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Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies 
Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT: 

Thursday, July 13, 2006: 

Chesapeake Bay Program: 

Improved Strategies Needed to Better Guide Restoration Efforts: 

Statement of Anu K. Mittal, Director Natural Resources and Environment: 

GAO-06-614T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-614T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on 
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Committee on 
Appropriations, House of Representatives 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Chesapeake Bay Program (Bay Program) was created in 1983 when 
Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia, the 
Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) agreed to establish a partnership to restore the Chesapeake Bay. 
The partnershipís most recent agreement, Chesapeake 2000, sets out an 
agenda and five broad goals to guide the restoration effort through 
2010. This testimony summarizes the findings of an October 2005 GAO 
report (GAO-06-96) on (1) the extent to which appropriate measures for 
assessing restoration progress have been established, (2) the extent to 
which current reporting mechanisms clearly and accurately describe the 
bay's overall health, (3) how much funding was provided for the effort 
for fiscal years 1995 through 2004, and (4) how effectively the effort 
is being coordinated and managed. 

What GAO Found: 

The Bay Program had developed over 100 measures to assess progress 
toward meeting certain restoration commitments and providing 
information to guide management decisions. However, the program had not 
yet developed an integrated approach that would allow it to translate 
these individual measures into an assessment of overall progress toward 
achieving the five broad restoration goals outlined in Chesapeake 2000. 
For example, while the Bay Program had appropriate measures to track 
crab, oyster, and rockfish populations, it did not have an approach for 
integrating the results of these measures to assess progress toward the 
agreementís goal of protecting and restoring the bayís living 
resources. In response to GAOís recommendation, the Bay Program adopted 
an initial integrated approach in January 2006. 

The State of the Chesapeake Bay reports did not provide effective and 
credible information on the current health status of the bay. Because 
these reports focused on individual trends for certain living resources 
and pollutants, it was not easy for the public to determine what these 
data collectively said about the overall health status of the bay. The 
credibility of these reports had been undermined because the program 
had commingled actual monitoring data with results of program actions 
and a predictive model, and the latter two tended to downplay the 
deteriorated conditions of the bay. Moreover, the Bay Programís reports 
were prepared by the same program staff who were responsible for 
managing the restoration effort, which led to reports that projected a 
rosier picture of the bayís health than may have been warranted. In 
response to GAOís recommendation, the program has developed a new 
reporting format and plans to have the new report independently 
assessed. 

From fiscal years 1995 through 2004, the restoration effort received 
about $3.7 billion in direct funding from 11 key federal agencies; the 
states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and the District of 
Columbia. These funds were used for activities that supported water 
quality protection and restoration, sound land use, vital habitat 
protection and restoration, living resources protection and 
restoration, and stewardship and community engagement. During this 
period, the restoration effort also received an additional $1.9 billion 
in funding from other federal and state programs for activities that 
indirectly contributed to the restoration effort. 

The Bay Program did not have a comprehensive, coordinated 
implementation strategy to help target limited resources to those 
activities that would best achieve the goals outlined in Chesapeake 
2000. Although the program had adopted 10 key commitments to focus the 
partnersí efforts and had developed numerous planning documents, some 
of these documents were inconsistent with each other or were perceived 
as unachievable by program partners. In response to GAOís 
recommendation, the Bay Program is currently developing a Web-based 
system to unify its various planning documents and has adopted a 
funding priority framework. These actions, while important, fall short 
of the strategy recommended by GAO. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO made three recommendations in October 2005 to ensure that EPAís 
Chesapeake Bay Program Office completes its efforts to develop and 
implement an integrated assessment approach, revises its reporting 
approach to improve the effectiveness and credibility of its reports, 
and develops a comprehensive, coordinated implementation strategy that 
takes into account available resources. GAO is not making any new 
recommendations in this statement. 

[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-614T]. 

To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Anu K. Mittal at (202) 512-3841 or 
mittala@gao.gov. 

[End of Section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I am pleased to be here today to participate in your oversight hearing 
of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. As you know, the Chesapeake 
Bay is the nation's largest estuary and has been recognized by Congress 
as a national treasure. In response to the deteriorating conditions of 
the bay, in 1983, the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; 
the District of Columbia; the Chesapeake Bay Commission;[Footnote 1] 
and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first partnered to 
protect and restore the bay by establishing the Chesapeake Bay Program 
(Bay Program). Subsequent agreements in 1987, 1992, and 2000 reaffirmed 
the partners' commitment to bay restoration, and in their most recent 
agreement, Chesapeake 2000, which was signed in June 2000, they 
established 102 commitments organized under five broad restoration 
goals to be achieved by 2010. 

