The Chesapeake Executive Council (EC) met at the State House in Annapolis, Maryland on December 5, 2007 to chart a new course to accelerate efforts to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution throughout the Bay watershed.
Led by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Chair of the Executive Council, principals attending the meeting each agreed to “champion” an issue or issues that are vital to restore our streams, rivers and the Bay, intending that the outcomes of the various projects or programs be models that are transferable to towns, municipalities, counties and other cities and states. Looking to the areas of most concern in individual jurisdictions, each leader found that there were specific issues they could focus on, using the expertise available to them. As each ‘Champion' makes progress, they will report back to the partnership and the partners will be encouraged to consider these individual models, and modify them for their respective uses.
Champion issues by jurisdiction:
Chesapeake Bay Commission
- Along with Pennsylvania, the CBC will convene a Biofuels Summit which will explore ways to accelerate use of cellulosic material such as switchgrass as sources of ethanol instead of corn.
- Encourage Congress to pass a Farm Bill that sharply increases funding for conservation practices in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
- Lead the region's action to secure funding from Congress to upgrade the Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant in the District of Columbia, which is the largest single nutrient discharger in the Bay watershed.
- Work with Maryland and Virginia to develop actions that enhance blue crab stock
- Host a workshop on carbon sequestration to help identify activities on agricultural and forest lands that both contribute to Bay restoration efforts and absorb carbon dioxide gas, which contributes to global climate change.
District of Columbia
- Promote green development techniques, including the use of green infrastructure, such as planting urban trees, to reduce runoff.
- Improve accountability in the Bay cleanup through new approaches such as Maryland's “BayStat” program which seeks to target, track and measure the impact of restoration practices.
- Hold Local Leadership Summit that focuses on finding ways to make local governments, communities and citizens true partners in the cleanup effort.
- Along with Virginia and CBC, develop actions that enhance blue crab stock.
- Create an Innovative Technology Fund to promote investments in technologies that could speed Bay restoration efforts. MD and EPA have pledged $250K each and requested contributions from other partners.
- In partnership with CBC, convene a Biofuels Summit which will explore ways to accelerate use of cellulosic material such as switchgrass as sources of ethanol instead of corn.
- Also in partnership with CBC, encourage Congress to pass a Farm Bill that sharply increases funding for conservation practices in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
- Support a study to better understand the movement of sediments trapped behind the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River.
- Share proven strategies, and develop new strategies to engage headwater communities in local water quality activities.
Environmental Protection Agency
- Develop a comprehensive implementation action plan reflecting Federal and State action to restore and protect the watershed and Bay
- Create an Innovative Technology Fund to promote investments in technologies that could speed Bay restoration efforts. EPA and MD have pledged $250K each and requested contributions from other partners.
- Promote green development techniques, including the use of green infrastructure, such as planting urban trees, to reduce runoff in conjunction with the District of Columbia.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Coordinate implementation of Forest Conservation Goals
U.S. Department of the Navy
- Low Impact Development Policy - Implement new policy for "no net increase" of stormwater runoff from all Navy and Marine Corps facilities.
The Executive Council signed a letter to Congress in support of the 2007 Farm Bill. The Council also signed a “2007 Response to Directive 06-1” which commits to conserve an additional 695,000 acres of forest in the watershed, by discouraging conversion of the most valuable forests and giving priority to forests in land conservation programs.
News Release and Meeting Materials:
- Public Meeting Agenda
- Protecting the Forests of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed - 2007 Response to Directive 06-1
- Chesapeake Executive Council Farm Bill Letter
- Bay Region Leaders Take New Actions to Accelerate Chesapeake Clean-up
- Forests in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Backgrounder
- Chesapeake Bay Program Announces Forest Conservation Goals for Watershed