Note: This page is part of the Governor's News Archive, which holds press releases from January 2009 through September 2011. Since October 2011, recent news can be found in the Newsroom and archived news is available at news.delaware.gov.
May 12, 2009
Markell: Delaware Joins Multi-State Commitment to Chart New Course for Chesapeake Bay Recovery
DOVER – Gov. Jack Markell announced Tuesday that Delaware’s Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Collin O’Mara and Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee today joined federal agency representatives and officials from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, New York and the District of Columbia in a meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council. Together, they affirmed a multi-state, multi-agency commitment to accelerate cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, increase government accountability and provide clean water in the many communities that share the Bay’s watershed.
Under the Council’s leadership, the Chesapeake Bay Program will focus upon achieving a series of biannual goals and milestones that will reduce excess nutrients and sediment entering the Bay. By attaining these successive milestones by 2025, the Program will have implemented all of the actions necessary to fully restore the Bay.
“The Chesapeake Bay is one of Delmarva’s most precious natural resources,” said Governor Jack Markell. “I am proud that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will work with each other and our neighboring states to help the bay and its tributaries. Delaware is proud to make a commitment to help transform the bay’s precious and fragile watershed into a better, cleaner place to live, work and play in the future.”
The Council’s accelerated plan to clean up the Chesapeake has been made possible by an unprecedented infusion of federal resources. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will provide billions of dollars to be administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to contribute to this effort. Further, the 2008 Farm Bill will provide an additional $188 million over the next four years for agricultural conservation projects to reduce pollution entering the streams, creeks and rivers that carry it into the Bay.
With parts of all three Delaware counties draining into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Delaware is taking a strong stance to reduce its contribution of excess nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.
“Delaware has a long tradition of developing innovative solutions and taking bold action to protect our natural treasures. The strong partnership between State agencies, municipalities, the agricultural community, and residents has prevented millions of pounds of excess nutrients and pollutants from entering our watershed,” said DNREC Secretary O’Mara . “Today’s action reaffirms Delaware’s commitment to a sustainable future and signifies our desire to work collaboratively across the region to ensure that Chesapeake Bay is revitalized within 20 years and remains that way for generations to come.”
To help keep the Chesapeake on its new pollution diet, Delaware has committed to accelerating its programs to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus entering the watershed. By 2011, the plan calls for reducing nitrogen by an estimated 292,072 pounds, up from the previous goal of approximately 104,679 pounds - an increase in rate of progress by 69 percent.
“Over the past twenty years, the agricultural community has demonstrated their commitment to protecting the Chesapeake Bay. All Delawareans appreciate these efforts and together we will ensure a prosperous and sustainable agricultural future,” said Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee.
By the end of 2011, Delaware plans the following pollution reduction actions: planting cover crops on 37,200 acres per year; creating 2,700 acres of forest buffers; restoring 420 acres of wetlands; planting 200 acres of trees; transporting 55,100 tons of excess poultry litter per year; implementing nutrient management practices on 177,000 acres; reducing Invista’s Seaford plant permitted nitrogen load by 215,350 pounds; and a goal of having homeowners pumpout 8,800 septic systems per year.
For more information on the Chesapeake Bay Program, please visit http://www.chesapeakebay.net. For more information about Delaware’s programs to help clean up the Chesapeake, please visit http://www.wr.dnrec.delaware.gov/Services/Pages/WatershedAssessment.aspx