On June 16, 2014, the Chesapeake Executive Board signed the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement (amended January 24, 2020). Signatories include representatives from across the watershed who, for the first time, are committed to a comprehensive partnership under the Bay program. This plan of cooperation beyond the political boundaries of the bay sets goals and results for the restoration of the bay, its tributaries and the countries around it. The first agreement in 1983 was a simple unilateral promise signed by the governors of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In particular, the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement set critical targets on five themes: The Bay Accords are clearly a developing effort to translate ambitious goals into real results. 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. This agreement contains five themes, which consist of 10 objectives that will restore and protect the bay. But the first agreements were voluntary in nature, without much responsibility. These agreements have made progress, but states and districts fell well short of their own pollution reduction targets.
Until 2009, all participants understood that a new type of approach was needed, one that kept the participants to their promises. 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.