My testimony today is based on GAO's October 2005 report on the 
Chesapeake Bay restoration effort and addresses (1) the extent to which 
the Bay Program has established appropriate measures for assessing 
restoration progress, (2) the extent to which the reporting mechanisms 
the Bay Program uses clearly and accurately describe the bay's overall 
health, (3) how much funding was provided by federal and state partners 
for restoring the Chesapeake Bay for fiscal years 1995 through 2004 and 
for what purposes, and (4) how effectively the restoration effort is 
being coordinated and managed.[Footnote 2] 

In summary, we found the following: 

* The Bay Program had established over 100 measures to assess trends in 
various living resources such as oysters and crabs, and pollutants such 
as nitrogen and phosphorus. However, the program had not yet developed 
an approach that would allow it to integrate all of these measures and 
thereby assess the progress made by the overall restoration effort in 
achieving the five goals outlined in Chesapeake 2000. We recommended 
that the Chesapeake Bay Program Office develop such an approach that 
would allow the program to combine its individual measures into a few 
broader-scale measures that could then be used to assess key ecosystem 
attributes and present an overall assessment of this complex ecosystem 
restoration project. In response to our recommendation, the Bay Program 
has developed an initial approach, but more work is still needed before 
a fully integrated approach for assessing restoration progress can be 
implemented. 

* The Bay Program's primary mechanism for reporting on the health 
status of the bay--the State of the Chesapeake Bay report--did not 
provide an effective or credible assessment of the bay's current health 
status. These reports were not effective because, like the program's 
measures, they focused on individual species and pollutants instead of 
providing an overall assessment of the bay's health. Often these 
reports showed diverging trends for certain aspects of the ecosystem, 
making it difficult for the public and other stakeholders to determine 
what the current condition of the bay really was. These reports were 
also not credible because they (1) commingled data on the bay's health 
with program actions and modeling results, which tended to downplay the 
deteriorated conditions of the bay and (2) were not subject to an 
independent review process. As a result, we believe that the Bay 
Program reports projected a rosier picture of the health of the bay 
than may have been warranted. In response to our recommendation to 
clarify how it reports on the health of the bay and management actions 
to restore the bay, the Bay Program has developed a new reporting 
format that separately describes the bay's current health and the 
progress made in implementing management actions. In addition, the Bay 
Program plans to have its Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee 
provide an independent assessment of the new reports.[Footnote 3] This 
assessment is scheduled to be completed by late summer. 

* About $3.7 billion in direct funding was provided for the restoration 
effort by 11 key federal agencies; the states of Maryland, 
Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and the District of Columbia from fiscal 
years 1995 through 2004.[Footnote 4] An additional $1.9 billion was 
provided for activities that had an indirect impact on bay restoration. 

* The Bay Program did not have a comprehensive, coordinated 
implementation strategy that would allow it to strategically target 
limited resources to the most effective restoration activities. 
Recognizing that it could not manage all 102 commitments outlined in 
Chesapeake 2000, the Bay Program had focused its efforts on 10 keystone 
commitments. Although the Bay Program had developed numerous planning 
documents, some of the documents were inconsistent with each other and 
some of the plans were perceived to be unachievable by stakeholders. 
Moreover, the program invested scarce resources in developing and 
updating certain plans, even though it knew that it did not have the 
resources to implement them. While we recognize that the Bay Program 
often has no assurance about the level of funds that may be available 
beyond the short term, this large and difficult restoration project 
cannot be effectively managed and coordinated without a realistic 
strategy that unifies all of its planning documents and targets its 
limited resources to the most effective restoration activities. In 
response to our recommendation to develop a comprehensive, coordinated 
implementation strategy, the Bay Program is developing a Web-based 
approach that will unify its various planning documents and adopted a 
funding priority framework. However, the program has not yet developed 
a comprehensive implementation strategy that reflects what can 
realistically be accomplished given available resources. We continue to 
believe that such a strategy is needed for the program to move forward 
in a more strategic and well-coordinated manner. 

Background: 

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest of the nation's estuaries, measuring 
nearly 200 miles long and 35 miles wide at its widest point. Roughly 
half of the bay's water comes from the Atlantic Ocean, and the other 
half is freshwater that drains from the land and enters the bay through 
the many rivers and streams in its watershed basin. As shown in figure 
1, the bay's watershed covers 64,000 square miles and spans parts of 
six states--Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and 
West Virginia--and the District of Columbia. 

