Chesapeake Bay Executive Order
Protection and Restoration

Final Chesapeake Forest Restoration Strategy Released

December 07 2012

Forest restoration may be the single most important activity to help bring back the Chesapeake ecosystem. Forests are a critical ecosystem component that supports major Chesapeake Bay goals—clean water, healthy watersheds, wildlife habitat, fisheries, land conservation, citizen stewardship, and climate change response. For these reasons, this document was developed as a key supporting action in the 2010 Executive Order (13508) Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

During 2011-2012, the U.S. Forest Service coordinated teams with over 60 representatives from over 30 Federal, State, and nongovernmental organizations to craft the Chesapeake Forest Restoration Strategy. A draft of the Strategy was released in July 2012 for public review, and the valuable input received has been incorporated into the final document. The Strategy has been endorsed by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership and was officially released on December 5 in a signing ceremony with the U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Chesapeake Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale, and State Foresters from the Bay jurisdictions.

Accelerating forest restoration in the Chesapeake will require collaboration among partners in a broad network—Federal and State agencies, local governments, watershed and community organizations, and private partners. The Strategy’s sections advance innovative and collaborative approaches to targeting restoration in areas of greatest opportunity and benefit, focusing on wildlife and fisheries habitat, mine lands, agroforestry, urban and community forestry, and contaminated lands such as brownfields. The Strategy builds on earlier commitments by the Chesapeake Bay States and Federal partners to restore streamside forested buffers at a rate of 900 miles per year and support community tree canopy expansion goals. To learn more and get involved in this partnership effort, please contact Sally Claggett (sclaggett@fs.fed.us) or Julie Mawhorter (jmawhorter@fs.fed.us) of the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Chesapeake Bay Watershed Forestry program.

Download the report (35 mb)

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Draft Model Program to Assist State Septic Programs in Managing Water Quality Impacts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

November 15 2012

EPA is releasing a draft Model Program for Onsite Programs in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for public comment. The draft provides technical information regarding the elements of a model program for onsite wastewater treatment systems that incorporates key recommendations for the effective and efficient management of onsite nitrogen treatment systems. The document is part of EPA’s effort to collaborate with state and local partners in promoting nitrogen reductions from onsite systems in support of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

This draft Model Program addresses a commitment EPA made in the Chesapeake Bay strategy and provides important technical information for those states that have incorporated improved management of onsite systems in their Watershed Implementation Plans. While targeted for the states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Model Program may be of broader interest to other states dealing with the need to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment inputs to other watersheds.

Please review the attached document and submit your comments by December 28, 2012 to: decentralized@epa.gov

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Provide Feedback on the 2013 Action Plan for Executive Order 13508: Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

November 14 2012

The federal agencies directly involved in restoration efforts for the Chesapeake Bay are asking for comments on the Draft Fiscal Year 2013 Action Plan (1.62 mb) as required by Executive Order 13508, the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Federal agencies included in this reports are the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Interior.

The FY 2013 Action Plan includes a tangible list of efforts to be undertaken by federal agencies. While some are continuations of projects started in fiscal years 2011 and 2012, others are new initiatives that build on preparatory work completed earlier. All are designed to increase the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay and achieve the goals set forth in the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

The Action Plan highlights key work to be accomplished to restore clean water, recover habitat, sustain fish and wildlife, and conserve land and increase public access. Collaborative actions will also enhance supporting efforts to expand citizen stewardship, develop environmental markets, respond to climate change, and strengthen science.

Please provide comments (by clicking "Feedback" below and filling out the form) by COB November 27.

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National Park Service Announces FY12 Investments in Education, Youth Programs, and Outdoor Recreation in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

September 05 2012

The National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Bay Office announced today that the NPS is providing financial assistance to 21 partners and 24 projects with a combined financial commitment of $1,363,039. These projects with 21 partners in fiscal year 2012 address education, youth employment and stewardship programs, and public access and trail development in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network and along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Each project is leveraged through additional means such as matching funds, in-kind services, and volunteer hours.

In collaboration with many partners, the National Park Service works to expand public access to the Chesapeake Bay and tributary rivers, build visitor experiences along two national historic trails, develop teacher resources in line with state standards, and expand service and employment opportunities for youth. "Through partner engagement and participation, each of these projects has a positive impact in local communities," said NPS Superintendent John Maounis. "Whether teaching the history of these places, introducing young people to possible career paths, or providing a new place to get to the water, these are investments in quality of life."
   
