– U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore and Norfolk districts, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced the release of the main report of the draft Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Water Resources and Restoration Plan, May 31, 2018.
This plan provides a single, comprehensive and integrated restoration roadmap to inform and help guide decision makers at all levels of government and non-governmental agencies, of the problems, needs and opportunities within the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The plan will also assist with implementation of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement’s goals to advance restoration and protection of the watershed for its more than 18 million people and important and rare species.
Within the draft report, the Corps and NFWF identify project opportunities related to aquatic ecosystem restoration, enhancement or conservation that leverage state-based watershed improvement plans and Bay Agreement goals. The objective is to enhance ongoing or planned actions, not duplicate them.
The Corps contributed 75 percent of the cost share for the comprehensive plan, while NFWF partnered with the Chesapeake Conservancy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program Office to contribute 25 percent of the cost share in the form of in-kind services (non-monetary contributions) from the Conservancy and others in the Bay watershed to develop high-resolution land-cover data for the watershed.
The draft documents include a summary, main report, planning analyses (methodology) and agency coordination and public involvement appendices. The Corps and NFWF will supplement this draft report in mid-June with the release of draft appendices for each state in the Bay watershed and District of Columbia, which will detail the individual existing watershed conditions and Watershed Action Plans for these areas. In addition, electronic products will be available to include a Master Plan Results Database and a Candidate Restoration Projects Database. These tools contain candidate restoration projects that stakeholders have submitted for consideration and implementation by the Corps and other partners.
The Corps is seeking feedback until July 16, 2018, specifically on how the results of the analyses will provide value to and be used by stakeholders, and any additional projects that should be included in the Candidate Restoration Projects Database.
Candidate projects may include wetland or stream restoration, beneficial use of dredged material, fish passage, living shorelines, shoreline protection, emergency streambank protection, riparian buffers, acid mine drainage abatement, and ecosystem resilience. Opportunities may exist on public, private or government property. Opportunities for Corps technical assistance may include analyses, modeling, data collection or mapping related to coastal, riverine, stormwater flooding or other water-related issues.
The final report, which is anticipated to be submitted to Congress in summer 2019, will identify at least one project in each state and the District of Columbia that can be considered for implementation or technical assistance by the Corps or local jurisdictions.