UPDATE: On October 31, 2019, the U.S. Senate passed a package of fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills that includes $78 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program. In June, the House increased its fiscal 2020 Bay Program funding to $85 million. The House and Senate must next reconcile their differing spending levels.
Just as the Bay and its rivers and streams started to rebound, last year's record rains flushed enormous amounts of pollution into local waterways. As a result, the Bay's health dropped for the first time in 10 years. To combat increasingly frequent extreme weather, we must increase Chesapeake Bay Program funding—not cut it.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration has proposed a 90 percent cut to Bay funding, from $73 million to $7.3 million, for FY 2020. This ignores the common sense funding requirements that are necessary to implement the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. It would devastate efforts to estore local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.
Cuts to this vital work could undermine the trust, collaboration, and partnership between the states and the federal government established in the historic Chesapeake Bay Agreement, and threaten clean water for the more than 18 million people who call the Chesapeake Bay watershed home. That's why it's so important that we tell Congress we must accelerate our efforts—not slow them.
Increased funding in FY 2020 for critical programs is needed to maintain the trust and collaboration of state partners and ensure the continued success of this unique partnership.
Fortunately, there are a number of proposals in Congress to increase Bay Program funding. CBF will be advocating to ensure these bills are rooted in science and work to save the Bay.
About the Chesapeake Bay Program
Since 1983, the federal government has been an important partner, with the watershed states and the District of Columbia, of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement and has supported the Agreement through the Chesapeake Bay Program.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is the heart of this federal-state partnership. Originally created under President Ronald Reagan, this program coordinates scientific research on the health of the Bay and provides matching grants that drive local investment in reducing pollution and improving the water quality of local waterways. In fact, more than 60 percent of Bay Program funds go to state and local restoration efforts.
The Bay Program has proven to be successful, bipartisan, and non-controversial. It's a critical part of the Bay restoration efforts that help crabs and oysters, shrink the Bay's dead zone, and allow Bay grasses to thrive. And its research and funding are critical to the success of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
With that in mind, here are a few resources to help you understand the issues at hand and to help you speak out on behalf of clean water everywhere.
- Five Reasons Why the Chesapeake Bay Program Is Critical to Saving the Bay
- Economic Analyses
- Actions you can take now
All of us who love the Bay and its rivers and streams, must continue to do our part in restoring it. Our economy, our environment, and our health depend on it.