by Rachel Felver
June 10, 2020
Home to more than 3,600 species of plants and animals and over 18 million people representing a variety of races and ethnicities, the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, providing approximately 8.3 million jobs and an annual income of almost $400 billion across its watershed. This type of unique ecosystem requires a unique partnership to guide and protect the diversity of its lands, people, culture and waters.
The Chesapeake Bay Program may have a physical office in Annapolis, Md. but its powerful presence spreads across the 64,000-square-mile watershed. Underneath its umbrella lies federal agencies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, state agencies, local governments and businesses that come together to move the needle on Bay restoration.
The voices of all these partners speak for the forests, fields, rivers and people that make up the watershed. Since the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement was signed in 1983, we’ve recognized that our strength lies within our ability to collaborate and convene as partners, working across geographical and political boundaries.
The most recent Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, signed in 2014, was a landmark document that spanned geographic boundaries to bring the Bay’s headwaters states into the partnership for the first time. The agreement contains 10 goals, of which each is linked to a set of outcomes, 31 in all. It recognizes that our environment is an interrelated system and to achieve a healthy Bay, it not only requires clean water, abundant life, conserved lands and access to the water, but a vibrant cultural heritage and a diversity of engaged citizens and stakeholders.
For the first time, the Chesapeake Bay Program committed to further involving diverse stakeholders not currently represented in our leadership, decision-making or restoration efforts. When diversity is considered in the planning and implementation of conservation and restoration work, it is likely that all watershed communities will benefit. Including previously underrepresented communities in our work fosters creativity, drives innovation and ensures all people in the watershed share in the vibrancy of the region.
Our partnership works together not only in pursuit of a healthy Bay, but to restore and enhance our communities, to ensure every person, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious faith or income level, has access to and can enjoy the many bounties of this national treasure.
A diversity of voices is both an asset and a necessity to restoring our Bay and local waterways. To that end, the Chesapeake Bay Program is in the process of finalizing a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Strategy, which will be released this summer. As partners, we are stronger together in our mission to ensure our work is done in an equitable and just manner. And we stand together to support one another in our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Please read on for statements from the many partners who make up the Chesapeake Bay Program.
- Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: We are an Alliance of allies
- American Forests: Speaks out against racism
- Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy: Statement
- Bluewater Baltimore: We are stronger together
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice
- Chesapeake Bay Trust: Standing strong against acts of racism
- Chesapeake Conservancy: Today we honor these powerful words spoken of Martin Luther King, Jr. by U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy: “with love and compassion”
- Choose Clean Water Coalition: Our commitment to equity
- College of William and Mary: Standing together
- Commonwealth of Virginia: Governor Northam statement on recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery
- Cornell Cooperative Extension: Statement on the recent killings of black people in America
- Cornell University: Statement on the recent killings of black people in America
- Dickinson College: A message from President Ensign
- Johns Hopkins University: Johns Hopkins shares message of solidarity against racism
- International City/County Management Association: Anger, hope and leading in times of turmoil
- Land Trust Alliance: We flourish together
- National Geographic Society: To enact change in the world, we must protest
- National Wildlife Federation: Statement
- The Nature Conservancy: Environmentalists cannot remain silent on racism
- NatureServe: Message of solidarity from NatureServe
- North American Association for Environmental Education: Letter from Executive Director: June 3, 2020
- Northern Virginia Regional Commission: Mayors and chairs of region issue statement on killing of George Floyd
- Old Dominion University: Message from President Broderick
- Pennsylvania State University: A message from Penn State President Eric J. Barron
- Potomac Conservancy: Potomac Conservancy statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement
- Smithsonian: Statement from Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch
- Smithsonian Environmental Research Center: Words from our director, confronting racial inequality
- State of New York: Governor Cuomo responds to nationwide protests following death of George Floyd: ‘We have an injustice in the criminal justice system that is abhorrent’—but violence ‘obscures the righteousness of the message and the mission’
- Student Conservation Association: Statement by SCA CEO & President Stephanie Meeks on national outrage and unrest
- Tetra Tech: A message from CEO & Chairman Dan Batrack
- University of Delaware: We can do better as a university community
- University of Maryland: Pines: Stand in solidarity, unite against injustice
- University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science: A statement from President Goodwin on UMCES’ commitment to diversity
- University of Maryland School of Public Health: A message from Dean Lushniak on confronting racism as a public health crisis
- University of Pennsylvania: A message from Provost Wendell Pritchett on the campaign for community
- University of Virginia: Looking back, looking forward
- Virginia Conservation Network: Conservation community releases statements on the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and nation-wide protests
- Virginia Cooperative Extension: Statement
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: A statement from President Tim Sands and Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity Menah Pratt-Clarke
- Waterkeeper Alliance: We have to do more to fight racism
- West Virginia University: Gee calls on higher ed to create necessary dialogues, asks WVU community to lean on Mountaineer values in wake of Floyd, ‘countless other black deaths’