Figure 1: Chesapeake Bay Watershed: 

[See PDF for image] 

Sources: Chesapeake Bay Program Office and GAO. 

[End of figure] 

Over time, the bay's ecosystem has deteriorated. The bay's "dead 
zones"--where too little oxygen is available to support fish and 
shellfish--have increased, and many species of fish and shellfish have 
experienced major declines in population. The decline in the bay's 
living resources has been cause for a great deal of public and 
political attention. 

Responding to public outcry, on December 9, 1983, representatives of 
Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania; the District of Columbia; the 
EPA; and the Chesapeake Bay Commission signed the first Chesapeake Bay 
agreement. Their agreement established the Chesapeake Executive Council 
and resulted in the Chesapeake Bay Program--a partnership that directs 
and conducts the restoration of the bay. Subsequent agreements in 1987 
and again in 1992 reaffirmed the signatories' commitment to restore the 
bay. The partners signed the most current agreement, Chesapeake 2000, 
on June 28, 2000. Chesapeake 2000--identified by the Bay Program as its 
strategic plan--sets out an agenda and goals to guide the restoration 
efforts through 2010 and beyond. In Chesapeake 2000, the signatories 
agreed to 102 commitments--including management actions, such as 
assessing the trends of particular species, as well as actions that 
directly affect the health of the bay. These commitments are organized 
under the following five broad restoration goals: 

* Protecting and restoring living resources--14 commitments to restore, 
enhance, and protect the finfish, shellfish and other living resources, 
their habitats and ecological relationships to sustain all fisheries 
and provide for a balanced ecosystem; 

* Protecting and restoring vital habitats--18 commitments to preserve, 
protect, and restore those habitats and natural areas that are vital to 
the survival and diversity of the living resources of the bay and its 
rivers; 

* Protecting and restoring water quality--19 commitments to achieve and 
maintain the water quality necessary to support the aquatic living 
resources of the bay and its tributaries and to protect human health; 

* Sound land use--28 commitments to develop, promote, and achieve sound 
land use practices that protect and restore watershed resources and 
water quality, maintain reduced pollutant loadings for the bay and its 
tributaries, and restore and preserve aquatic living resources; and: 

* Stewardship and community engagement--23 commitments to promote 
individual stewardship and assist individuals, community-based 
organizations, businesses, local governments and schools to undertake 
initiatives to achieve the goals and commitments of the agreement. 

As the only federal signatory to the Chesapeake Bay agreements, EPA is 
responsible for spearheading the federal effort within the Bay Program 
through its Chesapeake Bay Program Office. Among other things, the 
Chesapeake Bay Program Office is to develop and make available 
information about the environmental quality and living resources of the 
Chesapeake Bay ecosystem; help the signatories to the Chesapeake Bay 
agreement develop and implement specific plans to carry out their 
responsibilities; and coordinate EPA's actions with those of other 
appropriate entities to develop strategies to improve the water quality 
and living resources in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. 

The Bay Program's Measures Had Not Been Integrated to Assess Overall 
Restoration Progress: 

The Bay Program had established 101 measures to assess progress on 
individual aspects of the Bay. For example, the Bay Program had 
developed measures for determining trends in individual fish and 
shellfish populations, such as crabs, oysters, and rockfish. The Bay 
Program had also developed other measures to provide the information it 
needs to make management decisions. For example, to help inform its 
decisions regarding the effects of airborne nitrogen compounds and 
chemical contaminants in the bay ecosystem and to help establish 
reduction goals for these contaminants, the Bay Program had a measure 
to estimate vehicle emissions and compare them to vehicle miles 
traveled. 

While the Bay Program had established these 101 measures, it had not 
developed an approach that would allow it to translate these individual 
measures into an overall assessment of the progress made in achieving 
the five broad restoration goals. For example, although the Bay Program 
had developed measures for determining trends in individual fish and 
shellfish populations, it had not yet devised a way to integrate those 
measures to assess the overall progress made in achieving its Living 
Resource Protection and Restoration goal. According to an expert panel 
of nationally recognized ecosystem assessment and restoration experts 
convened by GAO, in a complex ecosystem restoration project like the 
Chesapeake Bay, overall progress should be assessed by using an 
integrated approach. This approach should combine measures that provide 
information on individual species or pollutants into a few broader-
scale measures that can be used to assess key ecosystem attributes, 
such as biological conditions. 

