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Report to Congressional Requesters: 

October 2005: 

Chesapeake Bay Program: 

Improved Strategies Are Needed to Better Assess, Report, and Manage 
Restoration Progress: 

GAO-06-96: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-96, a report to congressional requesters. 

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 EPA agreed to establish a partnership to 
restore the Chesapeake Bay. Their most recent agreement, Chesapeake 
2000, sets out an agenda and five broad goals to guide the restoration 
and protection efforts through 2010 and contains 102 commitments that 
the partners agreed to accomplish. GAO was asked to examine (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 has over 100 measures to assess progress toward meeting 
certain restoration commitments and providing information to guide 
management decisions. However, the program has 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 has appropriate measures to track crab, oyster, 
and rockfish populations, it does 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. The Bay 
Program has recognized that it may need an integrated approach for 
assessing overall progress in restoring the bay and, in November 2004, 
a task force began working on this effort. 

The State of the Chesapeake Bay reports are the Bay Programís primary 
mechanism for reporting the current health status of the bay. However, 
these reports do not effectively communicate the bayís current 
conditions because they focus on the status of individual species or 
pollutants instead of providing information on a core set of ecosystem 
characteristics. Moreover, the credibility of these reports has been 
negatively impacted because the program has commingled various kinds of 
data such as monitoring data, results of program actions, and the 
results of its predictive model without clearly distinguishing among 
them. As a result, the public cannot easily determine whether the 
health of the bay is improving or not. Moreover, the lack of 
independence in the Bay Programís reporting process has led to negative 
trends being downplayed and a rosier picture of the bayís health being 
reported than may have been warranted. The program has recognized that 
improvements are needed and is developing new reporting formats. 

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 time 
period, the restoration effort also received an additional $1.9 billion 
in indirect funding from other agency programs. 

The Bay Program does not have a comprehensive, coordinated 
implementation strategy to better enable it to achieve the goals 
outlined in Chesapeake 2000. Although the program has adopted 10 key 
commitments to focus partnersí efforts and developed plans to achieve 
them, some of these plans are inconsistent with each other or are 
perceived as unachievable by program partners. The limited assurances 
about the availability of resources beyond the short term further 
complicate the Bay Programís ability to effectively coordinate 
restoration efforts and strategically manage its resources. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that the Administrator of EPA instruct the Chesapeake 
Bay Program Office to (1) complete its efforts to develop and implement 
an integrated assessment approach; (2) revise its reporting approach to 
improve the effectiveness and credibility of its reports; and (3) 
develop a comprehensive, coordinated implementation strategy that takes 
into account available resources. In commenting on this report, the 
signatories to the Chesapeake 2000 agreement generally agreed with 
GAOís recommendations. 

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

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

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

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

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

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

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Goals and Commitments in Chesapeake 2000: 

Appendix III: Chesapeake Bay Program Partners: 

Appendix IV: Summary of Expert Panel Observations on Assessing and 
Reporting on Restoration Progress: 

Appendix V: Funding Information: 

Appendix VI: Comments from the Environmental Protection Agency: 

Appendix VII: Comments from the Chesapeake Bay Commission: 

Appendix VIII: Comments from the Commonwealth of Virginia: 

Appendix IX: Comments from the District of Columbia: 

Appendix X: Comments from the State of Maryland: 

Appendix XI: Comments from the State of Pennsylvania: 

Appendix XII: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Direct Funding Provided by the Federal Agencies, States, and 
District of Columbia, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in Constant 2004 
Dollars: 

Table 2: Indirect Funding Provided for the Chesapeake Bay Restoration 
Effort, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in Constant 2004: 

Table 3: Direct Funding Provided by the Federal Agencies According to 
Primary Commitment Addressed, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in 
Constant 2004 Dollars: 

Table 4: Indirect Funding Provided by the Federal Agencies According to 
Primary Commitment Addressed, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in 
Constant 2004 Dollars: 

Table 5: Direct Funding Provided by the States and the District of 
Columbia According to Primary Commitment Addressed, Fiscal Years 1995 
through 2004, in Constant 2004 Dollars: 

Table 6: Indirect Funding Provided by the States and the District of 
Columbia According to Primary Commitment Addressed, Fiscal Years 1995 
through 2004, in Constant 2004 Dollars: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Chesapeake Bay Watershed: 

Figure 2: Examples of Sources of Pollution in the Bay Ecosystem: 

Figure 3: Chesapeake Bay Program Organizational Chart: 

Figure 4: Direct Funding Provided by the Federal Agencies, States, and 
the District of Columbia, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in Constant 
2004 Dollars: 

Figure 5: Percentage of the Total Direct Funding Provided for 
Addressing Each of the Five Chesapeake 2000 Goals, Fiscal Years 1995 
through 2004: 

Figure 6: Indirect Funding Provided by Federal Agencies, States, and 
the District of Columbia, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in Constant 
2004 Dollars: 

Figure 7: Percentage of the Total Indirect Funding Provided for 
Addressing Each of the Five Chesapeake 2000 Goals, Fiscal Years 1995 
through 2004: 

Abbreviations: 

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency: 

SAV: submerged aquatic vegetation: 

Letter: 
October 28, 2005: 

The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable John W. Warner: 
United States Senate: 

Recognized by Congress as a national treasure, the Chesapeake Bay is 
the nation's largest estuary, with its watershed spanning 64,000 square 
miles, including parts of six states and the District of Columbia. The 
Chesapeake Bay is also biologically diverse, providing habitat for more 
than 3,600 species of plants, fish, and shellfish. With the highest 
land-to-water ratio of any estuary in the world, the bay is 
particularly susceptible to activities that take place on surrounding 
lands. For example, urban sprawl significantly affects the bay's 
ecosystem. From 1950 to 2000, the population in the watershed nearly 
doubled, from just over 8 million to nearly 16 million. By 2020, it is 
estimated that the population in the bay's watershed will reach 
approximately 18 million. 

Concerns about the bay's overall health surfaced as early as the 1930s. 
Signs of deterioration in the bay's condition--declines in water 
clarity, oyster populations, and underwater grasses that provide 
habitat for shellfish--became even more apparent in the 1950s and 
1960s. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA) found that excess nutrients from agricultural development, 
population growth, and discharges from sewage treatment plants were the 
primary causes for the decline in the bay's condition. 

Responding to the public outcry about the degraded state of the 
Chesapeake Bay, the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; the 
District of Columbia; the Chesapeake Bay Commission--a tristate 
legislative assembly representing Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; 
and EPA agreed in 1983 to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. Their 
agreement established the Chesapeake Executive Council and resulted in 
the Chesapeake Bay Program (Bay Program) a partnership that directs and 
conducts the restoration of the bay. The Bay Program currently includes 
partners at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as academic 
institutions and nonprofit organizations. EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program 
Office provides support to the Chesapeake Executive Council and, among 
other things, is responsible for developing and providing information 
on the environmental quality and living resources of the Chesapeake Bay 
ecosystem. In addition, the Chesapeake Bay Program Office is 
responsible for coordinating EPA's activities with other federal 
agencies and state and local authorities participating in the 
restoration effort. 

Subsequent agreements in 1987, 1992, and 2000 reaffirmed the 
signatories' commitment to bay restoration. The most recent, Chesapeake 
2000, envisions a Chesapeake Bay watershed that includes abundant, 
diverse populations of living resources and healthy, clean streams and 
rivers that can sustain strong local and regional economies. Chesapeake 
2000--identified by the Bay Program as its strategic plan--sets out an 
agenda and goals to guide the restoration and protection efforts 
through 2010 and beyond. In Chesapeake 2000, the signatories agreed to 
102 commitments--including management actions, such as assessing 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. 

Over time, the Bay Program has been lauded as a model for 
intergovernmental cooperation and for its extensive studies on the bay 
and its problems. Recently, however, the Bay Program has come under 
increasing scrutiny as some have questioned whether the Bay Program has 
overstated the progress made in restoring the bay's health. 

In this context, you asked us to examine (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 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. 

To determine the extent to which the Bay Program has established 
appropriate measures for assessing progress and clearly and accurately 
reporting on the bay's health, we obtained and analyzed documents on 
measures the Bay Program uses to assess progress in restoring the bay's 
health, and we reviewed Bay Program reports. In addition, we convened a 
panel of nationally recognized ecosystem assessment and restoration 
experts. The panel discussed (1) critical elements of an effective 
assessment process, (2) how progress in restoring an ecosystem should 
be assessed, and (3) key attributes of effective reports on ecosystem 
health. To determine the amount of funding provided for the restoration 
effort from fiscal years 1995 through 2004, we obtained and analyzed 
financial information from key federal agencies,[Footnote 1] Maryland, 
Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Key federal 
agencies were identified as those that participated in Chesapeake Bay 
Program committees or that provided more than $250,000 annually, on 
average, in direct funding. For the purposes of this report, 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. 
To determine how effectively the restoration effort is being 
coordinated and managed, we obtained and analyzed planning documents 
and agreements from Bay Program partners. In addition, to address all 
of our objectives, we interviewed a wide range of program partners, 
including representatives of federal, state, and local agencies; the 
Chesapeake Bay Commission; interest groups, such as the Chesapeake Bay 
Foundation and Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay; and academia. We also 
interviewed nonpartner groups, such as the Maryland Watermen's 
Association. In addition, we reviewed associated studies. A more 
detailed description of our objectives, scope, and methodology is 
presented in appendix I. We performed our work between October 2004 and 
October 2005 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. 

