|9Press Releases | Search DNR | DNR Home|
Governor O’Malley Hosts Chesapeake Executive Council
ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 5, 2007) – Governor Martin O’Malley today hosted the 2007 Chesapeake Executive Council (EC) annual meeting in Annapolis. The first such meeting under the O’Malley Administration was conceived in an effort to reinvigorate the region’s efforts to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution throughout the Bay watershed.
“We are at a key crossroad in our Bay restoration efforts,” said Governor O’Malley. “With the alignment of political leadership, public will and good science, we now have the moral imperative to turn back the decline in the Bay's health decades in the making and begin restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay.”
Governor O’Malley was joined by Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair James W. Hubbard, along with representatives from Delaware, West Virginia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
During today’s meeting, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided the Executive Council with a status report on bay restoration efforts that concluded that at the current pace, the 2010 goals for nutrient reduction set in the Chesapeake 2000 agreement cannot be met. In an effort to increase accountability of restoration programs, each member of the Executive Council agreed to “champion” specific actions on behalf of the partnership.
“Today each member of the Executive Council individually agreed to ‘champion’ actions on behalf of the partnership to improve accountability of Bay restoration efforts and accelerate the implementation of nutrient and sediment reduction programs,” stated O’Malley.
Governor O’Malley committed the State of Maryland to champion four major issues.
• First, the State of Maryland will work on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Partnership to hold a “local leadership summit” that focuses on developing a better model for delivering services and results at the local level – making local governments, communities and citizens true partners. Maryland also agreed to work with the Bay programs citizen and local government advisory committees to ensure that our messages and actions are relevant and beneficial to local communities throughout the 64,000 square mile watershed.
• Second, in an effort to elevate technology as a greater strategic driver, Governor O’Malley agreed to champion the creation of a regional approach to foster innovative technology advancements to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution throughout the watershed.
• Third, Maryland will lead the regional effort to seek improvements in Chesapeake Bay Program accountability and transparency through approaches such as Maryland’s BayStat – a system implemented by Governor O’Malley to track, measure and target restoration practices and successes in Maryland.
• Finally, Maryland has committed to working with Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and other traditional stakeholders to develop actions to enhance stock abundance of the Bay’s blue crab.
“We all share a responsibility to protect our Bay, which can only be accomplished by improving accountability and strengthening the ongoing efforts within each of our jurisdictions,” said Governor O’Malley. “We have pledged to take a leadership role on behalf of the partnership to measure and increase our progress not only to improve water quality, but to restore our aquatic resources – such as bay grasses, blue crabs, American shad and striped bass – to historic populations and health.”
Since taking office in January, Governor O’Malley has taken a number of significant actions supporting Bay health including: creating BayStat, a system to track, measure and target restoration practices and successes; signing into law the Clean Cars legislation to further reduce atmospheric nitrogen deposition to the Bay; promulgating regulations requiring the most stringent emissions controls in the region on Maryland power plants; passing new stormwater legislation to require that all new development and major redevelopments implement state of the art low-impact practices; initiating an expanded Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program grant application with USDA; and establishing the $50 million Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust which is designed to accelerate the implementation of nutrient and sediment reduction actions .
Today the Governor also led the Executive Council in signing a new Forest Conservation Implementation Plan to permanently protect an additional 695,000 acres of forest in the Bay watershed and to significantly increase the acreage of riparian buffers and urban tree canopies.
“We will not let past and current conditions discourage us from making a better, healthier future for the Bay,” concluded Governor O’Malley. “Individually, we may each be a part of the problem, but collectively we can be the source of a permanent and lasting solution.”
After the private meeting, the Council members were photographed in front of the replica of Captain John Smith’s Shallop, which retraced Smith’s Bay voyage this summer. Governor O’Malley also presented each participant with a basket of Maryland gifts including: a Maryland Crab paperweight; an oyster pin, courtesy of the Oyster Recovery Partnership; a desk model of the Captain John Smith Shallop, courtesy of Friends of the Captain John Smith Trail; a copy of the Chesapeake Born CD, courtesy of legendary singer/songwriter Tom Wisner; Bringing Back the Bay, a stunning collection by Bay renowned photographer Marion E. Warren; wines courtesy of Maryland’s own Basignani Vineyards’ and a copy of the 2008 Maryland Natural Resource Calendar.
Governor O’Malley, Governor Kaine and Commission Chair Hubbard were presented with a special copy of The Blue Crab, a new comprehensive text published the University of Maryland Sea Grant College.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 16 million people living in parts of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Since 1983, the Chesapeake Bay Program has coordinated the restoration of the Bay and its watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay Program partnership has currently achieved 44 percent of nitrogen, 60 percent of phosphorous and 57 percent of sediment reduction goals, as well as 44 percent of habitat restoration and 69 percent of watershed protection goals.
The Executive Council, which establishes the policy direction for the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its living resources, includes the Governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.
December 5, 2007
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov