(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued this statement concerning legislation introduced today by Senator Chris Van Hollen and co-sponsored by Senators from across the watershed. The bill, titled the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act of 2017, builds on the great progress made in Chesapeake Bay restoration. It strengthens and improves the Farm Bill's Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which incentivizes local partners and producers to invest in and address conservation priorities and provides more opportunities for effective Chesapeake Bay watershed conservation efforts.
Program improvements will increase impact on critical conservation challenges like water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These improvements include increased opportunities for partners to provide outreach and technical assistance to farmers, which will allow more farmers to participate in high-demand conservation programs. Co-sponsors included Senators Capito, Cardin, Carper, Casey, Coons, Gillibrand, Kaine, Manchin, and Warner.
"Senator Van Hollen's bill will bring clean water to the Bay and its rivers. Farmers are doing their part, but they need financial help. This legislation will provide targeted funds to areas like the Chesapeake that face complex, multi-state water quality challenges. It is a triple win – clean water, local economic benefit, and improved bottom line for farmers."