RD442 - Report on the Implementation of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement – November 1, 2016

Executive Summary:

Since 1983, the Chesapeake Bay clean-up has been coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Program, a unique regional partnership administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Originally created by the Chesapeake Bay Agreement of 1983, the Program includes all seven bay jurisdictions (Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and the District of Columbia), the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency as well academic, federal, and nonprofit partners. The “Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement"(*1), signed in 2014, expressed a renewed commitment to bay restoration, enumerated specific goals, and laid out concrete benchmarks for evaluating progress. Actionable management strategies were subsequently developed for each area and are in the process of being implemented.

As with any environmental undertaking of this duration and scale, some portions of the Chesapeake Bay restoration have been accomplished more easily than anticipated while others have lagged behind expectations. Many goals are deeply interconnected with their ultimate success reliant on shared habitat or improvements in water quality.

Taken on the whole, evidence indicates an upward trajectory in the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The partnership’s progress towards each goal will be discussed in the following section. Due to limited resources and the abstract nature of some desired outcomes, not all targets can be quantified or tracked on annual basis. Additionally, the bay’s ecology is a frequent focus of observation and study by a variety of governmental and non-governmental entities, complicating the aggregation and complete analysis of all available data. Still, every effort has been made to offer as thorough a summation as possible using reputable, scientifically sound sources. Unless otherwise noted, the facts and figures quoted below were drawn from ChesapeakeProgress(*2), a tool designed and maintained by Chesapeake Bay Program to facilitate oversight, management and public engagement.
(*1) http://www.chesapeakebay.net/documents/ChesapeakeBayWatershedAgreemenetFINAL.pdf
(*2) http://www.chesapeakeprogress.com/about