Governor Martin O'Malley (Md.), left, talks with Governor Terry McAuliffe (Va.) as members of the Executive Council walk from the Maryland State House to the site of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement signing. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

On June 16, 2014, the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Executive Council signed the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, which the Bay Program uses to guide its efforts today. This landmark agreement established goals for the restoration of the Bay, its tributaries and the lands that surround them. It also—for the first time—included the Bay’s headwater states of Delaware, New York and West Virginia as signatories, along with the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

The Watershed Agreement established 10 goals to enhance the protection and restoration of the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed:

  1. Protect, restore and enhance sustainable fisheries.
  2. Restore, enhance and protect vital habitats.
  3. Improve water quality.
  4. Reduce toxic contaminants.
  5. Sustain healthy watersheds.
  6. Increase climate resiliency.
  7. Conserve land.
  8. Promote stewardship.
  9. Expand public access to the water.
  10. Increase environmental literacy.

“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,” said then Governor O’Malley, chair of the Executive Council at the time. “Finally, it builds upon the strength of our diverse citizenry, calling to action the nearly 18 million people that call our watershed home.”

“Together, we can and will achieve our united vision of a healthy Bay and a productive watershed, cared for by engaged citizens at every level.”

Learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

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