The US Congress is being asked to provide an additional one billion dollars to aid the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay in the eastern United States.
Recreational fishing is a key activity in the Bay and its tributaries, making a significant contribution to the region’s economy. The Billion for the Bay initiative is designed to create jobs, stimulate economic growth and protect the future of America’s largest estuary.
The call for funding comes from governors of the Bay’s watershed states who have written to the US House and Senate urging federal support for a ‘bold plan’ to boost state and local economies.
The request was announced on Twitter by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council, which comprises governors of the six states in the watershed – Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and West Virginia. The Council has driven Bay restoration efforts since 1893.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation President, William Baker, said the future of the bay was ‘in jeopardy’ and urged that most of the new funding be spent in Pennsylvania, which produces the largest amount water-fouling nutrients entering the bay. Federal agencies spent around $505 million on Bay-related programmes during the 12 months ended September 30th last year, according to a report submitted to Congress.
The additional money is needed to jump start the final phase of restoration, funding clean water measures, green infrastructure to reduce storm water and agricultural pollution, restoring natural landscapes and adapting to climate change.
It would also create tens of thousands of jobs throughout the 64,000 square mile watershed, says the Council.