Results in Brief: 

The Bay Program has established a large number of measures to assess 
progress for some of the commitments in Chesapeake 2000, but it has not 
yet developed an approach that would allow it to integrate these 
measures and assess overall progress toward achieving the five broad 
restoration goals. Specifically, the Bay Program has developed 46 
measures that are appropriate to assess progress toward meeting those 
restoration commitments that are quantifiable. For example, the program 
has established measures that are appropriate to assess changes in (1) 
the oyster population to meet its commitment to achieve a tenfold 
increase in native oysters by 2010 and (2) the acreage of bay grasses, 
which serve as habitat for crabs and other species, for its commitment 
to restore 185,000 acres of bay grasses by 2010. In addition, the Bay 
Program has developed 55 other measures that do not directly assess 
progress toward meeting specific commitments; instead, they provide 
information to guide management decisions. Despite having over 100 
measures, the Bay Program lacks an integrated approach that would allow 
it to collectively determine what the individual measures mean for the 
overall health of the bay and the achievement of the five broad 
restoration goals. For example, while the Bay Program has measures to 
track crab, oyster, and rockfish populations, it does not have an 
approach for integrating the results of these measures to assess 
progress toward the overarching goal of protecting and restoring the 
bay's living resources. The Bay Program has recognized that it may need 
an integrated approach for assessing overall progress in restoring the 
bay and, in November 2004, a task force began working on this effort. 

The Bay Program's primary reporting mechanism--a report entitled the 
State of the Chesapeake Bay--is neither an effective reporting tool nor 
does it provide credible information on the bay's current health 
status. These reports are not effective because they do not provide an 
overall assessment of the bay's health; instead, they focus on the 
status of individual species and pollutants. Moreover, the reports do 
not explain the relative impact that opposite trends for different 
species, such as a decreasing oyster population and an increasing 
rockfish population mean for the bay's health. Our expert panel agreed 
that the reports lacked a clear, overall picture of the bay's health. 
These reports are also not credible because they commingle the results 
of management actions and the results of a predictive model with 
monitoring information on the bay's health. Because the results of 
management actions and the predictive model tend to be more positive 
than the results of monitoring data, such an approach tends to downplay 
any lack of improvement in the condition of the bay. Our expert panel 
noted that the Bay Program reports are overly oriented to reporting on 
the progress of the program's management actions at the expense of 
communicating information on the health status of the bay. The 
credibility of the Bay Program's reports is also impaired by the lack 
of an independent review process. The officials who manage and are 
responsible for the restoration effort also analyze, interpret, and 
report the monitoring data to the public. We believe this lack of 
independence in reporting has led to the Bay Program projecting a 
rosier view of the health of the bay than may have been warranted. Our 
expert panelists believe that either establishing an independent review 
panel to review the State of the Chesapeake Bay reports before they are 
issued or establishing an independent group to analyze and report on 
the bay's health would significantly improve the credibility of the Bay 
Program's reports. The Bay Program has recognized that improvements in 
its current reporting approach are needed and is developing new 
reporting formats that it hopes will more clearly describe the bay's 
current health and the status of the restoration effort. 

About $3.7 billion in direct funding was provided for the restoration 
effort (as reported by 11 key federal agencies; the states of Maryland, 
Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and the District of Columbia) from fiscal 
years 1995 through 2004. This funding was used for the following 
purposes: 

* $1.7 billion for water quality protection and restoration activities, 
such as upgrades to wastewater treatment plants and technical 
assistance for the implementation of agricultural best management 
practices; 

* $1.1 billion for sound land use activities, such as land acquisition 
and support for smart growth initiatives; 

* $491 million for vital habitat protection and restoration activities, 
such as wetland restoration and studies for determining the best 
methods for protecting and restoring submerged aquatic vegetation; 

* $233 million for living resource protection and restoration 
activities, such as oyster studies and creating fish passages in areas 
of blockage; and: 

* $156 million for stewardship and community engagement activities, 
such as educational programs, publications, and informational forums. 

An additional $1.9 billion in indirect funding--which we define for the 
purposes of this report as funds not provided exclusively for bay 
restoration (e.g., activities that are part of a broader agency effort) 
and that would continue to exist in the absence of the restoration 
effort--was provided for activities that contribute to the restoration 
effort. For example, the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources 
Conservation Service provides funding for programs that help farmers 
implement agricultural best management practices. This assistance is 
part of the agency's nationwide efforts and would continue even if the 
bay restoration effort did not exist. 

The Bay Program does not have a comprehensive, coordinated 
implementation strategy, which has impacted its ability to achieve the 
goals laid out in the Chesapeake 2000 agreement. Although the Bay 
Program has focused its efforts on developing plans to implement 10 key 
commitments, some of these plans are inconsistent with each other and 
are often perceived to be unachievable within the 2010 time frame. As a 
result, Bay Program partners have been left without a clear 
understanding of which work plan should be followed or what actions 
need to be taken. Moreover, the Bay Program is limited in its ability 
to strategically target resources because it has no assurance about the 
level of funds that may be available beyond the short term. Nonetheless 
the program has, in some cases, used its limited resources to develop 
work plans that ultimately could not be implemented because funds were 
not available. More importantly, the plans describe the actions that 
are needed to restore the bay but may not reflect what can be 
realistically accomplished by the program with available resources. 

To improve the Bay Program's ability to assess, report, and manage the 
restoration effort, we are recommending that the Administrator of EPA 
instruct the Chesapeake Bay Program Office to (1) complete its efforts 
to develop and implement an integrated assessment approach; (2) revise 
its reporting approach; and (3) work with Bay Program partners to 
develop a comprehensive, coordinated implementation strategy that takes 
into account available resources. In commenting on our report, the 
signatories to the Bay Program generally agreed with our 
recommendations. 

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 and, with 
its tributaries, the bay covers more than 4,500 square miles. However, 
the bay is relatively shallow, averaging only 21 feet deep. 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 
its many rivers and streams in the watershed basin. The Susquehanna 
River, which flows through Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania, 
provides about 50 percent of the freshwater that enters the bay. 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] 

[End of figure] 

The Chesapeake Bay is also biologically diverse, providing habitat for 
a wide variety of fish, shellfish, other animals, and plants. Blue 
crab, ducks, herring, oysters, shad, and striped bass are just some of 
the resources that live in or on the bay. 

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 deterioration has 
occurred primarily because of excess amounts of nutrients entering the 
bay, which damage species and plant populations; the single largest 
source of these pollutants is agricultural runoff. Overharvesting key 
species, such as oysters and crabs, has also contributed to the 
deterioration of the ecosystem. In addition, population growth and 
development have further stressed the ecosystem. For example, in the 
past decade, the amount of land in the watershed covered by impervious 
surfaces--surfaces through which water cannot flow--increased by about 
41 percent, increasing the amount of polluted runoff that enters into 
streams and rivers and eventually runs into the bay.[Footnote 2] With a 
very high land-to-water ratio, the bay is particularly sensitive to 
activities on land. Figure 2 shows some of the land activities that 
contribute to pollution in the bay's ecosystem. 

Figure 2: Examples of Sources of Pollution in the Bay Ecosystem: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

The decline in the bay's living resources has been cause for a great 
deal of public and political attention. Efforts to manage the bay's 
ecosystem and protect its living resources began as early as the 1930s 
and have continued through the present. In 1980, Maryland and Virginia, 
later joined by Pennsylvania, established the Chesapeake Bay Commission 
to serve as an advisory body on the Chesapeake Bay to their state 
legislatures and as a liaison to Congress. On December 9, 1983, the 
Governors of Maryland and Virginia; the Lieutenant Governor of 
Pennsylvania; the Mayor of the District of Columbia; the Administrator 
of EPA; and the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission signed the first 
Chesapeake Bay agreement. Their agreement resulted in the Chesapeake 
Bay Program, a partnership that directs and conducts the restoration of 
the bay. The signatories to the agreement reaffirmed their commitment 
to restore the bay in 1987 and again in 1992. They signed the most 
current agreement, Chesapeake 2000, on June 28, 2000. 

Chesapeake 2000 envisions an ecosystem with abundant, diverse 
populations of living resources fed by healthy streams and rivers that 
sustain strong local and regional economies and a unique quality of 
life. The agreement has served as the Bay Program's strategic plan, and 
it outlines five broad goals and 102 commitments for the restoration 
effort. Appendix II lists the goals and commitments outlined in 
Chesapeake 2000. 

The Bay Program, led by the Chesapeake Executive Council, has many 
partners, including federal agencies, states, academic institutions, 
and others (see app. III for a list of partners). While the Chesapeake 
Bay Program is a voluntary partnership among the states and the federal 
government, some activities of the Chesapeake Bay Program are 
implemented to meet the requirements of federal or state law. For 
example, the responsibility to establish water quality standards is 
both a commitment under the Chesapeake 2000 agreement and a requirement 
under the federal Clean Water Act. 

