matter where it falls.
  • Do not feed wildlife. Geese are messy birds, and giving them food encourages them to stay around longer.
  • Choose native trees, bushes and plants for your yard, particularly for areas along waterways or streets.
  • Retain or plant vegetation along shorelines. The plants help to filter out stormwater pollutants before they reach waterways.
  • Leave lawn clippings on your lawn after mowing. When clippings break down, nitrogen is returned to the lawn, generating up to 25% of the lawn's fertilizer needs.
  • Pledge to make your home a "star." Help protect local waterways by joining one of the many residential watershed protection programs in Hampton Roads. Find one in your neighborhood using this interactive map or download the PDF version.
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