Comprehensive Plan and Restoration Roadmap

The Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Water Resources and Restoration Plan (CBCP) identified and evaluated problems, needs, and opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed using an integrated water resources management approach. The team conducted geospatial analyses to identify high-quality areas for potential conservation, degraded areas for restoration, and gaps in restoration actions or duplication of efforts. This watershed assessment was undertaken in cooperation with Chesapeake Bay stakeholders and partners and employed a collaborative approach to watershed planning, seeking to avoid duplication of ongoing or planned actions of other federal, state, or local agencies or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the watershed (past or present). 

The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement (2014 Bay Agreement) and associated management strategies developed by the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Goal Implementation Teams (GITs) provided the groundwork and served as a guide in the development of the CBCP. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is actively involved in several CBP GITs, including Sustainable Fisheries, Habitat, and Healthy Watersheds, and various working groups. In accordance with Section 4010(a) of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, the CBCP fulfills multiple purposes:

  • Develops a comprehensive strategy to guide USACE and Chesapeake Bay stakeholders in the identification and implementation of projects under Section 510 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996, as amended, Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration and Protection Program.
  • Recommends a strategy for prioritizing potential restoration actions under Section 510 by USACE and other Chesapeake Bay stakeholders, which are necessary to restore habitat in the Bay.
  • Develops a comprehensive strategy for planned and future restoration activities related to fish habitat and reef construction implemented under Section 704(b) of WRDA of 1986, as amended, to include priorities and actions outlined in the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery: Native Oyster Restoration Master Plan completed by USACE in 2012.
  • Develops a coordinated strategy for identification and implementation of ongoing and planned restoration actions in order to leverage opportunities for cost-effective restoration and avoid duplication of efforts by USACE, other federal, state, and local agencies, and NGOs in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Primary Goal

The CBCP’s primary goal is to provide a comprehensive and integrated water resources management plan to assist with implementation of the 2014 Bay Agreement.


  1. Develop a comprehensive, strategic, and integrated water resources plan to guide the implementation of projects to assist in meeting the 2014 Bay Agreement goals.
  2. Identify areas for aquatic ecosystem restoration, protection, or preservation to assist in meeting the 2014 Bay Agreement goals.
  3. Identify at least one project in each of the six states and District of Columbia that can be considered for implementation or technical assistance by USACE under existing programs and authorities and that supports the 2014 Bay Agreement goals.
  4. Identify new policies or programs or improve upon existing policies and programs that will help achieve an environmentally and economically sustainable and resilient Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Final Report Documents:

Final Products:

Frequently Asked Questions

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 What is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) CBCP? What is it not?

The CBCP provides a single, comprehensive, and integrated restoration plan to guide the implementation of projects within the Chesapeake Bay estuary and was developed to avoid duplication of any ongoing or planned actions of other Federal, State and local agencies and nongovernmental organizations. The CBCP relied heavily on collaboration between local, state, and Federal agencies and NGOs to identify opportunities for protection, preservation, and/or restoration within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The CBCP identifies the ecological needs, problems, and opportunities in the watershed and identifies the environmental restoration projects that can be implemented to achieve overall watershed restoration goals in an integrated manner. To the maximum extent practicable, the CBCP identifies at least one project for each of the basin states of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, and at least one project for the District of Columbia. The CBCP identifies an implementation strategy that specifies the scope, goals, and timing and extent of proposed projects and anticipated benefits as well as any necessary order of implementation in the case of dependencies. A core principle of the CBCP is to maximize the unique added value of USACE expertise and resources in the multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary, and multi-scalar aquatic ecosystem restoration efforts underway by Federal and non-Federal partners in the region.

Recommended projects outlined in the CBCP do not have detailed designs or costs and does not have any associated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation. A follow-on study/design/NEPA documentation will be required for implementation.

 Now that the CBCP is completed, what are the next steps?