The signatories to the Chesapeake Bay agreement have discussed the need 
for an integrated approach over the past several years. However, 
according to an official from the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, until 
recently they did not believe that the program could develop an 
approach that was scientifically defensible, given their limited 
resources. The program began an effort in November 2004 to develop, 
among other things, a framework for organizing the program's measures 
and a structure for how the redesign work should be accomplished. In 
our report, we recommended that the Chesapeake Bay Program Office 
complete its efforts to develop and implement such an integrated 
approach. In January 2006, the Bay Program formally adopted an initial 
integrated approach for assessing both bay health and management 
actions taken to restore the bay. However, according to a Bay Program 
official, more work is needed before a fully integrated approach for 
assessing restoration progress can be implemented. 

The Bay Program's Reports Did Not Effectively Communicate the Status of 
the Bay's Health: 

The Bay Program's primary mechanism for reporting on the health status 
of the bay--the State of the Chesapeake Bay report--was intended to 
provide the citizens of the bay region with a snapshot of the bay's 
health. However, our review found that the State of the Chesapeake Bay 
report did not effectively communicate the current health status of the 
bay because it mirrored the shortcomings in the program's measures by 
focusing on the status of individual species or pollutants instead of 
providing information on a core set of ecosystem characteristics. For 
example, the 2002 and 2004 State of the Chesapeake Bay reports provided 
data on oysters, crab, rockfish, and bay grasses, but the reports did 
not provide an overall assessment of the current status of living 
resources in the bay or the health of the bay. Instead, data were 
reported for each species individually. The 2004 State of the 
Chesapeake Bay report included a graphic that depicts oyster harvest 
levels at historic lows, with a mostly decreasing trend over time, and 
a rockfish graphic that shows a generally increasing population trend 
over time. However, the report did not provide contextual information 
that explained how these measures are interrelated or what the 
diverging trends meant about the overall health of the bay. Our experts 
agreed that the 2004 report was visually pleasing but lacked a clear, 
overall picture of the bay's health and told us that the public would 
probably not be able to easily and accurately assess the current 
condition of the bay from the information reported. 

We also found that the credibility of the State of the Chesapeake Bay 
reports had been undermined by two key factors. First, the Bay Program 
had commingled data from three sources when reporting on the health of 
the bay. Specifically, the reports mixed actual monitoring information 
on the bay's health status with results from a predictive model and the 
results of specific management actions. The latter two results did 
little to inform readers about the current health status of the bay and 
tended to downplay the bay's actual condition. Second, the Bay Program 
had not established an independent review process to ensure that its 
reports were accurate and credible. The officials who managed and were 
responsible for the restoration effort also analyzed, interpreted, and 
reported the data to the public. We believe this lack of independence 
in reporting led to the Bay Program's projecting a rosier view of the 
health of the bay than may have been warranted. Our expert panelists 
believe that an independent review panel--to either review the bay's 
health reports before issuance or to analyze and report on the health 
status independently of the Bay Program--would significantly improve 
the credibility of the program's reports. We recommended that the 
Chesapeake Bay Program Office revise its reporting approach to improve 
the effectiveness and credibility of its reports. In response to our 
recommendation, the Bay Program developed a new reporting format that 
was released for public review and comment in March 2006. The new 
report, entitled Chesapeake Bay 2005 Health and Restoration Assessment, 
is divided into two parts: part one is an assessment of ecosystem 
health and part two is an assessment of progress made in implementing 
management actions. The new report appears to have a more effective 
communications framework and clearly distinguishes between the health 
of the bay and the management actions being taken. In addition, the Bay 
Program plans to have its Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee 
independently review the new report and the process used to develop it. 
This review is planned for completion by late summer. 

Federal Agencies and States Provided Billions of Dollars in Both Direct 
and Indirect Funding for Restoration Activities: 

Eleven key federal agencies; the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and 
Virginia; and the District of Columbia provided almost $3.7 billion in 
direct funding from fiscal years 1995 through 2004 to restore the bay. 
Federal agencies provided a total of approximately $972 million in 
direct funding, while the states and the District of Columbia provided 
approximately $2.7 billion in direct funding for the restoration effort 
over the 10-year period. Of the federal agencies, the Department of 
Defense's Army Corps of Engineers provided the greatest amount of 
direct funding--$293.5 million. Of the states, Maryland provided the 
greatest amount of direct funding--more than $1.8 billion--which is 
over $1.1 billion more than any other state. Typically, the states 
provided about 75 percent of the direct funding for restoration, and 
the funding has generally increased over the 10-year period. As figure 
2 shows, the largest percentage of direct funding--approximately 47 
percent--went to water quality protection and restoration. 

