In October 2021, President Biden appointed Adam Ortiz as the Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mid-Atlantic Region (Region 3). In this role, Ortiz is deeply involved with the work of the Chesapeake Bay Program, representing the EPA’s leadership in the partnership and currently serving as the chair of the partnership’s Principals’ Staff Committee. We spoke with Ortiz to learn more about what he envisions for the Bay Program in 2022, including his approach toward flood control, climate change and the goals and outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, most notably the 2025 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs). The 2025 WIPs is an outcome that strives to have all practices and controls in place to achieve applicable water quality standards as articulated in the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load by 2025.

  1. (05 - 1:25) First, could you describe your role at the EPA and how it relates to the Chesapeake Bay Program?
  2. (1:30 - 2:30) You grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley but moved to the Washington, D.C. area soon after college. Now as a local to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, what is your favorite place in the region or activity to do outside?
  3. (2:30 - 3:34) There are a number of issues and challenges to address when restoring the Chesapeake Bay. With that said, what priorities do you see for the Chesapeake Bay Program as a partnership?
  4. (3:40 - 5:25) In 2020, the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Executive Council signed a statement in support of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ). How do you see the Bay Program approaching DEIJ related issues within the watershed?
  5. (5:32 - 6:57) The Bay Program is working towards a number of goals to achieve by 2025, including the 2025 WIPs. Regarding the partnership’s goals and outcomes, what do you see as the best approach towards meeting them?
  6. (7:04 - 8:55) Climate change is a serious issue and in many ways makes the job of restoring the Chesapeake Bay and protecting its wildlife even more difficult. What do you see as the Bay Program’s approach towards combating the effects of climate change?
  7. (9:02 - 10:56) There are a number of fast growing areas in the watershed, and often times development can lead to stormwater runoff, which impairs local streams and rivers. How do you think a region like the watershed can accommodate new residents while protecting waterways?
  8. (11:03 - 12:31) Following up on that question, how do green infrastructure practices, like trees, rain gardens and living shorelines play a role?
  9. (12:38 - 13:33) The Chesapeake Bay has a watershed spanning six states plus Washington DC., which means pollution reduction needs to happen well outside just the Bay itself. Why should someone in a community like Pennsylvania or West Virginia care about the health of the Bay?
  10. (14:00 - 15:45) There are a number of federal plans to restore ecosystems and combat climate change, including the Build Back Better Plan, Chesapeake Wild, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and 30 by 30. How do you think the Chesapeake Bay Program can benefit from these federal plans to achieve progress here?

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