Chesapeake Bay Executive Order
Protection and Restoration

2012-2013 Federal Programmatic Milestones Released

January 06 2012

As called for in the EO 13508 Strategy, the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake Bay has released final 2012-2013 federal programmatic milestones for water quality restoration.  These milestones represent the collective commitments of six different federal agencies who are among the federal partners that are providing leadership in the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.  The milestones, which will help to ensure accountability, are near-term targets for making incremental progress toward achieving our shared 2025 implementation goals.  They are designed to support the Bay jurisdictions in meeting their water quality standards and in achieving the pollution reduction goals described in the jurisdictions' Watershed Implementation Plans.

Download the 2012-2013 federal programmatic milestones.

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Provide feedback on the Draft Federal Programmatic Two-Year Milestones for Water Quality

November 01 2011

The Executive Order 13508 Strategy calls upon federal agencies to join the Chesapeake Bay watershed jurisdictions in establishing two-year milestones. The first set of draft programmatic two-year milestones for water quality available for feedback are for calendar years 2012 and 2013.  The list represents federal agency  programmatic (non-facility) milestones for the EO 13508 Restore Clean Water goal area.  The milestones were selected to represent the activities that have the potential to have significant environmental outcomes, that require significant resources, or that directly support the jurisdictions in meeting Watershed Implementation Plan commitments. 

The final federal water quality two-year milestones will be announced with the jurisdictions’ 2012-2013 milestones and the federal milestones for the other strategy goal areas - Recover Habitat, Sustain Fish and Wildlife, Conserve Land and Increase Public Access, and Supporting Strategies - by January 7, 2012. 

Download the Draft Federal Programmatic Two-Year Milestones for Water Quality (443.68 kb).

Please provide any feedback on these draft milestones by November 30, 2011.

$491 Million in Federal Resources Targeted for Chesapeake Bay Restoration in FY 2011

September 30 2010

Federal agencies working together to implement President Obama’s Chesapeake Bay Executive Order have published a first-annual Action Plan that details $491 million in fiscal year 2011 funding and activities dedicated to restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, including meeting the specific goals set forth in the Executive Order strategy.

Download the Action Plan: Chesapeake EO Action Plan FY2011.pdf (726.29 kb)

The 2011 Action Plan, required by the Executive Order, conveys the full scope of on-the-ground and in-the water efforts the federal government will undertake between October 1, 2010, and September 30, 2011 in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These actions and initiatives are based on the President’s FY 2011 Budget Request and are contingent upon receipt of congressional appropriations in support of that request. 

“The Action Plan for FY 2011 reflects a deep commitment and unprecedented coordination among federal agencies and the Obama Administration to improve our results in protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed,” said Pete Silva, EPA Associate Administrator for Water. “The proposed funding and planned activities will help support state and local efforts, as well as be an investment in countless communities and local economies throughout the region.”

Allocations are based on funding proposed in the President’s Budget that is directly attributable to implementing the Executive Order strategy by the FLC agencies. This includes direct budgets for Chesapeake Bay activities, allocations of agency base funding toward the Executive Order strategy and shares of national programs that can be attributed to supporting the Executive Order strategy in the Chesapeake watershed.

Among the restoration projects and programs identified for FY 2011: $72 million in financial and technical assistance targeted to help farmers implement voluntary conservation practices in high-priority areas; over $20 million directly to the states and the District to implement stronger regulatory and accountability programs to control urban, suburban, and agricultural runoff; and $30 million dollars for land protection. The Action Plan also includes projects to restore fish passage to 67 miles of streams and design more than 60 acres of oyster reefs for establishment in the Piankatank River.

“USDA, alongside its federal partners, stands ready to provide historic levels of financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in the coming year,” said Ann Mills, USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment. “Each conservation practice implemented by producers will help Bay states achieve their TMDL milestones.”

Following the structure of the Executive Order strategy, the Action Planis organized into four goal areas (water quality, habitat, fish and wildlife and land and public access) and four supporting strategy sections (citizen stewardship, environmental markets, climate change and science). It also includes a brief section on implementation and accountability efforts.

Throughout each section of the Action Plan, specific activities, lead agencies and completion dates for each activity are identified. At the end of each goal or supporting strategy section is a summary of funding by outcome and agency. A summary table of funding by goal or supporting strategy and agency is also included.

“This action plan lays the groundwork for how the Department of Interior will invest in restoring the health of the wildlife, fish and shellfish, and habitats of the Chesapeake watershed – from its headwaters to the estuary,” said Deputy AssistantSecretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Will Shafroth. “Our on-the-ground efforts with other federal agencies, states, local communities and stakeholders will help to restore and protect this national treasure.”

