On 10 September 2009, seven federal agencies released draft reports aimed at accelerating the cleanup and recovery of the Chesapeake Bay. The reports are an outgrowth of an Executive Order issued by President Obama in May 2009 and will be used to develop an integrated strategy for restoring the Bay, which remains degraded despite decades of restoration efforts.

The draft reports identify seven priorities for protecting and restoring the watershed, including: 1) developing new tools and regulations for restoring water quality, 2) better prioritizing conservation resources, 3) improving storm water management practices, 4) assessing the impacts of climate change, 5) protecting open spaces and expanding public access to the Bay, 6) strengthening science for decision making, and 7) protecting and restoring habitats.

While much of the plan focuses on the prioritization and acceleration of funding, interagency/intergovernmental coordination, and new regulations, the need for science crosscuts many recommendations. Ecosystem-based management is identified as the approach necessary for achieving sustainability in the region. The report also calls for the development of a new Chesapeake Bay research plan and for the expansion of existing monitoring and observation networks to encompass the entire watershed, from uplands to estuaries to the ocean. One of the recommendations regarding climate change is to create a central climate coordination program for the Bay. Additionally, new climate models, remote sensing, and observation stations are needed to better understand, predict, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

The reports were prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, and Transportation. To read the draft reports, please visit http://executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net.

 


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