Our Waters

The Legacy of the Maryland Tributary Strategy Teams

In the Early 1990’s, the Chesapeake Bay partners recognized that restoration efforts must extend into the Tributaries of the Bay watershed in order to reach the goal of a restored Bay. Maryland answered this challenge by establishing Tributary Strategy Teams in 1995. The Teams provided a venue for a broader group of stakeholders to participate in restoration efforts and to advocate for solutions especially at the State and local levels. Approximately 300 volunteers were initially appointed to the Teams and many more people participated in the events, programs, trainings and field trips held by the Teams throughout the next 16 years.

The mission of the Maryland Tributary Strategy Teams was to build consensus and advocate for policy solutions, to promote stewardship through education, and to coordinate activities and projects necessary to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay’s water quality and assure healthy watersheds with abundant and diverse living resources. Tributary Strategies were also adopted which consisted of a list of Best Management Practices (BMPs) that would need to be implemented at specified levels or amounts to achieve the required nutrient reductions. The first set of Tributary Strategies were developed in 1994 then updated in 2003. Throughout this timeframe, implementation was mostly voluntary and the role of the Teams was to help make progress toward the 2000 Bay Agreement goals and objectives.

Each Team chose goals and initiatives to address that were relevant to their geographic area.

Specific accomplishments for each of the Teams are highlighted on posters found when you click on the Tributary Team links below:

Choptank Tributary Team

Patapsco/Back Tributary Team

Patuxent River Commission

Lower Potomac Tributary Team

Middle Potomac Tributary Team

Lower Eastern Shore Tributary Team

Lower Western Shore Tributary Team

Upper Eastern Shore Tributary Team

Upper Western Shore Tributary Team

Through the work of the Tributary Teams, more Marylanders are aware of and have participated in watershed protection and improvement actions. The Teams have also helped to establish new watershed organizations focused on local issues and needs. The Tributary Teams and their dedicated members helped lay the foundation for the next phase of the restoration process, the Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs).

In December 2010, the US EPA established the Bay-wide Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) in compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act. This action ended the voluntary approach and initiated a more regulatory approach to assure restoration actions are implemented by 2025 to achieve the nutrient and sediment reduction goals. To meet the TMDL, each State in the Bay Watershed is required to develop Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP) with 2-year implementation milestones to guide actions and track progress. Maryland has also worked with local governments and other local partners to develop county scale WIPs to identify local implementation progress. The Tributary Teams were instrumental in informing the public and The TMDL and the State and local WIPs replace the Tributary Strategies as the guide for restoration action.

Funding and staff support for the Tributary Teams ended in July 2010, but the Teams were encouraged to continue as independent watershed organizations. Six Teams have continued to meet and members of other Teams have merged with other organizations to share their experience and insights.

For more information on the Maryland Bay TMDL and Watershed Implementation Plans look here:


For more information on the Bay TMDL Contact:

Jim George
Maryland Dept of Environmrnt


For more information about Community Outreach Efforts, Tributary Teams and Partnerships for Restoration – please contact:

Claudia Donegan
DNR Habitat Restoration and Conservation - Community Restoration Program


Contact Information for the Currently Active Tributary Teams

Patapsco/ Back Tributary Team
Contact Stuart Stainman at sstainman@gmail.com

Choptank Tributary Team
Contact Jen Dindinger at jdinding@umd.edu
Web site: http://choptanktribteam.net

Upper Potomac Tributary Team
Contact Julie Pippel at JPippel@washco-md.net

Patuxent River Commission
Contact Jason Dubow at jason.dubow@maryland.gov

Upper Western Shore Tributary Team
Contact Rupert Rossetti at rupertrossetti@aol.com

Middle Potomac Tributary Team
Contact Carlton Haywood at Chaywood@ICPRB.org

Eyes on the Bay

Eyes on the Bay

DNR performs continuous monitoring at many locations throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Get real time information for your area.

Growing Oysters

Growing Oysters

The Marylanders Grow Oysters Program links private pier owners with oyster reef restoration. Oysters are grown, then placed on protected reefs.

Tributary Teams Legacy

Tributary Teams Legacy

DNR honors the Legacy of Maryland's Tributary Teams. Though program funding ended many teams continue their important work,

Thanks Stream Waders

Stream Waders

DNR thanks all our great volunteers working to help us gather data about the rivers and streams of the State. Get involved with the Maryland Stream Waders!

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How Big is the Bay?

The Chesapeake Bay is about 200 miles long. At the Bay Bridge near Annapolis, it is only 4 miles across, but it is 30 miles across at the widest point near the mouth of the Potomac River.

Chesapeake Bay Hotline

Call 1-877-224-7229

to report any of the following

  • Boating accident or reckless activity
  • Fish kill or algal bloom
  • Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation
  • Illegal fishing activity
  • Public sewer leak or overflow
  • Oil or hazardous material spill
  • Critical area or wetlands violation
  • Suspicious or unusual activity