Home Chesapeake Bay Executive Council prepares to set goals for 2025

Chesapeake Bay Executive Council prepares to set goals for 2025

Rebecca Barnabi
chesapeake bay
(© yvonnenavalaney – stock.adobe.com)

The year 2025 was on the minds of members of the Chesapeake Executive Council who gathered Tuesday for their annual meeting.

Chaired by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, who was elected to a second term as council chair, the meeting was held at the U.S. EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Members discussed 2025, the target date for many of the outcomes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, which, according to a press release, the council signed in June 2014. The agreement consists of 10 goals and 31 outcomes with a “vision of fostering an environmentally and economically sustainable watershed with clean water, abundant life, conserved lands and access to the water, a vibrant cultural heritage and a diversity of engaged residents and stakeholders.”

“The Chesapeake Bay is a vital economic engine and an irreplaceable environmental asset,” Regan said in the press release. “EPA is honored to join our partners as we work to deliver on our restoration goals, build resilience to climate change and ensure that the benefits of our efforts are shared by all. With the support of historic levels of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will work to advance our collective commitments to a clean Bay and watershed.”

The council agreed to set a path in the next year to outline necessary steps and prioritize actions needed to meet the targets of the agreement’s outcomes. The council will consider recommendations on how to best address and integrate new science and restoration strategies, as well as emerging issues and changing conditions in the watershed, such as climate change. The council hopes to put the plan into place before the 40th anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Program in 2023.

Besides the agreement, the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL) requires 100 percent of pollution-reducing practices be in place by 2025 to ensure the Bay is in accordance with EPA water quality standards.

“During the past year, significant legislation and appropriations have been adopted at both the state and federal level to accelerate restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Maryland State Sen. Sarah Elfreth, Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, said in the press release. “New funding initiatives in Pennsylvania, climate legislation in Maryland and efforts to improve resiliency in Virginia — all led by Bay Commission members — collectively benefit our shared challenge and common goals. Coupled with important federal action, these initiatives put us on course to maximize our progress to 2025 and beyond.”

The Chesapeake Executive Council was established 39 years ago to guide policy agenda and conservation and restoration goals for the Chesapeake Bay Program. The governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chair of the tri-state legislative Chesapeake Bay Commission and the administrator of the EPA are members of the council.

“Virginia has made a serious commitment toward meeting our 2025 Bay goals, including the record investment of almost $140 million in new cost-share funding for agricultural best management practices, up from $80 million from the previous year,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in the press release. “However, we need to get honest about the 2025 goals. None of the Bay states are on track to meet all of their goals, and we must come together with the EPA to set an appropriate schedule, with realistic goals that are comprehensive, based on actual conditions and monitoring of progress, not just simple modeling.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.