The federal agencies leading the effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay are seeking feedback on a draft action plan that outlines the coming year’s cleanup efforts.
Image courtesy Craig Piersma/Flickr
The action plan was written to fulfill the directive of Executive Order 13508, which in 2009 called on federal agencies to work with state and local partners to restore clean water, recover habitat, sustain fish and wildlife, and conserve land and increase public access in the watershed.
For the first time, this annual action plan has been combined with a progress report on the 2013 efforts of the Federal Leadership Committee. The committee includes representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior and Transportation, and is chaired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The federal agencies leading the watershed-wide effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay have released a progress report highlighting the work that was completed last year.
Federal agencies and state and local partners have added 20 new monitoring stations to the Bay and its tributaries, expanding their ability to track changes in water quality and pollution. They have established conservation practices across Bay farms and forests, installing streamside fencing to keep livestock out of waterways and planting cover crops to reduce the need for nutrient-laden fertilizers. And they have planted close to 100 acres of oyster reefs in a Maryland tributary and opened more than 30 miles of Virginia and Pennsylvania streams to eels, shad and other diadromous fish, restoring habitat for some of the watershed’s most critical critters.
But much remains to be done, and the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake Bay has outlined future work in a 2013 action plan.
“EPA and our other federal partners are pleased to report the tangible progress we’ve made over the past year, which will inform, guide and accelerate our collective actions going forward,” said EPA’s Nick DiPasquale, Chesapeake Bay Program Director. “The federal agencies and our partner jurisdictions are accountable to the citizens living near the local rivers and streams that also stand to benefit from this critical restoration work. Through our commitments, the prospects for increased momentum and improvements to the Bay’s health should be encouraging to everyone.
The federal agencies leading the watershed-wide endeavor to restore the Chesapeake Bay have outlined next year’s cleanup and restoration efforts in a 2013 action plan.
The work that the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake Bay has set out for fiscal year 2013 will build on established projects and begin new initiatives to restore clean water, recover habitat, sustain fish and wildlife, and boost land conservation and public access across the watershed. Supporting efforts will also expand citizen stewardship, respond to climate change and strengthen science.
The 2013 action plan includes a list of tangible efforts that federal agencies and state and local partners have pledged to undertake, from monitoring the return of migratory fish to streams in which passage barriers have been removed to helping landowners implement conservation practices on farms and in forests.
The action plan is meant to meet the goals set forth in the federal Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Bay, which in 2009 called for the restoration and protection of the watershed. Close to half a billion dollars has been requested for the work outlined in the plan; the plan will be followed this spring with a progress report.
The federal agencies leading the watershed-wide endeavor to restore the Chesapeake Bay are seeking feedback on a draft action plan that outlines next year’s cleanup efforts.
From increasing public access to the Bay and its rivers to boosting conservation practices on farms and private lands, the action plan is meant to meet the goals set forth in the federal Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Bay, which in 2009 called for the restoration and protection of the watershed.
Some of the proposed restoration plans are extensions of established projects, while others are new initiatives.
The action plan is open for public comment through November 27. Comments can be submitted through an online feedback form.
Seven federal agencies involved in Chesapeake Bay restoration have released a progress report and action plan that detail achievements and initiatives toward the goals outlined in the federal Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay.
The federal government releases a progress report and action plan each year as part of the strategy, which was developed in response to President Obama’s May 2009 Chesapeake Bay Executive Order.
The fiscal year 2011 progress report details the steps federal agencies took toward achieving strategy goals. Although much of the year focused on setting a “road map” for the future, federal agencies also collaborated to eliminate duplication of efforts, enable best use of resources, and bring each agency’s unique skills to restoration projects.
The fiscal year 2012 action plan includes a list of tangible efforts federal agencies will tackle to improve the Bay’s health. Some of these initiatives are continuations of projects stared the previous year, whereas others are new initiatives that build on the past.
The seven federal agencies included in these reports are the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior and Transportation.
Visit the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order website to read the progress report and action plan.
The federal government is looking for feedback on the first set of short-term water quality goals, or “milestones,” as part of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order.
The “Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed” calls upon the federal government to join the seven Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions – Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia – in establishing two-year milestones: short-term restoration goals set every two years that lead up to a long-term cleanup deadline.
The draft water quality milestones were selected because they represent activities that can result in large environmental improvements, need significant resources or directly support the states in meeting their Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs).
You can provide feedback on the draft water quality milestones at the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order website by Nov. 30, 2011.
The final federal water quality two-year milestones will be announced by Jan. 7, 2012, along with the Bay jurisdictions’ 2012-2013 milestones and the federal milestones for the other four goal areas (habitat, fish and wildlife, land conservation and public access, and supporting strategies).
Visit the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order website to learn more about the federal strategy to protect and restore the Bay.
The Bay Program has launched a website for the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration, http://executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net, which will be used to distribute news, events, documents and other information from the various federal agencies working on a new strategy to advance Bay cleanup.
On May 12, 2009, President 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 Executive Order website includes a blog that will feature a variety of content about the Executive Order, such as discussions about Bay problems, announcements of upcoming public meetings, and documents required by the Executive Order. Through the website the public can provide comments about the Executive Order and use online tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to track Executive Order activities.
“Government transparency and accountability during the Executive Order process is of paramount importance and the website will assist the federal government in achieving these goals,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who is also chair of the Federal Leadership Committee overseeing development of the Executive Order. “It is vital to allow the 17 million residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to participate in the development of new strategies to restore the Bay and using online technology is an effective way to engage the public.”
On September 9, the Bay Program will publish to the website draft reports on how federal agencies will address topics including water pollution, climate change and public access. By November 9, these reports will be merged into a draft strategy for restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay, which also will be published on the website.
Input from the public is critically important to the federal agencies as the various reports and overall strategy are created. When the draft strategy is released on November 9, the formal public comment period will begin. Until then, feedback can be posted on the website under the Provide Comments section. The federal agencies will receive any comments that are posted online.