The Bay Program has seven committees and eight subcommittees, which 
form the organizational and planning structure for the restoration 
effort. In addition, the subcommittees have many work groups that plan 
and implement various aspects of the restoration effort. The 
organizational structure of the Bay Program is shown in figure 3. 

Figure 3: Chesapeake Bay Program Organizational Chart: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

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. Amendments to the Clean 
Water Act direct the Chesapeake Bay Program Office to provide support 
to the Chesapeake Executive Council. Specifically, the Chesapeake Bay 
Program Office is to, among other things, 

* develop and make available information about the environmental 
quality and living resources of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem; 

* in cooperation with appropriate federal, state, and local 
authorities, 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. 

In addition, the Administrator of EPA, in coordination with other 
members of the Chesapeake Executive Council, must ensure that 
management plans are developed and that the signatories implement the 
plans to achieve and maintain, among other things, (1) the nutrient 
goals for the quantity of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the 
Chesapeake Bay and its watershed and (2) the water quality requirements 
necessary to restore living resources in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. 
The amendments to the Clean Water Act also directed the Administrator 
of EPA to submit a report to Congress every 5 years on the condition of 
the bay's ecosystem. 

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

Although the Bay Program has established 101 measures, it has 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. 
Instead, the Bay Program's measures either assess progress toward 
achieving the restoration commitments that are quantifiable or provide 
information for making management decisions. The Bay Program has 
recognized that it may need an integrated approach to assess the 
overall progress of the restoration effort and established a task team 
to undertake this effort. 

The Bay Program Has Established 101 Measures for Some of its 
Commitments: 

The Bay Program has established 101 measures, of which 46 are 
appropriate for assessing progress made in achieving 18 of the 21 
quantifiable commitments contained in Chesapeake 2000.[Footnote 3] The 
number of measures associated with each of these commitments varies; 
the more complex the assessment the more measures the Bay Program has 
developed and uses to assess progress. For example, assessing progress 
toward the commitment of correcting the nutrient-and sediment-related 
problems in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries by 2010 under 
the Water Quality Protection and Restoration goal is complex, requiring 
the measurement of several pollutants and various aspects of water 
quality. The Bay Program uses 17 measures to assess progress for this 
commitment. In contrast, it is less complex to assess the commitment 
under the Sound Land Use goal to, by 2010, expand by 30 percent the 
system of public access points to the bay, its tributaries, and related 
resource sites in an environmentally sensitive manner. For this 
commitment, the Bay Program uses only one measure to track the number 
of new and enhanced public access sites within the Chesapeake Bay 
watershed. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, because no 
other restoration effort had developed measures that they could use, 
the program had to develop nearly all of the underlying science and 
methodologies for their measures. In addition, to ensure the 
appropriateness of these measures, the Chesapeake Bay Program Office 
requires a rigorous review of all of the measures before they are 
adopted. For the most part, our expert panel agreed that the Bay 
Program has established appropriate measures to assess specific aspects 
of the restoration effort. Several members of the Bay Program's 
Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee echoed this view. 

The remaining three quantifiable commitments, for which the Bay Program 
has not yet established any measures, include the following: 

* By 2010, establish a goal of implementing plans to preserve key 
wetlands while addressing surrounding land use in 25 percent of the 
land area of each state's bay watershed. 

* By 2010, the District of Columbia, working with its watershed 
partners, will reduce pollution loads to the Anacostia River in order 
to eliminate public health concerns and achieve the living resource, 
water quality, and habitat goals of Chesapeake 2000 and past 
agreements.[Footnote 4] 

* By 2003, develop partnerships with at least 30 interpretive sites to 
enhance their presentation of bay-related themes.[Footnote 5] 

The Bay Program has also developed 55 other measures to provide 
information it needs to make management decisions. For example, under 
the Water Quality Protection and Restoration goal, the Bay Program has 
made a commitment to assess the effects of airborne nitrogen compounds 
and chemical contaminants in the bay ecosystem and to help establish 
reduction goals for these contaminants. To help inform decision making 
for this commitment, the Bay Program has a measure for estimated 
vehicle emissions compared with vehicle miles traveled. In addition, 
for the commitment under the Living Resource Protection and Restoration 
goal to restore fish passage to more than 1,357 miles of river, the Bay 
Program has two measures that provide information about fish population 
levels. The Bay Program also uses three measures--the number of 
residents in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the relationship between 
this population and the amount of municipal wastewater flow, and the 
volume of river water flowing into the Chesapeake Bay--to track general 
information about the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

The Bay Program Lacks an Integrated Approach for Assessing Progress 
Toward Goals: 

While the Bay Program has established measures to assess progress made 
in meeting some of the individual commitments of Chesapeake 2000, it 
has not developed an approach that can be used to assess progress 
toward achieving the five broad restoration goals. For example, the Bay 
Program has measures for determining: 

* trends in individual fish and shellfish populations, such as crabs, 
oysters, and rockfish, but it has not yet devised a way to integrate 
those measures to assess the overall progress made in achieving its 
Living Resource Protection and Restoration goal; 

* the acres of bay grasses in the bay, the acres of wetlands restored, 
and the miles of forest buffers restored, but it has not developed an 
approach for integrating those measures to assess the overall progress 
made in achieving its Vital Habitat Protection and Restoration goal; 
and: 

* attributes of water quality--such as levels of dissolved oxygen, 
water clarity, and chlorophyll a[Footnote 6]--but has not developed an 
approach for combining these measures to determine progress toward 
achieving its goal of Water Quality Protection and Restoration. 

According to our expert panel, 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. One such framework was 
developed in 2002 by EPA's Science Advisory Board and can serve as a 
tool to assist Bay Program officials in deciding what ecological 
attributes to measure and how to aggregate measurements into an 
understandable picture of ecological integrity.[Footnote 7] 

In developing such an approach, the Bay Program also faces the 
challenge of finding a way to incorporate the results achieved in 
implementing the 81 nonquantifiable commitments contained in Chesapeake 
2000 with the results achieved in implementing the 21 quantifiable 
commitments. For example, under the Water Quality Protection and 
Restoration goal, the Bay Program has a nonquantifiable commitment to 
reduce the potential risk of pesticides flowing into the bay by 
educating watershed residents on best management practices for 
pesticide use. Not only does the Bay Program currently have no method 
for measuring the progress made on this commitment, but it also has no 
approach for integrating these results with the results of the other 19 
commitments listed under the water quality goal. Consequently, the 
program cannot currently assess the progress made in meeting the water 
quality goal. 

According to an official from the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, it is 
difficult to assess progress made in restoring an ecosystem that is as 
scientifically complex as the bay. The official also noted that the 
partners have discussed the need for an integrated approach over the 
past several years but have disagreed on whether the Bay Program could 
develop an approach that is scientifically defensible, given their 
limited resources. Recently, however, the partners are more optimistic 
that an integrated approach can be developed that will provide a 
clearer sense of the overall health of the bay, as well as restoration 
progress. 

In November 2004, a Bay Program task force began an effort to develop, 
among other things, a framework for organizing the Bay Program's 
measures and proposed a structure for how the redesign work would be 
accomplished by the Bay Program's subcommittees. The Bay Program's 
Implementation Committee adopted this framework in April 2005. In July 
2005, the Bay Program's Monitoring and Analysis Subcommittee created a 
work group to head this effort. The Bay Program plans to have an 
initial integrated approach developed by January 2006. 

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

Mirroring the shortcomings in the program's measures, the Bay Program's 
primary mechanism for reporting on the health status of the bay--the 
State of the Chesapeake Bay report--does not provide an effective or 
credible assessment on the bay's current health status. This is because 
these reports (1) focus on individual species and pollutants instead of 
providing an overall assessment of the bay's health, (2) commingle data 
on the bay's health attributes with program actions, and (3) lack an 
independent review process. As a result, when these reports are issued, 
they do not provide information in a manner that would allow the public 
and stakeholders to easily determine how effective program activities 
have been in improving the health of the bay. The Bay Program has 
recognized that improvements in its current reporting approach are 
needed and is developing new reporting formats that it hopes will more 
clearly describe the bay's current health and the status of the 
restoration effort. 

Bay Program Reports Do Not Effectively Communicate the Current Health 
Status of the Bay: 

The State of the Chesapeake Bay report has been issued approximately 
every 2 to 4 years since 1984 and is intended to provide the citizens 
of the bay region with a snapshot of the bay's health.[Footnote 8] The 
Bay Program included the 2002 report as part of its required report to 
Congress on the status of the bay in 2003.[Footnote 9] However, the 
State of the Chesapeake Bay report does not effectively communicate the 
current health status of the bay because instead of providing 
information on a core set of ecosystem characteristics it focuses on 
the status of individual species or pollutants. 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, these data were reported 
for each species individually, with graphics showing current levels as 
well as trends over time. 

* The 2004 State of the Chesapeake Bay report shows 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 
does not provide contextual information that states how these measures 
are interrelated or explain what the diverging trends mean about the 
overall health of the bay. 

