Maryland's Interim BMP Reporting Tool is now available for use. Please be sure to review submission instructions and additional information prior to using the new tool.
Maryland's Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (October 2012). See also Maryland's Phase II WIP Development Support Website.
TMDL implementation is a multi-disciplinary field involving planning and decision-making across different scales and sectors for a variety of pollutants. This web page allows you to access information from a variety of perspectives. We also encourage you to consult the websites of other States to gain a broader perspective. We also encourage feedback on what you find helpful and what you would like to see on this page (email Jim George).
The State of Maryland is committed to working toward the implementation of TMDLs. MDE’s Science Services Administration (SSA formerly TARSA) is responsible for TMDL development, and plays a lead role in coordinating the implementation of TMDLs. However, the roles and responsibilities for specific TMDL implementation activities are distributed among a wide variety of private and public entities. Defining and communicating these roles and responsibilities is an on-going effort.
Federal Law and Regulation
The federal Clean Water Act, and implementing regulations (40CFR130 - Leaving MDE Website), say little about TMDL implementation. Briefly, TMDL regulations found at 40CFR130.7(a) specify that the State's Continuing Planning Process (CPP – 40CFR130.5) should describe how approved loads will be incorporated into NPDES permits and into the State's Water Quality Management Plans (40CFR130.6).
Federal EPA guidance on TMDL implementation is also limited. Guidance is provided in a 1997 EPA Memo entitled "New Policies for Establishing and Implementing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)" (EPA Site). On November 22, 2002, EPA provided clarification of existing TMDL regulations on the subject of implementing TMDLs through NPDES permits for stormwater.
Chesapeake Bay TMDL Implementation Guidance
In connection with the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs for nutrients and sediments, EPA requires states draining to the Bay to develop "Watershed Implementation Plans" (WIPs). In support, EPA provided TMDL implementation guidance in the form of a November 4, 2009 Expectations Letter for the development of the WIPs.
EPA has more information on their Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Development website (leaving MDE website) and a more general perspective on their Chesapeake Bay TMDL webpage.
Also, See Maryland's Phase II WIP Development Support Web Page.
Maryland's TMDL Implementation Framework click here (pdf, 195 KB)
This brief document gives an overview of the State’s current framework for TMDL implementation. Because of the complexity and evolving nature of this subject matter, this document is a work-in-progress. By labeling the document, “Discussion Draft,” we implicitly encourage your comments and suggestions.
As an appendix, the document includes a watershed planning guidance from EPA's Section 319 nonpoint sources grant eligibility requirements. It outlines the elements of a watershed plan designed to attain and maintain water quality standards, which is the goal of TMDL implementation. This broad outline provides a logical framework for TMDL implementation planning.
Biological Restoration Initiative
Most of the biological impairments on Maryland’s 303(d) list are due to the degradation of small, fairly shallow, free-flowing streams. MDE has initiated a Biological Restoration Initiative (BRI) to target resources to streams with the greatest recovery potential. This restoration initiative, a part of Maryland’s 319 Nonpoint Source Program, is coordinated with Maryland’s Chesapeake and Atlantic Bays Trust Fund through the Fund’s system of targeting resources [PDF].
Maryland’s Biological Restoration Initiative works in concert with the State’s anti-degradation policy implementation designed to protect high quality streams. These streams are identified using the Department of Natural Resources Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) Program data. These high quality streams receive additional scrutiny to ensure that their biological integrity is protected.
Biological restoration of streams is also conducted via agricultural conservation programs; local government programs, including the federal NPDES Stormwater permit program administered by MDE; and various other State and federal initiatives.
2006 TMDL Implementation Guidance for Local Governments
A key element of Maryland's TMDL Implementation strategy is to engage local governments. The TMDL Implementation Guidance was developed as an outcome of a series of local government workshops initiatated in September 2004. An Advisory Group, composed of local government officials, helped craft the Guidance during 2005.
Because policies and operational issues are evolving rapidly, the Guidance is expected to be refined. MDE encourages local government involvement in making those refinements. See Contact Information below if you have questions or would like to be involved.
Maryland's Tributary Strategies
Maryland’s Tributary Strategies are broad implementation plans for achieving and maintaining nutrient allocations for the ten major watersheds that drain to the Chesapeake Bay. These allocations were established through the year-2000 Chesapeake Bay Agreement process. Local governments should actively support development of Tributary Strategy implementation basin plans as an initial phase of Maryland’s nutrient TMDL implementation planning process. More information is available at DNR’s Tributary Strategy Website.
Land Use Planning and TMDL Implementation
Making changes to the landscape can have profound effects on water quality.
- The topic of land use planning was acknowledged in several ways during workshops on TMDL Implementation for Local Governments during 2004 and 2005.
- Advisory Letter from State Agency Heads to Local Elected Officials, November 2003
- Sample of State Consistency Reviews of Local Land Use Plans with respect to TMDLs.
- Section 5.3 of Maryland's 2006 TMDL Implementation Guidance for Local Governments begins to address this topic.
This topic was the focus of a March 7, 2005 workshop entitled "Integrating Land Use Planning and Watershed Planning."
Land use and water quality was addressed at a May 26, 2005 workshop entitled "The Mason-Dixon Dilemma: Assessing the Impacts of Regional Growth Patterns in the Chesapeake Watershed."
In 2006 The Maryland General Assembly passed HB 1141
that amends existing land use planning laws to, among other things, require a water resources element (WRE) in local comprehensive land use plans. The WREs will help ensure that local zoning and land use decisions will reflect “carrying capacity” of water supply and water quality resources. Water Resource Element Guidance
was finalized in Spring 2007, and will include procedures for assessing nonpoint source impacts of future land use decisions. HB1141 requires MDE to provide technical assistance to local governments upon request.
National Examples of TMDL Implementation Plans, State Programs and Guidance Documents
The following links are not intended to be comprehensive, nor do they represent any preferences of the Maryland Department of the Environment. They are intended to provide a broader perspective on TMDL Implementation.
Factsheets and Key Resources
Archives click here
In order to keep out TMDL Implementation Web Page uncluttered, we have moved some information to an "Archives" page. This ensures that you have access to past information that still has relevance.
For information on TMDL Implementation contact Jim George at (410) 537-3579.
Other Useful Links
Water Quality Maps
User's Guide to Watershed Planning (leaving MDE website)
2006 Implementation Guidance Document for Local Governments
2008 Integrated Report
Searchable Integrated Report Database
EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL Website
Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund
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