USDA and EPA Coordinate Chesapeake Bay Watershed Protection

The two agencies are cooperating to work on nutrient reduction activities in an area reaching into six states.

USDA and the EPA announced today measures for coordinating nutrient reduction activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers over 64,000 square miles in six states and the District of Columbia, and is home to 17 million residents, and it is the largest estuary in the country.

About 25% of the watershed's land is used for crops and pastures. Dealing with nutrient contributions from agricultural runoff will be one of the agencies' challenges, along with runoff from growing urban and suburban areas, septic systems and municipal wastewater, air pollution, and numerous other concerns.

"Under this agreement, EPA and USDA will coordinate actions, align resources, tools, and partners, and monitor for results to accelerate clean water progress in the Bay watershed," says Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water.

"The agreement establishes a clear framework for coordination of USDA and EPA resources that assigns priority to sub-watersheds and conservation practices to restore, improve, and protect the Chesapeake Bay and watershed," said Gary Mast, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment.

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