Nutrients brought to the Chesapeake Bay from runoff promotes algae growth and can kill off other species.
The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized it's "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay in what it's calling the largest water pollution strategy plan in the nation.
The pollution diet is a plan for six states -- incuding Virginia and Maryland as well as D.C. -- to limit the nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment that have a chokehold on aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay. The goal is to reduce nitrogen by 25 percent, phosphorous by 24 percent, and sediment by 20 percent by 2025.
States have already presented initial plans on how they'll do that. Farmers, for example, will have to manage manure and fertilizer more carefully. Cities will have to find ways to reduce storm water runoff. And across the board wastewater treatment plants will undergo upgrades.
Maryland was singled out by Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin as having the most ambitious plan.
The total cost of these measures isn't known, but the USDA has estimated that about $700 million will be provided by the federal government to help restore the Bay. Some of the cost, however, will be born by individuals and municipalities.
If states fall behind on implementing their strategies, the EPA has threatened consequences including requiring more stringent permits for animal feedlots or wastewater treatment facilities, things that would create significant costs for states.