Awareness of the importance of clean water to streams and rivers, and their connection to the larger Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, is growing in York County, Pennsylvania.
Momentum is gaining interest and support not with just a few individuals, but collectively as a county.
Presented with an challenge—the Chesapeake Bay TMDL—York County’s Conservation District and Planning Commission took on the roles of educator, facilitator, and change agent.
The Planning Commission took the lead forming a County-wide TMDL Work Group to develop a countywide pollution reduction strategy to help Pennsylvania meet it’s Bay Agreement goals. Known as a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), the plan identifies the most cost effective nutrient and sediment pollution reduction practices to achieve clean water goals and restore streams.
The next step to getting the job done is where the rubber hits the road—implementation.
One very important pollution source that is continuing to increase, even with reductions from wastewater treatment and agricultural pollution sources, is polluted urban and suburban stormwater runoff.
For township managers, it can be difficult to maintain and update the infrastructure needed to transport polluted runoff—things like storm drains, pipes, ditches, and retention ponds.
York County has developed a collaborative plan to reduce pollution, restore streams, and save everyone money. The plan calls for the implementation of actions in four key areas:
· --- Capture unreported projects from local, state and federal cost share programs;
· --- Existing program administration (e.g., agricultural conservation planning, land use planning, stormwater management, etc.);
· --- New nonstructural Best Management Practices applied on the ground to capture and treat urban, suburban and rural stormwater runoff and stream restoration; and
· ---- BMPs not in current Bay Model (i.e., The York Water Company’s Sediment Filtration Plan).
A stakeholders group “Coalition for Clean Waters” has been formed—consisting of local business, government, nonprofit groups, and other individuals—to help educate the public about York County’s WIP and encourage implementation of the recommended Best Management Practices by landowners and local officials.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is lending a hand to York County and its 72 local municipalities through both private funding and through a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation, by providing technical assistance for locally lead water quality improvement efforts. The CBF will be hosting a series of workshops designed to assist local officials. The workshops will begin in January 2014.
For more information about local workshops or to see what else is happening in York County, visit www.cbf.org/Pennsylvania and www.ycpc.org.