The Chesapeake Bay Office of the National Park Service administers the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network of partner sites, and also manages two of the nation's nineteen national historic trails. Both trails are comprised of land and water routes accessible through partner sites, are in active stages of development, and offer opportunities for educators and students that are both virtual and place-based. Educational programming, training in stewardship and outdoor recreation skills, and youth employment opportunities all contribute to trail development.

Trail development and youth engagement projects also advance public access goals set through the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the federal response to President Obama's Executive Order 13508. The strategy and subsequent draft public access plan call for the addition of 300 new sites where citizens can have a waterside experience, whether hiking, paddling, enjoying a picnic, or fishing.

Below is a list of 21 partners and 24 projects supported by the National Park Service. Project summaries can be accessed through www.baygateways.net.

Star-Spangled Banner Teacher Symposium
Partner: Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier - Orange, VA
Amount: $36,006

War of 1812 in Southern Maryland: Traveling Exhibit and Traveling Trunks
Partners: Southern Maryland Heritage Area, Calvert Marine Museum, and Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum - Charles County, St. Mary's County, and Calvert County, MD
Amount: $36,000

Maryland Conservation Job Corps on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
Partner: Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Prince George's County, MD
Amount: $40,000

Youth Intern, Chesapeake Youth Corps Network
Partner: Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Annapolis, MD
Amount: $25,000

Youth Workforce Training on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
Partner:   Parks & People Foundation - Baltimore, MD
Amount: $60,000

Youth Intern, Chesapeake Youth Corps Network
Partner: Parks & People Foundation - Baltimore, MD
Amount: $25,000

Virginia Youth Conservation Corps on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Partner: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Richmond, VA
Amount: $40,000

Youth Intern, Chesapeake Youth Corps Network
Partner: James River Association - Richmond, VA
Amount: $25,000

Developing Public Water Access at Piscataway Park
Partner: Accokeek Foundation - Fort Washington, MD
Amount: $58,000

Juniata River Water Trail Access
Partner: Allegheny Ridge Corporation - Mt. Union, and Mapleton, PA
Amount: $17,065

Anacostia Kingfisher Water Trail Master Plan & Public Access Project
Partner: Anacostia Watershed Society - Bladensburg, MD
Amount: $115,000

Benedict Waterfront Village Revitalization, Phase I completion
Partner: Charles County, Maryland
Amount: $44,000

Great Bridge Lock Park Canoe/Kayak Launch
Partner: City of Chesapeake, VA, Parks and Recreation Department - Chesapeake, VA
Amount: $66,000

Mount Harmon Plantation Dock & Water Access Improvement Project
Partner: Friends of Mt. Harmon, Inc. - Earleville, MD
Amount: $85,000

Jersey Shore Borough Access on the Susquehanna River Water Trail - West Branch
Partner: Jersey Shore Borough - Lycoming County, PA
Amount: $75,000

Planning and Design for Two Public Access Points on Cat Point Creek at Menokin
Partner: Menokin Foundation - Warsaw, VA
Amount: $70,000

Access on the Nanticoke River Water Trail
Partner: Nanticoke Watershed Alliance - Vienna, MD
Amount: $35,000

Juniata River Water Trail, Howe Township Boating and Fishing Access Project
Partner: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission - Perry County, PA
Amount: $57,514

Fort Hunter Park Public Access Project on the Susquehanna River Water Trail - Middle Branch
Partner: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission - Dauphin County, PA
Amount: $89,250

Occoquan Water Trail Access Enhancement
Partner: Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation - Woodbridge, VA
Amount: $77,500

Chemung Basin River Trail and Headwaters River Trail Access Project
Partner: Upper Susquehanna Coalition - Chemung County and Otsego County, NY
Amount: $87,523

Interpretive Media along the Star-Spangled Banner Trail in the District of Columbia
Partner: Cultural Tourism DC -District of Columbia
Amount: $67,748

North Point State Battlefield Design
Partner: Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Baltimore County, MD
Amount: $96,433

North Point State Park Visitor Center Exhibit Design
Partner: Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Baltimore County, MD
Amount: $35,000

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Anacostia River Watershed Restoration Plan Released

August 22 2012

The Anacostia River Watershed Restoration Plan identifies problems in the Anacostia Watershed and opportunities for protecting and restoring the watershed. This Plan supports efforts to meet the EO 13508 water quality goal to reduce sediment and nutrients in the Bay by defining existing conditions, identifying specific problems and recommending actions to restore the watershed. Current follow on efforts are underway to implement the recommendations. The report can be found at http://www.anacostia.net/