* The 2004 State of the Chesapeake Bay report shows water clarity and 
algae trends in the bay's major tributaries. These data include some 
varying trends, but the report provides no context for how these trends 
relate to one another or what the data show, collectively, about the 
overall health of the bay. 

According to our expert panel, effective reports on the health of an 
ecosystem should contain information on key ecological attributes-- 
derived from a broader set of indicators that portray ecosystem 
conditions. The State of the Chesapeake Bay report, however, does not 
provide such an overall assessment of the bay's health. Instead, our 
expert panel noted that the Bay Program has many fine scale indicators 
that measure individual aspects within the ecosystem, such as the 
oyster population or nutrient concentrations. While the expert panel 
agreed that the 2004 report was visually pleasing, they thought that it 
lacked a clear, overall picture of the bay's health. They noted that 
without an overall assessment of the bay's health, the public would 
probably not be able to easily and accurately assess the current 
condition of the bay from the information reported. 

Bay Program Reports Lack Credibility: 

The credibility of the State of the Chesapeake Bay reports has been 
undermined by two key factors. First, the Bay Program has commingled 
data from three sources when reporting on the health of the bay. 
Specifically, the reports mix information on the bay's health status 
with results from a predictive model and the results of specific 
management actions. The latter two results do little to inform readers 
about the current health status of the bay and tend to downplay the 
bay's actual condition. Second, the Bay Program has not established an 
independent review process to ensure the objectivity and accuracy of 
its reports. According to our expert panel, establishing such a process 
would significantly improve the credibility of the Bay Program's 
reports. 

Bay Program Commingles Data on the Bay's Health with Other Data: 

The Bay Program uses the following three kinds of data when preparing 
the State of the Chesapeake Bay reports: 

* Monitoring data describe the actual status of individual species or 
pollutants in the bay, such as the number of acres of bay grasses or 
the concentration of nutrients in the tributaries. Generally, these 
data tend to show a more negative picture of bay health. For example, 
monitoring data on the blue crab population show that this population 
is at risk, with below-average levels in all but 2 years since 1991. 
Similarly, water clarity, which is critical to the health of underwater 
grasses that provide important habitat for many bay animals, is 
degrading in 17 areas in the bay and its tributaries, improving in only 
1 area, and unchanged in 22 areas. In addition, while trends in the 
number of acres of bay grasses and dissolved oxygen levels have held 
relatively constant, the rockfish population has generally increased. 

* Data on management actions include information on the extent to which 
the Bay Program has met its management commitments, such as the number 
of wetland acres that have been restored and the miles of forest 
buffers that have been established. Generally, these data tend to be 
more positive. For example, the 2004 State of the Chesapeake Bay 
reported that the program is over half way toward meeting its 
commitment to restore 25,000 acres of wetlands by 2010. In addition, 
the miles of forest buffers restored have increased every year since 
1996. These actions are important because they contribute to the bay's 
health in the long term. However, they do not immediately affect the 
bay's health and do not describe its current health condition. 

* Results from the Bay Program's predictive model provide estimates of 
the long-term effect that certain management actions may have in 
reducing nutrient and sediment loads in the bay. The results from the 
predictive model are estimates and also tend to depict a positive 
picture. For example, because the model results indicate that loadings 
of phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment have all been reduced since 1985, 
the 2004 State of the Chesapeake Bay reported that phosphorus loading 
decreased from approximately 27 million pounds per year to less than 20 
million pounds per year by 2002. These statements, however, are based 
on estimates from the model and are not based on actual monitoring data 
of phosphorus concentrations in the bay. While the modeling results 
provide important forecast data on future impacts of various management 
actions, these results, like the results of management actions, do not 
describe the actual health conditions of the bay. 

Even though only one of these three types of data describe actual 
health conditions in the bay, all three types of data are commingled in 
the Bay Program's State of the Chesapeake Bay reports. For example, in 
the 2002 report, the Bay Program reported an increase in the number of 
river miles opened for migratory fish, which is the result of a 
management action; in the same section, it also reported a decrease in 
the oyster population, which is an important factor in determining the 
bay's health.[Footnote 10] Similarly, on a two-page spread in the 2004 
report, the Bay Program presented monitoring data on five health 
indicators and information on three management indicators; the report 
also includes model results indicating improvements in nitrogen 
loadings. 

We believe that by commingling the data in this manner, the Bay Program 
not only downplays the deteriorated condition of the bay but also 
confuses the reader by mixing information that is relevant with 
information that is irrelevant to understanding the current condition 
of the bay. Our expert panel agreed that a key attribute that 
influences the credibility of reports on ecosystem health is whether 
they contain relevant information. Our expert panel also noted that the 
Bay Program reports are overly oriented to reporting on the progress of 
the program's management actions at the expense of communicating 
information on the health status of the bay. Similarly, while they 
agreed that models can provide useful information about the impact of 
management actions on the future state of an ecosystem, these results 
should not be used in a report on actual health conditions. 

Several Bay Program partners that we spoke with also noted that the 
reports tend to be unduly positive and have not effectively 
communicated the status of the bay's health. They believe that the 
reports failed to clearly distinguish between information on health and 
progress made in implementing management initiatives. In addition, 
several partners told us that the use of the predictive model to report 
on the actual health of the bay is inappropriate because the model 
forecasts potential outcomes of management actions and does not 
represent the actual health conditions of the bay. 

The Bay Program recognizes that improvements in its current reporting 
approach are needed. The program is also developing new reporting 
formats that it believes will more clearly describe the bay's current 
health and the status of the restoration effort. As part of this 
effort, the Bay Program plans to issue separate reports in January and 
March 2006, one that would focus on the results of management actions 
and the other on the bay's health status. The Bay Program also believes 
that their current efforts to develop an integrated approach for 
assessing progress will contribute to their efforts to more effectively 
report on the bay's health. 

The Bay Program Lacks an Independent Report Review Process: 

The credibility of the State of the Chesapeake Bay reports is further 
impaired because the Bay Program does not have an independent review 
process to ensure that its reports are accurate and credible. The 
officials who manage and are responsible for the restoration effort 
also analyze, interpret, and report the data to the public. No process 
currently exists to involve any other organization or group in this 
process. For example, according to a member of the Bay Program's 
Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, this committee, which has 
responsibility for providing scientific and technical advice to the 
Chesapeake Bay Program, is not involved in developing the reports and 
is not part of the review process. Instead, the reports are developed 
by the Communications and Education Subcommittee using data provided by 
the Monitoring and Analysis Subcommittee. The reports are then reviewed 
by representatives from each of the signatory jurisdictions prior to 
publication. We believe this lack of independence in reporting has led 
to the Bay Program projecting a rosier view of the health of the bay 
than may have been warranted. According to representatives of two of 
the signatories to the agreement, the signatories find it advantageous 
to positively report on the bay's health, because positive trends help 
sustain both political and public interest as well as support for the 
effort. Therefore, the Bay Program has an incentive to present the most 
positive picture to the public of the progress that has been made in 
restoring the bay's health. Chesapeake Bay Program officials 
acknowledged that concerns have been expressed that past reports 
projected a rosier view than was warranted. The officials noted that 
they believe that the 2004 State of the Chesapeake Bay report is less 
positive and pointed out that the report states that the bay and its 
watershed are in peril. 

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. Some 
program partners we interviewed also echoed the need for an independent 
review panel and stated that it would help improve the Bay Program's 
reports. For example, according to one partner, an independent group 
with no vested interest in the outcome of the reports could improve 
credibility. 

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

An estimated $3.7 billion in direct funding was provided to restore the 
Chesapeake Bay from fiscal years 1995 through 2004.[Footnote 11] This 
funding was provided for such purposes as water quality protection and 
restoration, sound land use, vital habitat protection and restoration, 
living resource protection and restoration, and stewardship and 
community engagement. An additional $1.9 billion in indirect funding 
was also provided for activities that affect the restoration effort. 
These activities are conducted as part of broader agency efforts and/or 
would continue without the restoration effort. 

Direct 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. 
As shown in figure 4, the states typically provided about 75 percent of 
the direct funding for restoration, and the funding has generally 
increased over the 10-year period. 

Figure 4: Direct Funding Provided by the Federal Agencies, States, and 
the District of Columbia, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in Constant 
2004 Dollars: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided the greatest amount of 
direct funding. 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. Table 1 shows the amount of direct funding these 
entities provided. 

Table 1: Direct Funding Provided by the Federal Agencies, States, and 
District of Columbia, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in Constant 2004 
Dollars: 

Dollars in millions. 

Federal Agency: Department of Defense: Army Corps of Engineers; 
Amount of direct funding: $293.5. 

Federal Agency: Department of Defense: Army; 
Amount of direct funding: $56.1. 

Federal Agency: Department of Defense: Navy/Marines; 
Amount of direct funding: $5.8. 

Total--Department of Defense;
Amount of direct funding: $355.4. 

EPA (total);
Amount of direct funding: $253.7. 

Federal Agency: Department of Agriculture: Farm Service Agency; 
Amount of direct funding: $167.0. 

Federal Agency: Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources 
Conservation Service; 
Amount of direct funding: $51.5. 

