On June 28, 2000, the Chesapeake Executive Council met in Friendship, Maryland to sign a new agreement that will guide the next decade of restoration in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The agreement contains commitments that will improve water quality and protect living resources in the Bay and its tributaries. It will also remove the Bay from the federal list of impaired waters by 2010. This action by the Executive Council -- Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening; Pennsylvania Governor Thomas J. Ridge; Virginia Governor James S. Gilmore, III; District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner; and Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair Bill Bolling -- culminates two years of work to develop the new agreement. The jurisdictions and governmental bodies represented in the Executive Council lead the cooperative Chesapeake Bay Program. Council members also selected Mayor Williams to serve as chair of the Executive Council for the next year. Gov. Glendening has served as chair since 1997.
Chesapeake 2000: A Watershed Partnership is the most comprehensive and far-reaching agreement in the Bay Program’s history. The primary goal of the new agreement is to improve water quality sufficiently to sustain the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries and to maintain that water quality into the future. This will mean setting increased nutrient reduction goals and for the first time setting sediment reduction goals Baywide. Meeting these water quality standards by 2010 will preclude the need for regulatory measures slated to begin in 2011. EPA has placed the Bay and its tidal waters on the impaired waters list for an over abundance of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus.
The agreement has five sections containing commitments to protect and restore living resources, vital habitats, and water quality through sound land use by promoting stewardship and engaging communities throughout the 64,000 square mile watershed. The agreement is designed to build on past restoration actions and will continue all Bay Program commitments outlined in previous agreements or Executive Council directives.
Specific restoration commitments include:
- Increase the number of native oysters tenfold by 2010
- Restore blue crabs by establishing harvest targets and implementing complementary state management plans Baywide
- New wetlands restoration and protection goals
- Reduce the loss rate of farm and forest land to harmful sprawl development in the watershed by 30 percent by 2012
- Permanently preserve from development 20 percent of the lands in the watershed by 2010
- Strive for zero release of chemical contaminants from point sources by 2010
- Provide a meaningful outdoor Bay or stream experience for every school student in the watershed before graduation from high school, beginning with the Class of 2005
Expand public access by 30 percent by 2010, and add 500 miles of water trails
Chesapeake 2000 becomes the third Bay Agreement written to guide the actions of the multi-jurisdictional Chesapeake Bay Program. The first agreement, creating the Bay Program, was signed in 1983. A second was signed in 1987 and amended in 1992. Scientists, local government officials and conservation leaders all played a role in developing the new agreement. The process also included considerable public input and review. Most commitments in the new agreement are scheduled for completion within ten years. It is already being used to guide the use of Bay Program partner resources.