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Bowser Administration to Address Climate Change in Chesapeake Cleanup Plan

Friday, August 10, 2018

DC leads 6 watershed states in combating negative impacts on water quality

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, August 10, 2018 — This week, Mayor Bowser committed the District to more rigorous pollution reduction goals that account for the impact of climate change on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways. The announcement came at the 2018 Chesapeake Executive Council Meeting in Baltimore, MD on August 7. The Chesapeake Executive Council sets conservation and restoration goals and policy for the Chesapeake Bay Program. Members include the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Administrator of the EPA on behalf of the federal government.

The six watershed states and the District of Columbia have made considerable progress toward meeting pollutant reductions limits that will achieve the Chesapeake Bay Program’s clean water goals. The latest science compiled by the Chesapeake Bay Program indicates climate change will make it harder to achieve water quality standards in the Chesapeake Bay. More intense storms will increase polluted runoff reaching the Bay, and warmer waters will make aquatic life more sensitive to the impacts of pollution.

The District is leading by example within the Chesapeake Bay Program by committing to additional pollution reductions that not only meet existing cleanup goals but also take into account the impacts of climate change on water quality. Mayor Bowser has made the District a leader in addressing climate change through her goal of making the District climate resilient by 2050 and implementing Climate Ready DC, the District’s plan to adapt to a changing climate including more dangerous heatwaves, severe storms and flooding.

“This promise will help us build cleaner, healthier waterways for the entire region,” said Mayor Bowser. “To restore our shared waterways and build a more resilient Washington, DC, the District is proud to commit to more rigorous pollution reduction goals that account for the impact of climate change on water quality.”

The Bowser Administration will identify the steps to achieve additional reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in its Chesapeake cleanup plan that it will release in 2019. These actions will reduce the amount of trash, debris and polluted runoff reaching the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers from massive rainfall events similar to what the region has experienced in the past two weeks.

“We strongly believe all members of the Chesapeake Bay Program – as well as the federal government and all states nationwide – need to focus on addressing climate change as it will directly impact current and future generations of our residents,” said Mayor Bowser.