Federal Agency: Department of Agriculture:U.S. Forest Service; 
Amount of direct funding: $11.9. 

Total--Department of Agriculture; 
Amount of direct funding: $230.4. 

Federal Agency: Department of the Interior: U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service; 
Amount of direct funding: $45.7. 

Federal Agency: Department of the Interior:U.S. Geological Survey; 
Amount of direct funding: $24.2. 

Federal Agency: Department of the Interior:National Park Service; 
Amount of direct funding: $7.5. 

Total--Department of the Interior; 
Amount of direct funding: $77.4. 

Federal Agency: Department of Commerce: National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration; 
Amount of direct funding: $55.5. 

Total--federal agencies;
Amount of direct funding: $972.4. 

State: Maryland;
Amount of direct funding: $1,862.4. 

State: Virginia;
Amount of direct funding: $752.6. 

State: District of Columbia;
Amount of direct funding: $41.8. 

State: Pennsylvania;
Amount of direct funding: $28.1. 

Total--all states;
Amount of direct funding: $2,684.8. 

Grand total: Amount of direct funding: $3,657.2. 

Source: GAO analysis of agency data. 

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. 

[End of table] 

The percentage of direct funding provided for each of the five goals in 
Chesapeake 2000 varies. The largest percentage of direct funding-- 
approximately 47 percent--went to water quality protection and 
restoration. The smallest percentage of direct funding--about 4 
percent--was provided for stewardship and community engagement. Figure 
5 shows the percentage of direct funding provided for each of the 
goals. 

Figure 5: 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] 

Note: Examples of water quality protection and restoration activities 
include upgrades to wastewater treatment plants and technical 
assistance for the implementation of agricultural best management 
practices. Examples of sound land use activities include land 
acquisition and support for smart growth initiatives. Examples of vital 
habitat protection and restoration activities include wetland 
restoration and studies for determining the best methods for protecting 
and restoring submerged aquatic vegetation. Examples of living resource 
protection and restoration activities include oyster studies and 
creating fish passages in areas of blockage. Examples of stewardship 
and community engagement activities include educational programs, 
publications, and informational forums. 

[End of figure] 

Indirect Funding for Activities That Affect the Restoration Effort: 

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 have an indirect impact on 
bay restoration. These activities are conducted as part of broader 
agency efforts and/or would continue without the restoration effort. 
For example, the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources 
Conservation Service provides funding for programs that assist farmers 
in implementing agricultural best management practices. This assistance 
is part of the agency's nationwide efforts and would continue even if 
the bay restoration effort did not exist. Similarly, the majority of 
Pennsylvania's funding is included in the total for indirect funding 
because, while the state's restoration efforts are important for 
restoring the bay, such as reducing agricultural runoff, bay 
restoration is not the primary purpose of the funding. 

As with direct funding, indirect funding for the restoration effort has 
also generally increased over fiscal years 1995 through 2004. As shown 
in figure 6, federal agencies typically provided about half of the 
indirect funding for the restoration effort. 

Figure 6: Indirect Funding Provided by Federal Agencies, States, and 
the District of Columbia, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in Constant 
2004 Dollars: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Federal agencies provided approximately $935 million in indirect 
funding, while Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia provided 
approximately $991 million in indirect funding for the restoration 
effort over the 10-year period. Of the federal agencies, the Department 
of Agriculture provided the greatest amount of indirect funding, 
primarily through the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Of the 
states, Pennsylvania provided the greatest amount of indirect funding. 
Table 2 shows the amount of indirect funding these entities provided. 

Table 2: Indirect Funding Provided for the Chesapeake Bay Restoration 
Effort, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in Constant 2004: 

Dollars in millions. 

Federal Agency: Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources 
Conservation Service; 
Amount of indirect funding: $306.1. 

Federal Agency: Department of Agriculture: Farm Service Agency; 
Amount of indirect funding: $136.5. 

Federal Agency: Department of Agriculture: U.S. Forest Service; 
Amount of indirect funding: $54.0. 

Total--Department of Agriculture; 
Amount of indirect funding: $496.5. 

EPA (total); 
Amount of indirect funding: $181.4. 

Federal Agency: Department of Commerce: National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration; 
Amount of indirect funding: $114.0. 

Federal Agency: Department of Defense: Navy/Marines; 
Amount of indirect funding: 69.9. 

Federal Agency: Department of Defense: Army; 
Amount of indirect funding: $17.3. 

Federal Agency: Department of Defense: Army Corps of Engineers; 
Amount of indirect funding: $0. 

Total--Department of Defense; 
Amount of indirect funding: $87.2. 

Federal Agency: Department of the Interior: U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service; 
Amount of indirect funding: $51.8. 

Federal Agency: Department of the Interior: National Park Service; 
Amount of indirect funding: $2.2. 

Federal Agency: Department of the Interior: U.S. Geological Survey; 
Amount of indirect funding: $1.7. 

Total--Department of the Interior; 
Amount of indirect funding: $55.7. 

Total--federal agencies; 
Amount of indirect funding: $934.9. 

State: Pennsylvania; 
Amount of indirect funding: $863.8. 

State: District of Columbia; 
Amount of indirect funding: $127.2. 

State: Maryland; 
Amount of indirect funding: $0. 

State: Virginia; 
Amount of indirect funding: $0. 

Total--all states; 
Amount of indirect funding: $991.0. 

Grand total; 
Amount of indirect funding: $1,925.9. 

Source: GAO analysis of agency data. 

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. 

[End of table] 

The percentage of indirect funding provided for each of the five goals 
in Chesapeake 2000 varies. The largest percentage of indirect funding-
-approximately 44 percent--went to water quality protection and 
restoration. The smallest percentage of indirect funding-- 
approximately 4 percent--went to living resource protection and 
restoration. Figure 7 shows the percentage of indirect funding that was 
provided for each of the five goals. 

Figure 7: 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] 

[End of figure] 

Appendix V contains additional details on funds obligated for the 
restoration of the Chesapeake Bay from fiscal years 1995 through 2004. 

Although almost $3.7 billion in direct funding and more than $1.9 
billion in indirect funding has been provided for activities to restore 
the Chesapeake Bay, estimates for the amount of funding needed to 
restore the bay far surpass these figures. A January 2003 Chesapeake 
Bay Commission report estimated that the restoration effort faced a 
funding gap of nearly $13 billion to achieve the goals outlined in 
Chesapeake 2000 by 2010. In addition, the report found that the Water 
Quality Protection and Restoration goal faced the largest funding gap. 
Subsequently, in an October 2004 report to the Chesapeake Executive 
Council, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Blue Ribbon Finance Panel 
estimated that the restoration effort is grossly underfunded.[Footnote 
12] The finance panel found that the lack of adequate funding and 
implementation has left the bay effort far short of its goals 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. 

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 states use this funding, along with a 
required 20 percent match, to capitalize their state revolving funds. 
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 
and urban storm water management. The District of Columbia, which is 
exempted from establishing a loan program, received more than $58 
million from the program as grants for water quality projects during 
the same time period. Some of the projects funded may contribute to the 
bay's restoration. For example, a $100 million loan was made to 
Arlington County, Virginia, in 2004 for upgrading a wastewater 
treatment facility to enhance nutrient removal. 

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

Although Chesapeake 2000 provides the overall vision and strategic 
goals for the restoration effort along with short-and long-term 
commitments, the Bay Program lacks a comprehensive, coordinated 
implementation strategy that will enable it to achieve the goals laid 
out in the agreement. Although the Bay Program has adopted 10 keystone 
commitments to focus the partners' efforts and developed several 
planning documents, these plans are sometimes inconsistent with each 
other. Furthermore, the Bay Program is limited in its ability to 
strategically target resources because it has no assurance about the 
level of funds that may be available beyond the short term. According 
to Bay Program officials, they recognize that inconsistent strategies 
have been developed and are currently determining how to reconcile 
these various strategies. 

The Bay Program Lacks a Coordinated Implementation Strategy: 

Chesapeake 2000 and prior agreements have provided the overall 
direction for the restoration effort over the past two decades. 
However, the Bay Program generally lacks a comprehensive, coordinated 
implementation strategy that could provide a road map for accomplishing 
the goals outlined in the agreement. Several Bay Program partners we 
interviewed expressed frustration because the Bay Program has not 
developed a clear, realistic plan for how it will meet the restoration 
goals. For example, a signatory to the Chesapeake Bay agreements noted 
that while Chesapeake 2000 contains the correct goals and appropriately 
identifies actions needed to restore the bay, the Bay Program does not 
have a plan in place that will allow the program to meet these goals. 
Similarly, a federal partner in the effort expressed frustration with 
the Chesapeake Executive Council for not convening a meeting of 
partners after the agreement was signed to decide how to proceed with 
the restoration effort and for not having a clear, overall plan for 
achieving program goals. According to one state partner, there is no 
clear strategy for how the restoration goals should be achieved, and 
such a strategy is needed to help ensure better progress toward 
achieving the Chesapeake 2000 commitments. 