Figure 2: Percentage of the Total Direct Funding Provided for 
Addressing Each of the Five Chesapeake 2000 Goals, Fiscal Years 1995 
through 2004: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of agency data, in constant 2004 dollars. 

[End of figure] 

Ten of the key federal agencies, Pennsylvania, and the District of 
Columbia provided about $1.9 billion in additional funding from fiscal 
years 1995 through 2004 for activities that indirectly affected bay 
restoration. These activities were conducted as part of broader agency 
efforts and/or would continue without the restoration effort. Federal 
agencies provided approximately $935 million in indirect funding, while 
Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia together provided 
approximately $991 million in indirect funding for the restoration 
effort over the 10-year period.[Footnote 5] Of the federal agencies, 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided the greatest amount of 
indirect funding--$496.5 million--primarily through the Natural 
Resources Conservation Service. Of the states, Pennsylvania provided 
the greatest amount of indirect funding--$863.8 million. As with direct 
funding, indirect funding for the restoration effort had also generally 
increased over fiscal years 1995 through 2004. As figure 3 shows, the 
largest percentage of indirect funding--approximately 44 percent--went 
to water quality protection and restoration. 

Figure 3: Percentage of the Total Indirect Funding Provided for 
Addressing Each of the Five Chesapeake 2000 Goals, Fiscal Years 1995 
through 2004: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of agency data, in constant 2004 dollars. 

[End of figure] 

Despite the almost $3.7 billion in direct funding and more than $1.9 
billion in indirect funding that has been provided for activities to 
restore the bay, the Chesapeake Bay Commission estimated in a January 
2003 report that the restoration effort faced a funding gap of nearly 
$13 billion to achieve the goals outlined in Chesapeake 2000 by 2010. 
Subsequently, in an October 2004 report, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed 
Blue Ribbon Finance Panel estimated that the restoration effort is 
grossly underfunded and recommended that a regional financing authority 
be created with an initial capitalization of $15 billion, of which $12 
billion would come from the federal government.[Footnote 6] 

The Bay Program Has Not Always Effectively Coordinated and Managed the 
Restoration Effort: 

Chesapeake 2000 and prior agreements have provided the overall 
direction for the restoration effort over the past two decades. 
Although Chesapeake 2000 provides the current vision and overall 
strategic goals for the restoration effort, along with short-and long-
term commitments, we found that the Bay Program lacked a comprehensive, 
coordinated implementation strategy that could provide a road map for 
accomplishing the goals outlined in the agreement. 

In 2003, the Bay Program recognized that it could not effectively 
manage all 102 commitments outlined in Chesapeake 2000 and adopted 10 
keystone commitments as a management strategy to focus the partners' 
efforts. To achieve these 10 keystone commitments, the Bay Program had 
developed numerous planning documents. However, we found that these 
planning documents were not always consistent with each other. For 
example, the program developed a strategy for restoring 25,000 acres of 
wetlands by 2010. Subsequently, each state within the bay watershed and 
the District of Columbia developed tributary strategies that described 
actions for restoring over 200,000 acres of wetlands--far exceeding the 
25,000 acres that the Bay Program had developed strategies for 
restoring. While we recognize that partners should have the freedom to 
develop higher targets than established by the Bay Program, we are 
concerned that having such varying targets could cause confusion, not 
only for the partners, but for other stakeholders about what actions 
are really needed to restore the bay, and such varying targets appear 
to contradict the effort's guiding strategy of taking a cooperative 
approach to achieving the restoration goals. 

We also found that the Bay Program had devoted a significant amount of 
their limited resources to developing strategies that were either not 
being used by the Bay Program or were believed to be unachievable 
within the 2010 time frame. For example, the program invested 
significant resources to develop a detailed toxics work plan for 
achieving the toxics commitments in Chesapeake 2000. Even though the 
Bay Program had not been able to implement this work plan because 
personnel and funding had been unavailable, program officials told us 
that the plan was being revised. It is unclear to us why the program is 
investing additional resources to revise a plan for which the necessary 
implementation resources are not available, and which is not one of the 
10 keystone commitments. According to a Bay Program official, 
strategies are often developed without knowing what level of resources 
will be available to implement them. While the program knows how much 
each partner has agreed to provide for the upcoming year, the amount of 
funding that partners will provide in the future is not always known. 
Without knowing what funding will be available, the Bay Program is 
limited in its ability to target and direct funding toward those 
restoration activities that will be the most cost effective and 
beneficial. 

