Cooperatove Conservation Project

Chesapeake Bay Program

America’s Premiere Watershed Restoration Partnership

Location: Northeastern/Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland

Project Summary: The Premiere Watershed Restoration Partnership is a regional effort aimed at restoring a system with abundant, diverse populations of living resources, fed by healthy streams and rivers.
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Traditional sailing vessel near the Bay Bridge on Chesapeake Bay.
Resource Challenge
The Chesapeake Bay is North America’s largest and most  biologically diverse estuary, home to more than 3,600 species of  plants, fish and animals. For more than 300 years, the Bay and its  tributaries have sustained the region’s economy and defined its  traditions and culture. The region’s estimated $1 trillion economy  is heavily linked to the Bay: tourism, fish and shellfish, even  real estate. The watershed’s historic and cultural resources are  incalculable.
In a watershed that was once 95 percent forested, 16 million  Americans now live, work, and recreate. Millions of acres of  resource lands have been converted by development, degrading the  watershed with nutrients and sediment. Today the Bay supports  less than half the underwater grasses that were present in the  1950s, and the native oyster population has fallen to two percent of  mid-20th century levels.
Starting in 1983, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District  of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), representing the Federal  Government, have signed historic agreements establishing the  Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. Since 2003 the “headwater”  states of Delaware, New York, and West Virginia have also joined  in a cooperative effort to restore water quality. Annually the chief  executives of the jurisdictions and the EPA Administrator meet and provide policy direction to the partnership. The Chesapeake 2000 agreement outlines 100 specifi c commitments in fi ve policy areas:
1. Living Resources.
2. Vital Habitat.
3. Water Quality.
4. Sound Land Use.
5. Stewardship and Community Engagement 
Examples of Key Partners

The states of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Army Corps of Engineers, non-profi t organizations, local governments, citizen advisory groups, and business and agricultural interests, and others

Results and Accomplishments
In just the last five years the Partners have:
  • Planted vegetation along 3,335 miles of riparian buffers.
  • Opened 606 miles of fi sh passages.
  • Stocked 153 million Shad in the Bay and tributaries.
  • Preserved 527,000 acres of land.
  • Enhanced and created 11,000 acres plus of wetlands. 
  • Placed 1.33 million new acres under nutrient management plans.

In June 2005, the EPA and the Bay’s State partners completed a unifi ed permitting strategy, requiring more than 400 wastewater treatment plants in six states and the District of Columbia to have enforceable limits on nutrient pollution. This strategy will yield a more than an 18.5 million pound annual reduction in the amount of nutrient pollution that fouls the Bay.

Project Contact
Chris Conner
Communications Director
Chesapeake Bay Program Office



To request additions or corrections to this case study email the Administrator