Recognizing that it could not effectively manage all 102 commitments 
outlined in Chesapeake 2000, in 2003, the Bay Program adopted 10 
keystone commitments as a management strategy to focus the partners' 
efforts. The program believes that these commitments, if accomplished, 
will provide the greatest benefit to the bay. These commitments include 
the following: 

* By 2010, achieve, at a minimum, a tenfold increase in native oysters 
in the Chesapeake Bay, based upon a 1994 baseline. 

* By 2007, revise and implement existing fisheries management plans to 
incorporate ecological, social, and economic considerations; 
multispecies fisheries management; and ecosystem approaches. 

* By 2002, implement a strategy to accelerate protection and 
restoration of submerged aquatic vegetation beds in areas of critical 
importance to the bay's living resources. 

* By 2010, work with local governments, community groups, and watershed 
organizations to develop and implement locally supported watershed 
management plans in two-thirds of the bay watershed covered by the 
agreement. These plans would address the protection, conservation, and 
restoration of stream corridors, riparian forest buffers, and wetlands 
for the purposes of improving habitat and water quality, with 
collateral benefits for optimizing stream flow and water supply. 

* By 2010, achieve a net resource gain by restoring 25,000 acres of 
tidal and nontidal wetlands. 

* Conserve existing forests along all streams and shorelines. 

* By 2010, correct the nutrient-and sediment-related problems in the 
Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries sufficiently to remove the bay 
and the tidal portions of its tributaries from the list of impaired 
waters under the Clean Water Act. 

* Strengthen programs for land acquisition and preservation within each 
state that are supported by funding and target the most valued lands 
for protection. Permanently preserve from development 20 percent of the 
land area in the watershed by 2010. 

* By 2012, reduce the rate of harmful sprawl development of forest and 
agricultural land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 30 percent 
measured as an average over 5 years from the baseline of 1992-97, with 
measures and progress reported regularly to the Chesapeake Executive 
Council. 

* Beginning with the class of 2005, provide a meaningful bay or stream 
outdoor experience for every school student in the watershed before 
graduation from high school. 

To achieve the 10 keystone commitments, the Bay Program has developed 
numerous planning documents, such as subcommittee and work group plans, 
state tributary strategies, and species-specific management plans. 
These planning documents, however, are not always consistent with each 
other. For example, a work group of the Bay Program's Living Resources 
Subcommittee developed a strategy for restoring 25,000 acres of 
wetlands by 2010--a commitment under the Vital Habitat Protection and 
Restoration goal. This plan, developed in 2000, describes a strategy of 
restoring 2,500 acres per year through 2010. Subsequently, each state 
within the bay watershed and the District of Columbia developed a 
tributary strategy that describes the actions needed to achieve and 
maintain nitrogen and phosphorus load reductions necessary to remove 
the bay and its tributaries from the impaired waters list by 2010--a 
commitment under the Water Quality Protection and Restoration goal. In 
these strategies, the states describe actions for restoring over 
200,000 acres of wetlands--far exceeding the 25,000 acres that the Bay 
Program has developed strategies for restoring.[Footnote 13] Similarly, 
a work group of the Nutrient Subcommittee developed a plan in 2004 to 
restore at least 10,000 miles of forest buffers by 2010--a commitment 
under the Vital Habitat Protection and Restoration goal. However, the 
tributary strategies developed by Pennsylvania and Virginia describe 
actions to restore a total of about 45,000 miles of forest buffers by 
2010--more than four times the amount called for in the Bay Program's 
plan. 

While we recognize the partners have the freedom to develop higher 
targets than established by the Bay Program, having such varying 
targets causes confusion, not only for the partners, but other 
stakeholders regarding what actions are actually needed to restore the 
bay. Moreover, such an approach appears to contradict the underlying 
principles of the partnership that was formed because the partners 
recognized that a cooperative approach was needed. According to the 
Chesapeake Bay Program Office, the program recognizes that inconsistent 
strategies have been developed and is now determining how to reconcile 
these various strategies. The officials also noted that some 
strategies, like the tributary strategies, have only recently been 
developed and the partners did not realize, until these strategies were 
developed, the extent of the additional work that would be required to 
meet the water quality commitments in Chesapeake 2000. 

The Bay Program Is Limited in Its Ability to Strategically Target 
Resources: 

Since 2000, Bay Program partners have devoted a significant amount of 
their limited resources to developing strategies for achieving the 
commitments outlined in Chesapeake 2000. However, as various partners 
have acknowledged, several of these strategies are either not being 
used by the Bay Program or are believed to be unachievable within the 
2010 time frame. 

According to a Bay Program official, some work groups have invested 
significant resources in developing detailed plans for accomplishing 
specific commitments, but after the plans were developed, the program 
realized it had no resources available to implement the plans. For 
example, the Toxics Subcommittee invested significant resources to 
develop a detailed toxics work plan for achieving the toxics 
commitments in Chesapeake 2000. Even though the Bay Program has not 
been able to implement this work plan as planned because personnel and 
funding have not been available, program officials told us that the 
plan is currently being revised. It is unclear to us why the program is 
investing additional resources to revise this plan when the necessary 
resources are not available to implement it, and it is not one of the 
keystone commitments. According to the Chair of the Toxics 
Subcommittee, the work groups are generally responsible for developing 
strategies for achieving the commitments in Chesapeake 2000 without 
knowing what level of resources will be available to implement the 
strategies. Strategies are often developed in this way because, 
according to a Bay Program official, while they know how much each 
partner has agreed to provide for the upcoming year, they do not know 
how much funding partners will provide in the future. This funding 
challenge was recognized by the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Blue Ribbon 
Finance Panel, which reported that no summary cost of all needed 
restoration activities is available. The panel also noted that the lack 
of adequate funding and implementation has left the Bay Program far 
short of its goals. Without knowing what funding will be available to 
accomplish restoration activities, 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 Bay Program has also spent a significant amount of resources 
developing strategies that some partners believe are unachievable. For 
example, the Bay Program has developed an oyster management plan for 
its commitment to achieve, by 2010, a tenfold increase in oysters, 
based upon a 1994 baseline. Maryland and Virginia have also developed 
state-specific plans for implementing the strategies laid out in the 
oyster management plans. Although the Bay Program has developed these 
detailed strategies and implementation plans, it also states in the 
oyster management plan that it will be unlikely to achieve the 
commitment because of low abundance, degraded habitat, and disease. 
Several partners also told us that they believe that the oyster 
commitment will be impossible to achieve. Similarly, states have spent 
years developing tributary strategies, but several Bay Program partners 
have told us that these strategies are not feasible, particularly given 
current funding levels and time frames. A member of the implementation 
committee told us that, even if the necessary funding was provided, the 
Bay Program does not have the personnel or equipment needed to 
implement all of the strategies that have been developed. Furthermore, 
it is not possible to meet the commitment of removing the bay and its 
tributaries from the impaired waters list by 2010. According to several 
partners we spoke with, while point source reductions called for in 
these strategies are achievable, nonpoint source reductions are 
not.[Footnote 14] In addition, several partners told us that other 
goals are also unachievable. For example, several local government 
representatives told us that, overall, the Bay Program's goals are 
unachievable. They believe that the lack of a realistic plan that is 
based on available resources has discouraged partners and stalled the 
restoration effort. 

The Chesapeake Bay Program Office recognizes that some of the plans 
that have been developed are unachievable but stated that the plans 
were developed to identify what actions will be needed to achieve the 
commitments of Chesapeake 2000. 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 with the current resources 
available. Chesapeake Bay Program Office officials noted that the 
development of an overall implementation plan that takes into account 
available resources had been discussed, but that no agreement could be 
reached among the partners. 

Conclusions: 

Restoring the Chesapeake Bay is a massive, complex, and difficult 
undertaking. The ultimate success of the restoration hinges on several 
factors, of which a well-coordinated and managed implementation 
approach is key. To its credit, the Bay Program has made significant 
strides in developing over 100 different measures of progress, 
publishing dozens of reports on the state of the bay, and creating 
several documents that lay out strategies for fulfilling commitments 
outlined in Chesapeake 2000 that are intended to move the Bay Program 
closer to meeting the overall restoration goals. However, despite the 
extensive efforts that have gone into managing the restoration program, 
the lack of (1) integrated approaches to measure overall progress, (2) 
independent and credible reporting mechanisms, and (3) coordinated 
implementation strategies is undermining the success of the restoration 
effort and potentially eroding public confidence and continued support. 
We believe that the combined impact of these deficiencies has already 
resulted in a situation in which the Bay Program cannot effectively 
present a clear and credible picture of what the restoration effort has 
achieved, what strategies will best further Chesapeake 2000's 
restoration goals, and how limited resources should be channeled to 
develop and implement the most effective strategies. 

With over two decades of restoration experience to rely on, we believe 
that the Bay Program is well positioned to seriously reevaluate how it 
measures and reports on both restoration progress and the actual health 
status of the bay. Given the billions of dollars that have already been 
invested in this project and the billions more that are almost 
certainly needed, stakeholders and the public should have ready access 
to reliable information that presents an accurate assessment of 
restoration progress and the actual health status of the bay. Moreover, 
the long-term partnership is uniquely positioned to undertake a hard 
look at what strategies have been the most cost effective and 
beneficial to the restoration effort and use this information not only 
to inform their future actions but also to ensure that they are not 
developing strategies that will be at cross-purposes or develop 
unrealistic implementation plans that do not reflect available 
resources. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To improve the methods used by the Bay Program to assess progress made 
on the restoration effort, we recommend that the Administrator of EPA 
instruct the Chesapeake Bay Program Office to complete its plans to 
develop and implement an integrated approach to assess overall 
restoration progress. In doing so, the Chesapeake Bay Program Office 
should ensure that this integrated approach clearly ties to the five 
broad restoration goals identified in Chesapeake 2000. 

