The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which authorizes ecosystem restoration projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and around the country.
The bill awaits a final vote in the Senate and the president’s signature before it can become law.
It more than doubles the authorization for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration and Protection Program to $90 million from $40 million. These funds will help pay for fish and wildlife restoration projects contained in the Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Plan. The legislation also raises the per-project funding cap to $15 million.
States and local communities only have until 2025 to meet the broad goals for protecting the Bay ecosystem outlined in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement of 2014. The comprehensive plan, which the Army Corps completed work on in 2018, identifies more than 300 projects essential to achieving the Agreement’s goals that need funding and/or technical assistance.
Jason Rano, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Federal Executive Director, released this statement:
“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is pleased the House voted overwhelmingly to more than double funding, from $40 million to $90 million, for projects in the Army Corps of Engineers’ comprehensive plan for restoring the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.
“The Corps’ final plan will provide states and local communities a detailed roadmap for more than 300 projects to restore essential habitat for oysters, fish, and wildlife across the Bay’s 64,000-square mile watershed that are essential to meeting the goals of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
“CBF applauds House and Senate negotiators for recognizing the importance of this investment in a cleaner, healthier Chesapeake Bay watershed.
“We extend particular thanks to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper, Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Ranking Member Ben Cardin, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, and Rep. Anthony Brown, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"We also appreciate the efforts of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves.”