Chesapeake Bay Program

Project Description
The Chesapeake Bay Program is the unique regional partnership that's
been directing and conducting the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay
since the signing of the historic Chesapeake Bay Agreement of
1983. The Bay Program partners includethe states of Maryland,
Pennsylvania and Virginia; the District of Columbia; the Chesapeake
Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative body; the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, representing the federal government; and
participating advisory groups.

As the largest estuary in the United States and one of the most
productive in the world, the Chesapeake Bay was this nation's first
estuary targeted for restoration and protection. In the late 1970s,
scientific and estuarine research on the Bay pinpointed three areas
requiring immediate attention: nutrient over-enrichment, dwindling
underwater Bay grasses and toxic pollution. Once the initialresearch
was completed, the Bay Program evolved as the means to restore this
exceptionally valuable resource.

Since its inception in 1983, the Bay Program's highest priority has
been the restoration of the Bay's living resources- its finfish,
shellfish, Bay grasses, and other aquatic life and
wildlife. Improvements include fisheries and habitat restoration,
recovery of Bay grasses, nutrient and toxic reductions, and
significant advances in estuarine science.

Considered a national and international model for estuarine research
and restoration programs, the Bay Program is a partnership led by the
Chesapeake Executive Council. The members of the Executive Council are
the governors of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania; the mayor of the
District of Columbia; the administrator of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. The
Executive Council meets annually to establish the policy direction for
the Bay Program.

In the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement , the Executive Council set a
goal to reduce the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous entering the Bay
by 40% by 2000. Achieving a 40% nutrient reduction will ultimately
improve the oxygen levels in Baywaters and encourage aquatic life to
flourish. In 1992, the Bay Program partners agreed to continue the 40%
reduction goal beyond 2000 as well as to attack nutrients at their
source - upstream in the Bay's tributaries. As a result, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia began developing
tributary strategies to achieve nutrient reduction targets.

On June 28, 2000, the Chesapeake Bay Program partners signed the new
Chesapeake 2000 Agreement, which will guide the next decade of
restoration and protection efforts throughout the Bay watershed. The
agreement commits to protecting and restoring living resources, vital
habitats and water quality of the Bay and its watershed.

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