Water Quality

The Chesapeake Bay is one of the greatest natural assets of our region. Despite extensive restoration efforts during the past 30 years, insufficient progress and poor water quality in the Chesapeake Bay have prompted the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL). The Bay TMDL is the largest ever developed by the EPA and thus has garnered national attention. It encompasses the entire 64,000 square mile watershed spanning across six states (MD, PA, VA, DE, WV, NY plus DC) and sets limits on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering the Bay.

Extension and research faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics continue to analyze policies and incentive programs whose goals are to improve water quality.  This analysis focuses primarily on nonpoint sources of water pollution from agriculture, urban stormwater and septic sources. The potential for nutrient trading is also assessed given the high variation in costs for urban versus agricultural nutrient reduction practices.

Urban Stormwater Best Management Practices

Agricultural Best Management Practices

Septic Law (SB 236) and Residential Development

Nutrient Trading and Water Quality

Nutrient Management and Poultry Litter Management Issues

Additional Resources on Water Quality

  • College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

            Agricultural Nutrient Management Program

            Water Quality and Environmental Programs

  • Chesapeake Bay Program

            Water Quality Information

  • Maryland Department of Agriculture

            Nutrient Management Programs in Maryland