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 draft action plan is open for public comment through March 31. Comments can be submitted through an online feedback form.

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Steve Saari

The District of Columbia Department of the Environment takes a holistic approach to restoring its local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. We are working to implement upland low impact development while simultaneously performing stream restoration work. Federal agencies sometimes negatively impact the District's ability to perform this needed work primarily in two ways:

1) Federal agencies control a great deal of land in the District - more than in any other Bay State. Because of this it is imperative that federal landholders take action to install upland low impact development retrofits, restore stream and wetland habitat, and aid the District in their efforts to do the same on federal lands.

2) Federal agencies oversee certain restoration permitting activities such as stream and wetland restoration permits. The District respects the important role that these agencies play in restoration oversight, however in the past several years the pace of reviews has slowed and there has been some inconsistency over the type of projects permitted and the conditions under which they are allowed to proceed.

Based on these two issues, I am requesting that under the "Restore Clean Water" goal, two tasks be added:

1) Federal agencies (EPA, USACE, USFWS) work to resolve and streamline permitting of stream and wetland restoration projects. This goal should have a deadline for completion (perhaps by 12/2014). By resolving these uncertainties, the federal permitting agencies (EPA, ACE, USFWS) can greatly help the local jurisdictions in their planning and restoration efforts. With this clarity, local jurisdictions can focus on doing the work that needs to be done to restore the Bay.

2) Federal agencies with lands in the District develop specific and detailed plans in cooperation and coordination with the District of Columbia for retrofitting impervious areas to treat stormwater pollution and for restoration of natural areas such as wetlands and streams. These activities would be included in the Federal two year milestones and federal agencies would dedicate funds to their installation. To the extent possible these activities should follow the types and pace of activities laid out in the District's Sustainable DC Plan (

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.


Steve Saari
District of Columbia Department of the Environment

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