This agreement contains five themes, which consist of 10 objectives that will restore and protect the bay. The success of Chesapeake 2000 has been mixed. The agreement laid the groundwork for restoration efforts in the 2000s and beyond. Bay partners have achieved significant recovery gains in some areas, such as nature protection, forest buffer restoration and the reopening of fish passage. However, many other health and restoration measures have made only limited progress, including oyster abundance and reduced nutrient pollution through agriculture and urban areas. The first 20 words of the Clean Water Act of 1972 are simple and totally impossible to interpret: “The purpose of this Act is to restore and preserve the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation`s waters.” Since the creation of the Chesapeake Bay program in 1983, its partners have used written agreements to lead the restoration of the country`s largest estuary and watershed. Setting goals and monitoring progress makes partners accountable for their work, while developing new agreements over time ensures that our goals coincide with the best scientists available to achieve successful recovery. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement was signed on June 16, 2014 and amended on January 24, 2020. This comprehensive, objective-based document addresses current and emerging environmental issues and directs federal guidelines toward the goals of federal states and municipalities for the creation of a healthy bay. For the first time, the signatories include representatives from across the watershed and Headwater Bay countries have committed to a comprehensive partnership under the Bay program. The strategy is based on a mix of technical and financial support to farmers, technology, expanded data collection, improved coordination and program capacity, and, if necessary, enhanced implementation and compliance measures. In 2009, it became clear that we need a new agreement that speeds up the restoration process and adapts federal guidelines to national and local objectives to create a healthy bay.
Bay partners have collected input from residents, stakeholders, academic institutions, local governments, etc. to develop an inclusive and focused document that would address current and emerging environmental concerns. The Chesapeake Bay was the first mouth of the country to be targeted by Congress for restoration and protection. In the late 1970s, U.S. Senator Charles “Mac” Mathias (R-Md.) surveyed a five-year Congress-funded study to analyze the rapid loss of wildlife and aquatic life in the bay.