The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—a key federal partner in the Chesapeake Bay Program—recently gave Capitol Hill a sneak peek at a unique and powerful new federal restoration tool that will be unveiled on May 31: the Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Plan. A roadmap for habitat restoration for the entire Bay watershed, the plan has the potential to dramatically increase the pace and impact of restoration from the headwaters to the mouth of the Bay.
This plan is the culmination of a two-year study by the Army Corps, which sought to integrate existing geospatial data and planned government and stakeholder actions into a single, comprehensive restoration roadmap. In this plan, the Army Corps prioritizes geographically where habitat restoration can help reach Bay Agreement goals. From oyster restoration to forested buffers, the Corps expects to provide significant planning, engineering, and construction assistance for habitat restoration projects in partnership with local communities.
In June, when the Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Plan is finally in place, partners will have what they need to start implementing Bay-saving projects with the Army Corps. The Plan identifies hundreds of specific project opportunities that will be eligible for federal funding and/or technical assistance, effectively jumpstarting the partnership process.
The briefing was sponsored by the four chairs of the Chesapeake Bay Task Force: Reps. Rob Wittman (VA-1), Bobby Scott (VA-3), Andy Harris (MD-1) and John Sarbanes (MD-3). CBF is grateful for the continued efforts of the Task Force to support innovative programs like this to protect and restore the Bay.