On May 12, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that recognizes the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure and calls on the federal government to lead a renewed effort to restore and protect the nation’s largest estuary and its watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration Executive Order established a Federal Leadership Committee that will oversee the development and coordination of reporting, data management and other activities by agencies involved in Bay restoration. The committee will be chaired by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and include senior representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Transportation and others.
The Executive Order requires that these agencies prepare and submit by September 9, 2009 draft reports that make recommendations to:
- Define the next generation of tools and actions to restore water quality in the Bay and describe the changes to be made to regulations, programs and policies to implement these actions. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- Target resources to better protect the Bay and its rivers, particularly in agricultural conservation practices. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
- Strengthen storm water management practices for federal facilities and federal land within the Bay watershed and develop a best practices guide for reducing polluted runoff. (EPA, Dept of Defense)
- Assess the impacts of climate change on the Bay and develop a strategy for adapting programs and infrastructure to these impacts. (Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Commerce)
- Expand public access to the Bay and its rivers from federal lands and conserve landscapes of the watershed. (Dept. of Interior)
- Expand environmental research, monitoring and observation to strengthen scientific support for decision-making on Bay restoration issues. (Dept. of Interior, Dept of Commerce)
- Develop focused and coordinated habitat and research activities that protect and restore living resources and water quality. (Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Commerce)
Federal agencies will consult extensively with the state governments of the seven Bay jurisdictions -- Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia -- in preparing their reports.
By November 12, the Federal Leadership Committee will integrate these reports into a coordinated strategy for restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. This draft strategy will be available for public comment and a final strategy will be completed by May 12, 2010.
Beginning in 2010, the Federal Leadership Committee will publish an annual Chesapeake Bay Action Plan that describes how federal funding will be allocated toward Bay restoration in the upcoming year. It will be accompanied by an Annual Progress Report that reviews indicators of environmental conditions and assesses implementation of the strategy. An independent evaluator will also periodically report on progress toward meeting the goals of the Executive Order.
Chesapeake Executive Order.pdf (37.50 kb)