Nine months after the signing of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, the Chesapeake Bay Program is seeking public input on our plans to achieve the goals and outcomes of that landmark accord. These twenty-five draft management strategies address the thirty-one outcomes of the Watershed Agreement and outline our plans for the implementation, monitoring and assessment of our work toward the protection and restoration of the Bay, its rivers and streams and the lands that surround them.

“These plans are the detailed outlines of what may be the most extensive collaboration in the nation,” said Molly Ward, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources and Chair of the Bay Program’s Principals’ Staff Committee. “Each one is connected to every other, just like our lands, river, streams and the Bay. As we move forward, we welcome people’s input so that we can strengthen those bonds, becoming even more focused, intentional and unified in our vision of a healthy Bay ecosystem.”

Our efforts toward achieving the Agreement’s thirty-one interconnected outcomes will benefit communities throughout the watershed—across Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.—as we work to maintain the health of local waters, sustain abundant fish and wildlife populations, restore critical habitats, foster engaged and diverse communities through increased public access and education, conserve farmland and forests, and improve the climate resiliency of the region.

“Resiliency in nature comes from diversity. Like the natural ecosystem, our work draws strength from increasing the diversity of our partnerships, increasing local actions for watershed-wide results,” said Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale. “When people from distinct communities across the region – from citizens to communities to local governments – join in the overall effort, everyone benefits.”

In June 2014, representatives from the six watershed states, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed the landmark Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. This agreement marks the first time representatives from every jurisdiction in the watershed committed to full partnership in the Bay Program and our collaborative restoration efforts.

Drafts of the management strategies are available online. The Bay Program welcomes comments on these drafts between March 16 and April 30, 2015. Interested parties can offer input by submitting an online comment or sending an email to the Bay Program.

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Steve Miller

The above comments are right on point. Many years ago, I attended my first CB meeting. At that meeting, a gentleman from US EPA put up a graphic showing how "dead" the Bay had become over the past couple decades. Then he explained that during that same time, there were enough oysters in the Bay to recycle the water in the Bay every so many weeks. Now, there are so few oysters there, that the water doesn't have a chance to get that same cleansing/recycling in a full year. Hence the demise of the Bay. Right away, I thought, maybe we should also work at the oyster population as well.

Frank B

I mirror the comments above. It is apparent to me the basic foundation of the Chesapeake Bay is the oyster and oyster reef system. It creates habitat, fosters life, improves the water quality. With out this foundation we continually see the slide of the other species in the bay. If we want to take the restoration of our public resource seriously, we need to manage oysters to improve reef quality and quantity, assure 3D structure, and assure sustainability. We need to stop measuring success by harvest, and understand we have a sustainable alternative to harvesting wild oysters.

Steve Soverns

With the estimated numbers of wild oysters at
1% of historic levels nothing short of a complete
ban on harvesting should be considered. With the growth of
aquaculture in Mayland and surrounding states the supply of
oysters to the consumer will only increase as wild supplies halt.
A common complaint voiced by watermen is the low income
generated due to poor catch and high operating costs says to me
you have an experienced contractor work force available at low cost.

Shawn Kimbro

We simply MUST protect and grow our wild oyster reefs. The Chesapeake ecosystem depends on it. In 2014 we heard many groups including the Department of Natural Resources thumping their chests about increasing wild oyster harvests. It's past time we made it about how many we can save, not how many we can take.

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