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Draft plan seeks to lend support to Chesapeake restoration efforts

Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation released a draft plan recently to coordinate cleanup efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The plan seeks to improve the implementation of cleanup goals outlined in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. It would do this by enhancing existing projects in Delaware and other states by making the resources of the Army Corps of Engineers available.

Angie Sowers is the Corps’ Baltimore District Integrated Water Resources Management Specialist. She says she is using Geographic Information Services and other data sources to map the watershed and find ways to make individual state and local cleanup projects more efficient.

“So we have that information that will be available to partners to utilize and to use in their planning efforts. So that’ll be a tool. It’s not up there yet, but that will get up on the web in some format,” said Sowers.

Sowers adds this could enhance restoration efforts in places like Delaware’s Nanticoke River and Greensboro wetlands.

The Corps is seeking comment from stakeholders, as well as restoration projects not yet listed that could be included in the overall project.

Jake Riley is the Director of Chesapeake Bay Programs for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He says the top priority in Delaware’s portion of the watershed is Agricultural Conservation Practices, and the Corps could potentially intervene in a few different ways.

“It could be agricultural water management—doing things like irrigation and ditch management to help manage stormwater runoff, but then also increase natural cycling of nutrients running off of agricultural lands,” said Riley.

Riley adds the Corps might also lend its engineering expertise to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution.

The Corps contributed most of the $3 million cost for the comprehensive plan.

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