Wicomico County Joins Coalition to Improve the Chesapeake Bay - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico County Joins Coalition to Improve the Chesapeake Bay

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SALISBURY, Md.- The Wicomico County Council joined The Clean Chesapeake Coalition that seeks cost-effective ways to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

The council paid $25,000 to become a member of the coalition, which is comprised of seven counties across the state. Those counties include Dorchester, Kent and Caroline Counties.

The coalition formed a little more than one year ago after the state developed a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) that is enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency.
 
Seven Bay watershed jurisdictions, including Virginia and Delaware, are required to develop a plan to meet water quality standards.
 
Those standards include limitations on the amount of nutrients and sediment that runs into the Chesapeake Bay, which has been unhealthy for years.

John Hall, vice President of the Wicomico County Council, said industries have suffered because of poor water quality.

"The oyster industry, the crab industry, even the eel industry has shrunk dramatically over the last 20 years," Hall said.  "Hopefully, we can bring that back to a quality where everyone can enjoy those resources."

Wicomico city leaders agreed to join The Clean Chesapeake Coalition because the Maryland WIP comes with a hefty price.

" Right now the county is mandated to have a $700 million dollar responsibility to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, and this is just very very unreasonable," he said.

The coalition works to identify, advocate, develop and implement the most cost-effective policies, programs and practices that will help improve water quality in a fiscally responsible manner.

Hall said the county council wanted to be apart of that.

"The coalition will help mediate and change this program [WIP] to where we can afford to do it [improved the Chesapeake Bay], and at the same time be responsible to the Bay," Hall said.

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