In addition to the annual Action Plan, the Executive Order directs the FLC to publish an annual Progress Report reviewing indicators of environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay, assessing implementation of the Action Plan during the preceding fiscal year and recommending steps to improve restoration and protection progress. These progress reports will help assess the success of the FLC agencies’ efforts in implementing the actions identified in annual action plans and provide the agencies with a regular opportunity to adjust implementation efforts to maximize success.Because the FY 2011 is the first full implementation year for the strategy, the FLC plans to release the first annual progress report early in 2012.

Federal agencies welcome public comment on this Action Plan, and are particularly interested in comments that will help improve future Actions Plans, including the level of detail needed, format, quantity of information, timing, and how to involve the Bay watershed community in development of future plans. The public can submit ideas and suggestions by October 31, 2010.

Download a briefing on the Action Plan: Action Plan Briefing.pdf (1.29 mb)

New Federal Strategy for Chesapeake Launches Major Initiatives and Holds Government Accountable for Progress

May 12 2010

Download the Executive Summary - ChesapeakeEO Strategy Executive Summary.pdf (872.17 kb) 

Download the Full Strategy - ChesapeakeEO Strategy.pdf (7.79 mb)  

Download the Goals and Outcomes - ChesapeakeEO Goals and Outcomes.pdf (128.87 kb)


The new federal strategy for the Chesapeake region released today focuses on protecting and restoring the environment in communities throughout the 64,000-square-mile watershed and in its thousands of streams, creeks and rivers. The strategy includes using rigorous regulations to restore clean water, implementing new conservation practices on 4 million acresof farms, conserving 2 million acres of undeveloped land and rebuilding oysters in 20 tributaries of the bay. To increase accountability, federal agencies will establish milestones every two years for actions to make progress toward measurable environmental goals. These will support and complement the states’ two-year milestones. 

The “Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed” was developed under the executive order issued by President Obama in May 2009, which declared the Chesapeake Bay a national treasure and ushered in a new era of shared federal leadership, action and accountability. 

The strategy deepens the federal commitment to the Chesapeake region, with agencies dedicating unprecedented resources, targeting actions where they can have the most impact, ensuring that federal lands and facilities lead by example in environmental stewardship and taking a comprehensive, ecosystem-wide approach to restoration. Many of the federal actions will directly support restoration efforts of local governments, nonprofit groups and citizens and provide economic benefits across the Chesapeakeregion. 

“This strategy outlines the broadest partnerships, the strongest protections and the most accountability we've seen in decades. It's a new era for our work on the Chesapeake Bay,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who chairs the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake.“Through President Obama's leadership and the commitment of many active stakeholders, we have an historic opportunity to restore the environmental health of these waters and the vibrant economy of this community.” 

To restore clean water, EPA will implement the Chesapeake total maximum daily load (a pollution diet for the Chesapeake Bayand local waterways), expand regulation of urban and suburban stormwater and concentrated animal feeding operations and increase enforcement activities and funding for state regulatory programs. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide farmers and forestowners throughout the bay watershed with the resources to prevent soil erosion and keep nitrogen and phosphorous out of local waterways. USDA will target federal funding to the places where it will have the greatest water quality impact and ensure that agricultural producers’ conservation efforts are accurately reported. USDA will also lead a federal initiative to develop a watershed-wide environmental services market that would allow producers to generate tradable water quality credits in return for installing effective conservation practices. 

“A thriving, sustainable agricultural sector is critical to restoration of the Chesapeake Bay,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We will help the bay watershed’s farmers and forest owners put new conservation practices on 4 million acres of agricultural lands so that agriculture can build on the improvements in nutrient and sediment reductions that we have seen over the last 25 years.” 

Conserving 2 million acres of natural areas, forests and farmland preserves the environmental, recreational, cultural and economic benefits these lands provide. To protect priority lands, the Department of the Interior will launch a collaborative Chesapeake Treasured Landscape Initiative and expand land conservation by coordinating federal funding and providing community assistance. Interior will also develop a plan for increasing public access to the bay and its rivers.           

“Under the leadership of President Obama, our strategy provides the blueprint for finally restoring the Chesapeake Bay to health – its bountiful wildlife, abundant fish and shellfish, beautiful waterways and rich wetlands,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “My department, which has 13 refuges and 51 units of the National Park System throughout the watershed, will play a key role in the plan, working hand-in-hand with other federal agencies, states, local communities and other stakeholders to restore this national treasure cherished by so many.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will launch a bay-wide oyster restoration strategy in close collaboration with Maryland and Virginia that focuses on priority tributaries, expands commercial aquaculture and bolsters research onoyster stock, habitat and restoration progress. Oysters are among the bay’s most struggling species and restoration in 20 tributaries will yield great environmental and economic benefits. 