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Fiscal Year 2012 Action Plan for Executive Order 13508: Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

March 30 2012

As required by Executive Order 13508, each year, the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake Bay—composed of representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior and Transportation—issues a Chesapeake Bay Action Plan. This Action Plan covers fiscal year 2012, which runs from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012.  The FY 2012 Action Plan includes a tangible list of efforts to be undertaken by federal agencies, many in cooperation with state and local partners. While some are continuations of projects started in FY 2011, others are new initiatives that build on preparatory work completed earlier. All are designed to increase the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay and achieve the goals set forth in the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

The Action Plan highlights key work to be accomplished to restore clean water, recover habitat, sustain fish and wildlife, and conserve land and increase public access. Collaborative actions will also enhance supporting efforts to expand citizen stewardship, develop environmental markets, respond to climate change, and strengthen science.  The plan also contains two-year milestones that highlight key efforts that are needed for each Executive Order goal and supporting strategy.

Download the Executive Order 13508 2012 Action Plan (2.00 mb). Detailed information on 2012 activities.

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Fiscal Year 2011 Progress Report for Executive Order 13508: Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

March 30 2012

In addition to an annual Action Plan, the Federal Leadership Committee issues an annual Progress Report.  This Progress Report highlights actions achieved under the first Action Plan, issued for Fiscal Year 2011, which ran October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011.  While much of FY 2011 focused on setting the road map for the way forward, significant progress toward overall Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed goals was achieved.  Many of the FY 2011 highlights featured collaboration among federal agencies, eliminating duplication of effort, enabling best use of federal resources, and allowing each agency to bring its specific skills to bear on a given project—meaning that the total is more than the sum of its parts.

Download the Executive Order 2011 Annual Progress Report (2.42 mb). Detailed information on 2011 progress.

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2012-2013 Federal Programmatic Milestones Released

January 06 2012

As called for in the EO 13508 Strategy, the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake Bay has released final 2012-2013 federal programmatic milestones for water quality restoration.  These milestones represent the collective commitments of six different federal agencies who are among the federal partners that are providing leadership in the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.  The milestones, which will help to ensure accountability, are near-term targets for making incremental progress toward achieving our shared 2025 implementation goals.  They are designed to support the Bay jurisdictions in meeting their water quality standards and in achieving the pollution reduction goals described in the jurisdictions' Watershed Implementation Plans.

Download the 2012-2013 federal programmatic milestones.

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Federal Strategy for Chesapeake Launches Major Initiatives and Holds Government Accountable for Progress

May 12 2010

Download the Executive Summary (872.17 kb)

Download the Full Strategy (7.79 mb)

The new federal strategy for the Chesapeake region released today focuses on protecting and restoring the environment in communities throughout the 64,000-square-mile watershed and in its thousands of streams, creeks and rivers. The strategy includes using rigorous regulations to restore clean water, implementing new conservation practices on 4 million acresof farms, conserving 2 million acres of undeveloped land and rebuilding oysters in 20 tributaries of the bay. To increase accountability, federal agencies will establish milestones every two years for actions to make progress toward measurable environmental goals. These will support and complement the states’ two-year milestones. 

The “Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed” was developed under the executive order issued by President Obama in May 2009, which declared the Chesapeake Bay a national treasure and ushered in a new era of shared federal leadership, action and accountability. 

The strategy deepens the federal commitment to the Chesapeake region, with agencies dedicating unprecedented resources, targeting actions where they can have the most impact, ensuring that federal lands and facilities lead by example in environmental stewardship and taking a comprehensive, ecosystem-wide approach to restoration. Many of the federal actions will directly support restoration efforts of local governments, nonprofit groups and citizens and provide economic benefits across the Chesapeakeregion. 

“This strategy outlines the broadest partnerships, the strongest protections and the most accountability we've seen in decades. It's a new era for our work on the Chesapeake Bay,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who chairs the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake.“Through President Obama's leadership and the commitment of many active stakeholders, we have an historic opportunity to restore the environmental health of these waters and the vibrant economy of this community.” 

