Chesapeake Bay

Page updated on Aug 22, 2016 at 4:22 PM

Chesapeake Bay SatelliteThis unique estuary is the largest in the nation and third largest in the world. Its 64,000-square-mile watershed encompasses parts of six states – Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia – and the District of Columbia. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed there are more than 100,000 streams and rivers that eventually flow into the Bay. Everyone in the Bay watershed lives within a few minutes of one of these streams and rivers, which are like pipelines from our communities to the Bay. The Bay and its watershed have remarkable ecological, economic, recreational, historic, and cultural value to the City of Alexandria and the region.

What Issues Affect the Chesapeake Bay?

Water Quality Management Supplement and Eco-City Alexandria Action Plan 2030 


What Issues Affect the Chesapeake Bay?

Clean, healthy water is essential to the health of the plants and animals that live in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.  Healthy water contains a balanced amount of nutrients, normal fluctuations in temperature, and plenty of dissolved oxygen so fish, crabs, and other aquatic life can breathe, and few suspended sediments so underwater plants receive enough sunlight to grow.

Any rain that does not evaporate or soak into the ground, but instead ponds and travels downhill is called stormwater.  When rain falls on hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, parking lots, and streets, stormwater can’t naturally soak into the ground and runs off, creating stormwater runoff.  Runoff from urban, agricultural, and industrial areas can contain nutrients, sediment, and chemicals.  The City of Alexandria has adopted an Environmental Management Ordinance to help protect the Chesapeake Bay from pollution and urban runoff.  The Bay is currently subject to several special state and federal regulations; the most important of which is the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

The City is committed to protecting local streams, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay and will continue to search out innovative ways to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL requirements.

Please visit the EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL website to learn more about the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, including fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and video clips of recorded presentations.

Please visit the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's Chesapeake Bay TMDL website to learn more about the Virginia WIP process. 


Water Quality Management Supplement  and Eco-City Alexandria Action Plan 2030

On January 13, 2001, the City Council adopted the Water Quality Management Supplement to the Master Plan. The Northern Virginia Region Commission (NVRC), in close EAP 2030 Covercollaboration with Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, prepared the document.  The Water Quality Management Supplement emphasizes Alexandria’s water and habitat resources; focuses on water quality impacts, and directs the City, through specific initiatives, to preserve our existing resources and reclaim and better manage our watersheds. 

The City’s first-ever of its kind Eco-City Action Plan contains numerous targets and goals related to protecting and enhancing water quality, while the City’s Stormwater Program (mandated by the Clean Water Act and Virginia Administrative Code) seeks to control the discharge of pollutants by managing urban stormwater runoff.