Federal Funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program

Standing up for the Blueprint


Just as the Bay and its rivers are on the rebound, the president’s FY19 budget threatens to cut 90% of funding for EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program—the largest program to restore a body of water in U.S. history.

Since 1983, the federal government has been a partner, with the watershed states and the District of Columbia, of the voluntary Chesapeake Bay Agreement and has supported the Agreement through the Chesapeake Bay Program, created at that time. Since then, the partners entered into new agreements in 1987, 2000, and most recently 2014 with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. This latest agreement incorporated the landmark Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint which set limits on the amount of nutrients and sediment that can enger the Bay along with specific steps each jurisdiction will take to meet these pollution reduction goals by 2025. The Bay Program is the heart of this federal-state partnership. It coordinates scientific research on the health of the Bay and provides grants to state and local governments to help reduce pollution. Over 60 percent of program funds go to states, primarily through matching grants that drive local investment in state restoration priorities. It's successful, bipartisan, non-controversial—and it's a critical part of the Bay restoration efforts that are helping crab and oyster populations rebound, shrinking the Bay's dead zone, and allowing Bay grasses to thrive. Its research and funding are critical to the success of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.  

As shown in the 2017 Chesapeake Bay Restoration Spending Crosscut, the federal government’s share of restoration costs has decreased relative to state contributions. Funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program is essential to fulfilling the federal government’s commitment to the Agreement.

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 loud and clear that it must continue leadership on the Chesapeake Bay.

Level funding in FY19 for key federal programs is needed to maintain the trust and collaboration of state partners and ensure the continued success of this unique partnership.

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.

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.

Decades of Success: The 1970s

Even as a young organization, our work was effective and got noticed. Find out what we did.

Explore Our Timeline


Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or helping in our offices, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

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