The next step is implementation of a project for each of the basin states and the District of Columbia, dependent upon funding availability. The CBCP will give priority to those projects with minimal risk and uncertainty that can be implemented without further research, complex modeling or data collection to achieve immediate, meaningful environmental benefits to the Chesapeake Bay. However, some projects may require additional feasibility level study or designs – along with associated approvals – leading to implementation.

In addition to projects that potentially may be implemented by USACE, the CBCP identifies potential projects or actions that may be implemented by other Federal, state, and local entities under their own authorities.

 How was this study funded?

The CBCP was cost-shared between USACE and the non-Federal sponsor, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The cost share was 75% Federal and 25% non-Federal.

 What happens during the development of the CBCP? 

The two year study duration is identified in the Implementation Guidance for Section 4010(a) of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA 2014), which states: The CBCP should be completed within three years after execution of the agreement for the comprehensive assessment. Bay-wide geospatial analyses and report writing has occurred, leading to the collection of stakeholder and public input and final recommendations.  The final report will then be submitted to Congress by summer 2019.

 What are you currently doing for the Bay to help restore it?
Current USCACE efforts include reef habitat, submerged aquatic vegetation, and wetland restoration; beach nourishment; and streambank stabilization and stream restoration. Similarly, NFWF, the cost share partner, is involved in wetland, reef habitat, and riparian buffer restoration; installation of livestock exclusion stream fencing; and reconnecting streams and rivers for fish passage.
 What are some of the issues within the Bay the team focused on?

Due to wide ranging, and often differing problems present throughout the watershed, the issues focused on in each state (DE, MD, NY, PA, VA, and WV) and the District of Columbia may vary. To identify the issues in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the CBCP team performed a three tier multi-scalar analysis using readily available geospatial data.

The first and largest scale analysis (Tier 1) was completed across the entire extent of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The analysis used a number of watershed health indicators, e.g. black duck, wetlands, SAV, and future/projected land use and sea level change, to prioritize high value habitats and restoration needs for the entire watershed and identify broad USACE project types, programs, and authorities that can be utilized to address those needs.

The second scale analysis (Tier 2) was completed corresponding to the scale of each of the Bay states and the District of Columbia. The purpose of this second, state-scale analysis is to present the results of the CBCP Tier 1 analysis at the state level for each of the basin states, which have regulatory requirements and commitments to continue to strive toward achieving Bay restoration goals. Presumably, this information can be used to align state restoration activities and ensure advances are made towards the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The third scale analysis (Tier 3) identifies a priority subwatershed per jurisdiction, pinpointing potential actions that could be taken at the local scale. The subwatershed scale analyses provides the jurisdictions with additional assistance by further developing a smaller scale watershed action plan. 

The intent of the multi-scalar approach in the CBCP is to present at a Bay-wide scale what actions are needed to focus Bay restoration efforts that crosses state lines. With this plan, public and private organizations can then align with state and local agencies to discuss which actions will be taken to contribute to restoration efforts at a state and local level.

 How does this plan support the Chesapeake Bay Agreement and the Watershed Implementation Plans?

CBCP efforts augment efforts that are already underway to protect the Bay and promote healthy aquatic and terrestrial environments. The CBCP supports the Chesapeake Bay Agreement and the Watershed Implementation Plans by utilizing existing data and data that has originated from the Bay Agreement and Watershed Implementation Plans to find gaps in current protection, preservation, and/or restoration efforts. The CBCP identifies projects that fall under USACE authority for implementation. Additionally, USACE identifies other projects that do not align with its existing mission or authorities that could be fulfilled by other local, state, and Federal agencies and NGOs. This information is presented to the furthest extent practicable, and could be used to inform the development of Bay state Phase III watershed implementation plans, scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2018.

Stakeholder Involvement Activities

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Vision Statement

We envision an environmentally and economically sustainable AND RESILIENT Chesapeake Bay watershed with clean water, abundant life, conserved lands and access to the water, a vibrant cultural heritage, and a diversity of engaged citizens and stakeholders.