To improve the effectiveness and credibility of the Bay Program's 
reports on the health of the bay, we recommend that the Administrator 
of EPA instruct the Chesapeake Bay Program Office to take the following 
three actions to revise its reporting approach: 

* include an assessment of the key ecological attributes that reflect 
the bay's current health conditions, 

* report separately on the health of the bay and on the progress made 
in implementing management actions, and: 

* establish an independent and objective reporting process. 

To ensure that the Bay Program is managed and coordinated effectively, 
we also recommend that the Administrator of EPA instruct the Chesapeake 
Bay Program Office to work with Bay Program partners to take the 
following two actions: 

* develop an overall, coordinated implementation strategy that unifies 
the program's various planning documents, and: 

* establish a means to better target its limited resources to ensure 
that the most effective and realistic work plans are developed and 
implemented. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided a draft of this report to the signatories of the Chesapeake 
2000 agreement--the Administrator of EPA; the Governors of Maryland, 
Pennsylvania, and Virginia; the Mayor of the District of Columbia; and 
the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission--for their 
review and comment. EPA, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, 
and the Chesapeake Bay Commission generally concurred with the report's 
findings and recommendations. Although Pennsylvania did not 
specifically comment on the report's findings and recommendations, it 
noted--as did other commenters--that the Bay Program is undertaking 
actions to address the issues discussed in our report. We are 
encouraged that the signatories generally agree with our 
recommendations. Without such actions, we believe that the program will 
be unable to change the status quo and move forward in a more strategic 
and well-coordinated manner. 

In their written comments, all of the signatories also emphasized the 
importance of the tributary strategies developed by the states to the 
restoration effort. Virginia stated that these strategies will serve as 
the basis of the comprehensive implementation plan that we recommended, 
but noted that any regional implementation plan developed must provide 
states with the flexibility to operate within their own cultural, 
legal, and political environments. Maryland echoed this concern, 
stating that while a comprehensive, coordinated strategy is important, 
each jurisdiction must maintain the ability to implement strategies 
that it believes will be most successful in achieving the collective 
goal of reducing nutrient and sediment inputs into the Chesapeake Bay. 
We recognize the importance of the tributary strategies and agree that 
states need flexibility in implementing these strategies. However, we 
continue to believe that it is important to develop an overall, 
coordinated implementation strategy for the Bay Program that unifies 
the various planning documents developed. In its comments, EPA stated 
that the tributary strategies have been developed to guide the 
restoration effort to eventual success and indicated that the Bay 
Program is now aligning its management plans to take better advantage 
of available resources for the restoration effort. EPA also provided 
technical comments and clarifications that we incorporated, as 
appropriate. The signatories' written comments are presented in 
appendixes VI through XI. 

As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents 
of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days 
from the report date. At that time, we will send copies to the 
appropriate congressional committees; the Administrator of EPA; the 
Governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; the Mayor of the 
District of Columbia; the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay 
Commission; and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. We 
also will make copies available to others on request. In addition, the 
report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-3841 or [Hyperlink, mittala@gao.gov]. Contact 
points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs 
may be found on the last page of this report. GAO staff who made major 
contributions to this report are listed in appendix XII. 

Signed by:
Anu K. Mittal: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 

[End of section] 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

We were asked to address several issues concerning the Chesapeake Bay 
Program's (Bay Program) restoration effort. Specifically, we were asked 
to determine (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 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. 

To determine the extent to which the Bay Program has established 
appropriate measures for assessing restoration progress, we obtained 
documentation on the measures being used by the Bay Program to assess 
progress and their linkages to commitments in Chesapeake 2000. We 
analyzed these measures to determine which measures provide information 
about progress in achieving quantifiable commitments and which provide 
information needed to make management decisions. We also analyzed the 
measures to determine their appropriateness for measuring progress 
toward the quantifiable commitments. 

To determine the extent to which the reporting mechanisms the Bay 
Program uses clearly and accurately describe the bay's overall health, 
we obtained a variety of reports issued by the Bay Program, including 
all of the State of the Chesapeake Bay reports. We analyzed these 
reports to identify the types of information included in the reports, 
the consistency of the information provided over time, and the format 
and presentation of the reports. We did not assess the reliability of 
the data provided in the reports. 

To identify the critical elements of effective assessment and reporting 
processes, pros and cons of different assessment and reporting 
processes, and alternative methods of measuring and reporting progress 
that may be applicable to the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort, we 
assembled a panel of recognized experts on the following environmental 
restoration topics: indicator development, modeling, methods for 
reporting restoration progress, watershed restoration, and ecosystem 
restoration. To identify experts on these topics, we used the 
"snowball" technique. We identified experts through a literature search 
and Internet search. As we contacted experts, we verified their 
independence from the Chesapeake Bay Program and asked for additional 
contacts of experts. We selected 60 environmental restoration experts 
as potential panelists. From these 60 experts, we chose the final eight 
panelists on the basis of the following criteria: (1) recommendations 
we received from others knowledgeable in the field of environmental 
restoration; (2) the individual's area of expertise and experience; (3) 
the type of organization represented, including academic institutions, 
government, and private industry; and (4) geographic representation. 
(The names and affiliations of the panel members are listed in app. 
IV). On May 17, 2005, we held an all-day meeting with the eight 
panelists at our office in Washington, D.C. Before the meeting, we 
provided each panel member with a set of eight general discussion 
questions. At the end of each discussion, we asked the panelists to 
respond, using an anonymous ballot, to a set of questions that were 
based on the general discussion topics. We recorded and transcribed the 
meeting to ensure that we accurately captured the panel members' 
statements. 

To obtain information on the funding provided for the restoration 
effort, we developed a data collection instrument that we distributed 
to key federal agencies; the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and 
Virginia; and the District of Columbia. Key federal agencies were 
identified as those that participated in high-level Chesapeake Bay 
Program committees or that provided more than $250,000 annually, on 
average, in direct funding. For the purposes of this report, we defined 
direct funds as those that were provided exclusively for bay 
restoration (e.g., increasing the oyster population) or those that 
would no longer be made available in the absence of the restoration 
effort. To make the comparison more meaningful, we present funding data 
in constant 2004 dollars. Unless otherwise noted, all figures are 
obligation amounts and include administrative costs. We reviewed the 
data from the federal agencies and states for consistency and 
reliability and, when possible, compared the data with data from other 
sources, such as data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) and the Chesapeake Bay Commission. After reviewing the data and 
comparing it with other sources, we sent the data back to the federal 
agencies and states for verification and updates as needed. In 
addition, we asked for explanations of any inconsistencies that we 
identified. After receiving the verified/updated data, we once again 
reviewed the data for consistency and reliability. Finally, we 
contacted the agencies and states with any outstanding questions 
concerning the data and conducted additional data reliability checks. 

To determine how effectively the restoration effort is being 
coordinated and managed, we obtained documentation on the 
organizational structure of the program, the roles and responsibilities 
of the committees and subcommittees, and planning documents developed 
to address the commitments. We analyzed the planning documents for 
consistency and thoroughness. In addition, we obtained information on 
the status of keystone and other commitments. 

To obtain EPA's insights on all four objectives, we met with officials 
from the Chesapeake Bay Program Office to discuss its monitoring and 
assessment, reporting, funding, and coordination and management 
responsibilities. Through these discussions, we obtained an array of 
documents and perspectives related to all four objectives. To obtain 
insights from the other signatories of the Chesapeake Bay agreements, 
we met with officials from the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the District 
of Columbia, and the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. 
Through these efforts, we obtained documents and information related to 
all four objectives. 

To obtain insights from other federal partners to the Bay Program, we 
met with officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, 
Defense, and the Interior. To obtain insights from academic partners to 
the Bay Program, we met with officials from the Chesapeake Research 
Consortium, College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine 
Science, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and University of 
Maryland's Center for Environmental Science. To obtain insights from 
other Bay Program partners, we met with the Alliance for the Chesapeake 
Bay, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Metropolitan Washington Council 
of Governments. We also met with officials from nonpartner 
organizations, such as the Maryland Watermen's Association and the 
Northeast-Midwest Institute. 

We conducted our review from October 2004 through October 2005 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Goals and Commitments in Chesapeake 2000: 

Chesapeake 2000 contains five broad goals and 102 commitments that the 
partners have agreed to accomplish. These goals and commitments are 
listed below. 

Living Resource Protection and Restoration Goal: 

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. 

Oysters: 

By 2010, achieve, at a minimum, a tenfold increase in native oysters in 
the Chesapeake Bay, based upon a 1994 baseline. 