The Chesapeake Bay Program Office recognizes that some of the plans are 
inconsistent and unachievable. The office told us that it was 
determining how to reconcile the program's various plans and stated 
that these plans were developed to identify what actions will be needed 
to achieve the commitments of Chesapeake 2000 and were not developed 
considering available resources. The office also recognizes that there 
is a fundamental gap between what needs to be done to achieve some of 
the commitments and what can be achieved within the current resources 
available. According to Chesapeake Bay Program Office officials, the 
development of an overall implementation plan that takes into account 
available resources had been discussed, but that the partners could not 
agree on such a plan. We recommended that the Chesapeake Bay Program 
Office develop a comprehensive, coordinated implementation strategy 
that takes into account available resources. 

In response to our recommendations, the Bay Program has taken several 
actions. The Chesapeake Bay Program Office is currently developing a 
Web-based system to link and organize the program's various planning 
documents. In addition, program partners adopted a funding priorities 
framework in October 2005 that designates three broad funding 
priorities--agriculture, wastewater treatment, and developed and 
developing lands--for accelerating the implementation of the states' 
tributary strategies. While these actions are important, they fall 
short of the comprehensive, coordinated implementation strategy we 
recommended. The program still needs to reconcile the inconsistencies 
of the program's various planning documents and clearly link the 10 
keystone commitments with the funding priority framework adopted by 
program partners. We continue to believe that the development of a 
comprehensive, coordinated implementation strategy that lays out what 
the program plans to accomplish and that is directly linked to the 
funding that is available would allow the program to move forward in a 
more strategic and well-coordinated manner. 

In closing, Mr. Chairman, it is well recognized that restoring the 
Chesapeake Bay is a massive, difficult, and complex undertaking. While 
the Bay Program has made significant strides, our October 2005 report 
documented how the success of the program has been undermined by the 
lack of (1) an integrated approach to measure overall progress; (2) 
independent and credible reporting mechanisms; and (3) coordinated 
implementation strategies. These deficiencies have resulted in a 
situation in which the Bay Program could not present a clear and 
accurate picture of what the restoration effort had achieved, could not 
effectively articulate what strategies would best further the broad 
restoration goals, and could not identify how limited resources should 
be prioritized. We are encouraged that the Bay Program is taking 
actions to address our recommendations because, without these actions, 
we do not believe the Bay Program will be able to change the status quo 
and move the restoration effort forward in the most cost-effective 
manner. 

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to 
respond to any questions that you or Members of the Subcommittee may 
have. 

Contacts and Acknowledgments: 

For further information about this testimony, please contact Anu Mittal 
at (202) 512-3841. Other individuals making significant contributions 
to this testimony were Sherry McDonald, Assistant Director; Bart 
Fischer; and James Krustapentus. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] The Chesapeake Bay Commission is a tristate legislative assembly 
representing Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. 

[2] GAO, Chesapeake Bay Program: Improved Strategies Are Needed to 
Better Assess, Report, and Manage Restoration Progress, GAO-06-96 
(Washington, D.C.: Oct. 28, 2005). 

[3] The Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee is one of the Bay 
Program's seven committees that form the organizational and planning 
structure for the restoration effort. The committee provides scientific 
and technical guidance to the Bay Program on measures to restore and 
protect the Chesapeake Bay. 

[4] Key federal agencies include the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 
Farm Service Agency, Forest Service, and Natural Resources Conservation 
Service; Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration; Department of Defense's Army, Army Corps of Engineers, 
and Navy/Marine Corps; Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife 
Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and National Park Service; and EPA. 
For purposes of our report and this testimony, we defined direct funds 
as those that are provided exclusively for bay restoration activities 
(e.g., increasing the oyster population) or those that would no longer 
be made available in the absence of the restoration effort. 

[5] In addition to the funding provided for the restoration of the bay, 
EPA provided more than $1 billion to Maryland, Virginia, and 
Pennsylvania through its Clean Water State Revolving Fund program 
during fiscal years 1995 through 2004. The funds provide low-cost loans 
or other financial assistance for a wide range of water quality 
infrastructure projects and other activities, such as implementing 
agricultural best management practices. 

[6] The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Blue Ribbon Finance Panel was 
established to identify funding sources sufficient to implement 
basinwide cleanup plans so that the bay and tidal tributaries would be 
restored sufficiently by 2010 to remove them from the list of impaired 
waters under the Clean Water Act. The panel was composed of 15 leaders 
from the private sector, government, and the environmental community.

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