"Oysters are a key species for Chesapeake Bay restoration. Not only are they important to seafood lovers, but they cleanse water and form reef habitat," said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. "It is critical that we apply our best science toward native oyster restoration and habitat protection, as well as toward development of sustainable aquaculture. Ecosystem-based approaches to management will enable progress toward a healthy, sustainable Chesapeake ecosystem that will include oysters for generations to come.” 

Several overarching approaches in the strategy are also important:

Short-term action: To accelerate the pace of restoration and protection, many actions occur in the next few years, and many of the actions are “on-the-ground” and “in-the-water” all around the Chesapeake watershed.

Supporting local efforts: The strategy is designed to directly support the restoration activities of local governments, watershed groups, county conservation districts, landowners and citizens.

Benefiting economies and jobs: Many actions will provide economic benefits, including conservation of working farms, expanded oyster aquaculture, support for conservation corps programs and green jobs, and development of an environmental marketplace for selling, buying and trading credits for pollution reductions.

Targeting of resources: Agencies will be aggressively targeting resources where they can have the most impact – areas with the most pollution and potential for runoff, with the highest potential for restoring fish and wildlife, and with habitats and lands most in need of protection.

EPA Release Final Guidance on Federal Land Management

May 12 2010

Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Section 502 calls upon the Administrator of EPA to publish guidance for federal land management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. EPA’s objective in developing the guidance is to provide the information that will allow federal agencies to lead by their example.  The guidance provides information and data on appropriate proven and cost-effective tools and practices for implementation on federal lands and at federal facilities.

From the perspective of land management and water quality restoration/protection, this set of “proven cost-effective tools and practices that reduce water pollution” is also useful for nonfederal land managers to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay.  These tools and practices, when implemented broadly, would significantly advance the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

Extensive studies of the Chesapeake Bay indicate that the great majority of nonpoint sources in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will need to be controlled, and controlled well, in order to restore the Bay. Accordingly, this guidance has chapters addressing the categories of nonpoint source pollution from federal land management activity in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that are sources of nutrients and sediments currently contributed to the Bay.  The categories of activity addressed in this guidance are agriculture, urban and suburban, including turf, forestry, riparian areas, decentralized wastewater treatment systems, and hydromodification.

Each chapter contains one or more "implementation measures" that provide the framework for the chapter.  These are intended to convey the actions that will help ensure that the broad goals of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order can be achieved.  Each chapter also includes information on practices that can be used to achieve the goals; information on the effectiveness and costs of the practices; where relevant, cost savings or other economic/societal benefits (in addition to the pollutant reduction benefits) that derive from the implementation goals and/or practices; and copious references to other documents that provide additional information.

The guidance is available at

Federal Agencies Respond to Public Comments for Final Strategy

May 12 2010

With the November 2009 release of the draft strategy, federal agencies initiated a public comment period and stated that it would provide a response to comments document when the final Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed was released. The request for written comments was part of a larger effort to consult with members of the public regarding the federal government’s response to the Executive Order. Federal agencies also conducted a series of stakeholder meetings throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed and consulted extensively with the Chesapeake Bay states. 

During the formal public comment period, federal agencies received approximately 300 comments.  Of that total, about 100 were slight variations of a mass comment campaign.  A group of environmental organizations also submitted a list of approximately 50,000 signatures supporting the following statement: “After 25 years it is clear that much more needs to be done to heal the Chesapeake Bay.  The Environmental Protection Agency should immediately issue more stringent, enforceable limits for the bay's biggest polluters: urban development and factory farms.  For states or polluters who fail to clean up their waterways, the EPA should enforce strict penalties such as withholding federal dollars or new permits. States and the EPA should restore the bay in the fastest possible timeline. We've already waited over two decades for a healthy bay.”  

Comments were received from federal agencies, states, local governments, land conservation organizations, row-crop and animal agriculture interests, environmental organizations, wastewater industry representatives, Chesapeake Bay Program advisory committees, and other stakeholders.  These comments can be viewed by visiting the electronic docket (docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0761) at or EPA’s Docket Center in Washington, DC. 

The federal agencies considered the public comments and incorporated them into the final strategy document, Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, as appropriate. Rather than respond to every individual comment, federal agencies opted to group comments into areas of particular significance and to respond to such comments as a group.  These groups of comments were identified for each of the strategy’s goals and supporting strategies.

Download the full response to public comment  

Chesapeake EO Strategy Public Comment Response.pdf (337.91 kb)

Federal Officials to Release New Strategy for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Under President Obama’s Executive Order

May 11 2010

Federal officials will hold a news conference on Kingman Island in Washington, D.C. at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12 to release a new federal strategy for protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed that was drafted under President Obama’s Executive Order.  