To restore clean water, EPA will implement the Chesapeake total maximum daily load (a pollution diet for the Chesapeake Bayand local waterways), expand regulation of urban and suburban stormwater and concentrated animal feeding operations and increase enforcement activities and funding for state regulatory programs. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide farmers and forestowners throughout the bay watershed with the resources to prevent soil erosion and keep nitrogen and phosphorous out of local waterways. USDA will target federal funding to the places where it will have the greatest water quality impact and ensure that agricultural producers’ conservation efforts are accurately reported. USDA will also lead a federal initiative to develop a watershed-wide environmental services market that would allow producers to generate tradable water quality credits in return for installing effective conservation practices.  

“A thriving, sustainable agricultural sector is critical to restoration of the Chesapeake Bay,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We will help the bay watershed’s farmers and forest owners put new conservation practices on 4 million acres of agricultural lands so that agriculture can build on the improvements in nutrient and sediment reductions that we have seen over the last 25 years.” 

Conserving 2 million acres of natural areas, forests and farmland preserves the environmental, recreational, cultural and economic benefits these lands provide. To protect priority lands, the Department of the Interior will launch a collaborative Chesapeake Treasured Landscape Initiative and expand land conservation by coordinating federal funding and providing community assistance. Interior will also develop a plan for increasing public access to the bay and its rivers.           

“Under the leadership of President Obama, our strategy provides the blueprint for finally restoring the Chesapeake Bay to health – its bountiful wildlife, abundant fish and shellfish, beautiful waterways and rich wetlands,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “My department, which has 13 refuges and 51 units of the National Park System throughout the watershed, will play a key role in the plan, working hand-in-hand with other federal agencies, states, local communities and other stakeholders to restore this national treasure cherished by so many.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will launch a bay-wide oyster restoration strategy in close collaboration with Maryland and Virginia that focuses on priority tributaries, expands commercial aquaculture and bolsters research onoyster stock, habitat and restoration progress. Oysters are among the bay’s most struggling species and restoration in 20 tributaries will yield great environmental and economic benefits. 

"Oysters are a key species for Chesapeake Bay restoration. Not only are they important to seafood lovers, but they cleanse water and form reef habitat," said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. "It is critical that we apply our best science toward native oyster restoration and habitat protection, as well as toward development of sustainable aquaculture. Ecosystem-based approaches to management will enable progress toward a healthy, sustainable Chesapeake ecosystem that will include oysters for generations to come.” 

Several overarching approaches in the strategy are also important:

Short-term action: To accelerate the pace of restoration and protection, many actions occur in the next few years, and many of the actions are “on-the-ground” and “in-the-water” all around the Chesapeake watershed.

Supporting local efforts: The strategy is designed to directly support the restoration activities of local governments, watershed groups, county conservation districts, landowners and citizens.

Benefiting economies and jobs: Many actions will provide economic benefits, including conservation of working farms, expanded oyster aquaculture, support for conservation corps programs and green jobs, and development of an environmental marketplace for selling, buying and trading credits for pollution reductions.

Targeting of resources: Agencies will be aggressively targeting resources where they can have the most impact – areas with the most pollution and potential for runoff, with the highest potential for restoring fish and wildlife, and with habitats and lands most in need of protection.

EPA Release Final Guidance on Federal Land Management

May 12 2010

Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Section 502 calls upon the Administrator of EPA to publish guidance for federal land management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. EPA’s objective in developing the guidance is to provide the information that will allow federal agencies to lead by their example.  The guidance provides information and data on appropriate proven and cost-effective tools and practices for implementation on federal lands and at federal facilities.

From the perspective of land management and water quality restoration/protection, this set of “proven cost-effective tools and practices that reduce water pollution” is also useful for nonfederal land managers to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay.  These tools and practices, when implemented broadly, would significantly advance the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

Extensive studies of the Chesapeake Bay indicate that the great majority of nonpoint sources in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will need to be controlled, and controlled well, in order to restore the Bay. Accordingly, this guidance has chapters addressing the categories of nonpoint source pollution from federal land management activity in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that are sources of nutrients and sediments currently contributed to the Bay.  The categories of activity addressed in this guidance are agriculture, urban and suburban, including turf, forestry, riparian areas, decentralized wastewater treatment systems, and hydromodification.

Each chapter contains one or more "implementation measures" that provide the framework for the chapter.  These are intended to convey the actions that will help ensure that the broad goals of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order can be achieved.  Each chapter also includes information on practices that can be used to achieve the goals; information on the effectiveness and costs of the practices; where relevant, cost savings or other economic/societal benefits (in addition to the pollutant reduction benefits) that derive from the implementation goals and/or practices; and copious references to other documents that provide additional information.

The guidance is available at http://www.epa.gov/nps/chesbay502/