DOINews: Six Governors, D.C. Mayor, Federal Agencies and Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair Sign Landmark Agreement to Restore Bay

Last edited 09/05/2019

NPS-NE Region photo of the Chesapeake Bay at sunset

On Monday, June 16, six states and the District of Columbia; the Chesapeake
Bay Commission; and many federal agencies, including those of the Department of
the Interior, signed the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement,
re-committing themselves to restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Home to 18 million people, the Chesapeake Bay watershed is a drainage
basin of 64,000 square miles that flows into the Chesapeake Bay, the largest
estuary in North America and the second largest in the world.

Agreement signatories represented at a signing ceremony in
Annapolis, Md., included the governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania,
Virginia and West Virginia; the mayor of the District of Columbia; the chair of
the Chesapeake Bay Commission; and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency on behalf of the federal government.

"Today we celebrate the most inclusive, collaborative,
goal-oriented agreement the Chesapeake Bay watershed has ever seen, highlighted
by unprecedented participation from the headwater states and the public,"
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said at the ceremony in Annapolis. "This
Agreement not only addresses our continuing water quality and land use
challenges, it also confronts critical emerging issues — environmental literacy,
toxic contaminants and climate change."

The agreement contains 10 goals and 29 measurable,
time-bound outcomes that will help create a healthy watershed: they will lower
nutrient and sediment pollution; ensure Chesapeake waters are free of toxic
contaminants; sustain blue crabs, oysters and forage fish; restore wetlands,
underwater grass beds and other habitats; conserve farmland and forests; boost
public access to and education about the bay and its tributaries; and increase
the climate resiliency of the watershed's resources, habitats and communities.

Years in the making, this landmark set of goals and outcomes
has been mutually agreed upon by Bay Program partners.

"This agreement aligns closely with strategies developed by
federal agencies in response to President Obama's Executive Order on Bay
protection and restoration," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who also
chairs the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake Bay and signed on
behalf of Interior and other federal departments. "Together, we demonstrate our
commitment toward a common goal — a restored, healthy and economically vibrant

The agreement was developed with input from citizens and
stakeholders, who submitted thousands of comments during two public review
periods. Public input had a direct impact on the content of the agreement — influencing partners to add goals related to environmental
stewardship, toxic contaminants and climate change — and will continue to
contribute to how the agreement is achieved.

Chuck Hunt, superintendent of the Chesapeake Bay Program for the National Park Service, notes that, "The agreement has been the product of countless hours of work by partnering states; many other partners, such as the District of Columbia and the Chesapeake Bay Commission; and many federal agencies including ours. The Chesapeake Bay and its rivers are American treasures. Through this agreement, we are committing to restore and protect these treasures for many generations to come."

For the combined Federal Leadership Council FY 2014 action strategy for the Chesapeake, see the full report here.

For information on the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Coastal program, click here

For an overview of USGS Chesapeake
Bay activities, click here.



By: Joan Moody, senior public affairs specialist, DOI Office of Communications
June 17, 2014

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