WHO:  Nancy Sutley, Chair, Council on Environmental Quality

Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Ray Mabus, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Navy

Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior

Monica Medina, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere,  U.S. Department of Commerce 

WHEN: 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 12

WHERE: Kingman Island, Washington, D.C. Directions at

Draft Guidance Released on Reducing Water Pollution to Chesapeake Bay

March 22 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released draft guidance for federal lands management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that describes the most effective tools and practices to reduce water pollution. In addition to federal lands, the guidance addresses a variety of nonpoint sources, including agricultural lands, urban and suburban areas, and septic systems.

The draft guidance, which is required by the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order, provides federal land managers with a guide to implementing the best proven tools and practices to restore and protect the region’s waterways and the Bay. The same techniques can be utilized by states, local governments, conservation districts, watershed organizations, developers, farmers and citizens in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The cost-effective tools and practices outlined in the document are indicated by current scientific and technical literature to be the most state-of-the-art approaches to reduce water pollution from nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.

“EPA expects the tools and practices described in this draft guidance to help the federal government lead by example at its facilities and on its land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Assistant Administrator for Water Peter S. Silva. “States can also use this guidance as a valuable tool to help determine the most effective measures to achieve the pollution reduction goals of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.”

Public comment on the draft guidance will be accepted for 30 days. EPA will then revise the document for release with a strategy for Chesapeake Bay protection and restoration in May 2010. The draft guidance is available at

The key areas in which the Executive Order draft guidance defines next-generation tools and practices are:

Agricultural on Federal Lands: The draft guidance focuses on significantly expanding on practices and actions that control the delivery of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from agriculture by employing a whole-farm nutrient management planning approach, including source control and avoidance, in-field control, and edge-of-field trapping and treatment. The tools and practices presented build from the most recent, state-of-the-art literature in nutrient management planning and provide information on reducing pollution from both livestock production on animal feeding operations and row crop agricultural lands.

Development on Federal Lands: In the draft guidance, EPA emphasizes that hydrology is the principal driver of water quality impairments in developed and developing areas. EPA establishes a primary focus on maintaining and restoring predevelopment hydrology to the maximum extent technically feasible. The draft guidance presents background information, data, examples and resources that demonstrate how to implement low-impact development and other green infrastructure techniques that infiltrate, evapotranspire and use stormwater onsite.

Reducing nonpoint source pollution is one of the greatest challenges to restoring water quality in the region’s streams, creeks and rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Some relevant facts include:

  • In addition to contributing 31 percent of phosphorus loads and 11 percent of nitrogen loads to the bay, urban and suburban runoff and stormwater sources are the only significant pollutant source that is increasing.
  • On a per-acre basis, construction sites can contribute the most sediment of all land uses – as much as 10 to 20 times that of agricultural lands.
  • Almost half of all the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution delivered to the Chesapeake Bay are from agricultural sources, including both livestock production and row crop land.

Draft Environmental Goals and Outcomes Released

March 19 2010

As part of developing a new strategy for restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay, President Obama's Executive Order directs the federal government to “define environmental goals for the Chesapeake Bay and describe milestones for making progress toward attainment of these goals.”

Federal agencies have released a document that includes a draft vision for a restored Chesapeake Bay watershed, environmental goals and measurable outcomes of planned actions. Since these elements were not included in the draft strategy released in November 2009, the federal agencies committed to release a goals framework for public review prior to issuance of the final strategy in May 2010. The document does not include all of the actions that were outlined in the draft strategy released in November 2009 or that will be included in the final strategy due in May.

To maintain coordination and consistency with current restoration activities of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s federal and state partners, existing measures of health and restoration were used as the starting point for the Executive Order goals and outcomes. Some refinements were made to existing measures to better address the needs of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and reflect expanded federal action. More details on the draft goals and measurable outcomes are available in the appendix.

Public feedback on the draft vision, goals and measurable outcomes is essential, and comments can be submitted by April 2, 2010. The draft vision, goals and measurable outcomes will be modified based on public feedback and a revised version will be paired with detailed actions in the final strategy to be released by May 12, 2010.

Read the Draft Executive Order Goals Framework.pdf

Public Forums, Public Comment Period Continue

December 09 2009

The public comment period on the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order draft strategy and revised reports remains open until January 8, 2010. The draft strategy will evolve through public comments, state consultations and agency revisions before the final strategy is published in May 2010.

Also, a series of public forums are scheduled around the watershed for federal officials to present the draft strategy and hear feedback. View the Public Forum Schedule

Draft Strategy for Chesapeake Bay
Download executive summary | Download full document | Comment

202(a) Water Quality Report
Download | Comment

202(b) Targeting Resources Report
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202(c) Federal Stormwater Report
Download | Comment

202(d) Climate Change Report
Download | Comment

202(e) Access & Landscapes Report
Download | Comment

202(f) Scientific Support Report
Download | Comment

202(g) Habitat & Living Resource Report
Download | Comment

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