By 2002, develop and implement a strategy to achieve this increase by 
using sanctuaries sufficient in size and distribution, aquaculture, 
continued disease research and disease-resistant management strategies, 
and other management approaches. 

Exotic Species: 

In 2000, establish a Chesapeake Bay Program Task Force to work 
cooperatively with the U.S. Coast Guard, the ports, the shipping 
industry, environmental interests, and others at the national level to 
help establish and implement a national program designed to 
substantially reduce and, where possible, eliminate the introduction of 
non-native species carried in ballast water; and by 2002, develop and 
implement an interim voluntary ballast water management program for the 
waters of the bay and its tributaries. 

By 2001, identify and rank non-native, invasive aquatic and terrestrial 
species, which are causing or have the potential to cause significant 
negative impacts to the bay's aquatic ecosystem. 

By 2003, develop and implement management plans for those species 
deemed problematic to the restoration and integrity of the bay's 
ecosystem. 

Fish Passage and Migratory and Resident Fish: 

By June 2002, identify the final initiatives necessary to achieve our 
existing goal of restoring fish passage for migratory fish to more than 
1,357 miles of currently blocked river habitat by 2003 and establish a 
monitoring program to assess outcomes. 

By 2002, set a new goal with implementation schedules for additional 
migratory and resident fish passages that addresses the removal of 
physical blockages. In addition, the goal will address the removal of 
chemical blockages caused by acid mine drainage. Projects should be 
selected for maximum habitat and stock benefit. 

By 2002, assess trends in populations for priority migratory fish 
species. Determine tributary-specific target population sizes based 
upon projected fish passage, and current and projected habitat 
available, and provide recommendations to achieve those targets. 

By 2003, revise fish management plans to include strategies to achieve 
target population sizes of tributary-specific migratory fish. 

Multispecies Management: 

By 2004, assess the effects of different population levels of filter 
feeders such as menhaden, oysters, and clams on bay water quality and 
habitat. 

By 2005, develop ecosystem-based multispecies management plans for 
targeted species. 

By 2007, revise and implement existing fisheries management plans to 
incorporate ecological, social, and economic considerations, 
multispecies fisheries management and ecosystem approaches. 

Crabs: 

By 2001, establish harvest targets for the blue crab fishery and begin 
implementing complementary state fisheries management strategies 
baywide. Manage the blue crab fishery to restore a healthy spawning 
biomass, size, and age structure. 

Vital Habitat Protection and Restoration Goal: 

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. 

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation: 

Recommit to the existing goal of protecting and restoring 114,000 acres 
of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).[Footnote 15] 

By 2002, revise SAV restoration goals and strategies to reflect 
historic abundance, measured as acreage and density from the 1930s to 
the present. The revised goals will include specific levels of water 
clarity that are to be met in 2010. Strategies to achieve these goals 
will address water clarity, water quality, and bottom disturbance. 

By 2002, implement a strategy to accelerate protection and restoration 
of SAV beds in areas of critical importance to the bay's living 
resources. 

Watersheds: 

By 2010, work with local governments, community groups, and watershed 
organizations to develop and implement locally supported watershed 
management plans in two-thirds of the bay watershed covered by the 
agreement. These plans would address the protection, conservation, and 
restoration of stream corridors, riparian forest buffers, and wetlands 
for the purposes of improving habitat and water quality, with 
collateral benefits for optimizing stream flow and water supply. 

By 2001, each jurisdiction will develop guidelines to ensure the 
aquatic health of stream corridors. Guidelines should consider optimal 
surface and groundwater flows. 

By 2002, each jurisdiction will work with local governments and 
communities that have watershed management plans to select pilot 
projects that promote stream corridor protection and restoration. 

By 2003, include the State of the Bay report, and make available to the 
public, local governments, and others, information concerning the 
aquatic health of stream corridors based on adopted regional 
guidelines. 

By 2004, each jurisdiction, working with local governments, community 
groups, and watershed organizations, will develop stream corridor 
restoration goals based on local watershed management planning. 

Wetlands: 

Achieve a no-net loss of existing wetlands acreage and function in the 
signatories' regulatory programs. 

By 2010, achieve a net resource gain by restoring 25,000 acres of tidal 
and nontidal wetlands. 

To do this, the signatories to the agreement commit to achieve and 
maintain an average restoration rate of 2,500 acres per year basin wide 
by 2005 and beyond. They will evaluate their success in 2005. 

Provide information and assistance to local governments and community 
groups for the development and implementation of wetlands preservation 
plans as a component of a locally based integrated watershed management 
plan. 

Establish a goal of implementing the wetlands plan component in 25 
percent of the land area of each state's bay watershed by 2010. The 
plans would preserve key wetlands while addressing surrounding land use 
so as to preserve wetland functions. 

Evaluate the potential impact of climate change on the Chesapeake Bay 
watershed, particularly with respect to its wetlands, and consider 
potential management options. 

Forests: 

By 2002, ensure that measures are in place to meet the riparian forest 
buffer restoration goal of 2,010 miles by 2010.[Footnote 16] 

By 2003, establish a new goal to expand buffer mileage. 

Conserve existing forests along all streams and shorelines. 

Promote the expansion and connection of contiguous forests through 
conservation easements, greenways, purchase, and other land 
conservation mechanisms. 

Water Quality Protection and Restoration Goal: 

Achieve and maintain the water quality necessary to support the aquatic 
living resources of the bay and its tributaries and to protect human 
health. 

Nutrients and Sediments: 

Continue efforts to achieve and maintain the 40 percent nutrient 
reduction goal agreed to in 1987, as well as the goals being adopted 
for the tributaries south of the Potomac River.[Footnote 17] 

By 2010, correct the nutrient-and sediment-related problems in the 
Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries sufficiently to remove the bay 
and the tidal portions of its tributaries from the list of impaired 
waters under the Clean Water Act. In order to achieve this: 

By 2001, define the water quality conditions necessary to protect 
aquatic living resources and then assign load reductions for nitrogen 
and phosphorus to each major tributary; 

Using a process parallel to that established for nutrients, determine 
the sediment load reductions necessary to achieve the water quality 
conditions that protect aquatic living resources, and assign load 
reductions for sediment to each major tributary by 2001; 

By 2002, complete a public process to develop and begin implementation 
of revised Tributary Strategies to achieve and maintain the assigned 
loading goals; 

By 2003, the jurisdictions with tidal waters will use their best 
efforts to adopt new or revised water quality standards consistent with 
the defined water quality conditions. Once adopted by the 
jurisdictions, EPA will work expeditiously to review the new or revised 
standards, which will then be used as the basis for removing the bay 
and its tidal rivers from the list of impaired waters; and: 

By 2003, work with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and others to 
adopt and begin implementing strategies that prevent the loss of the 
sediment retention capabilities of the lower Susquehanna River dams. 

Chemical Contaminants: 

The signatories commit to fulfilling the 1994 goal of a Chesapeake Bay 
free of toxics by reducing or eliminating the input of chemical 
contaminants from all controllable sources to levels that result in no 
toxic or bioaccumulative impact on the living resources that inhabit 
the bay or on human health. 

By fall of 2000, reevaluate and revise, as necessary, the "Chesapeake 
Bay Basinwide Toxics Reduction and Prevention Strategy" focusing on: 

Complementing state and federal regulatory programs to go beyond 
traditional point source controls, including nonpoint sources such as 
groundwater discharge and atmospheric deposition, by using a watershed- 
based approach; and: 

Understanding the effects and impacts of chemical contaminants to 
increase the effectiveness of management actions. 

Through continual improvement of pollution prevention measures and 
other voluntary means, strive for zero release of chemical contaminants 
from point sources, including air sources. 

Particular emphasis shall be placed on achieving, by 2010, elimination 
of mixing zones for persistent or bioaccumulative toxics. 

Reduce the potential risk of pesticides to the bay by targeting 
education, outreach, and implementation of integrated pest management 
and specific best management practices on those lands that have higher 
potential for contributing pesticide loads to the bay. 

Priority Urban Waters: 

Support the restoration of the Anacostia River, Baltimore Harbor, and 
Elizabeth River and their watersheds as models for urban river 
restoration in the bay basin. 

By 2010, the District of Columbia, working with its watershed partners, 
will reduce pollution loads to the Anacostia River in order to 
eliminate public health concerns and achieve the living resource, water 
quality, and habitat goals of the current and past agreements. 

Air Pollution: 

By 2003, assess the effects of airborne nitrogen compounds and chemical 
contaminants on the bay ecosystem and help establish reduction goals 
for these contaminants. 

Boat Discharge: 

By 2003, establish appropriate areas within the Chesapeake Bay and its 
tributaries as "no discharge zones" for human waste from boats. 

By 2010, expand by 50 percent the number and availability of waste pump-
out facilities. 

By 2006, reassess progress in reducing the impact of boat waste on the 
bay and its tributaries. This assessment will include evaluating the 
benefits of further expanding no discharge zones, as well as increasing 
the number of pump-out facilities. 

Sound Land Use Goal: 

Develop, promote, and achieve sound land use practices which 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. 

Land Conservation: 

By 2001, complete an assessment of the bay's resource lands, including 
forests and farms, emphasizing their role in the protection of water 
quality and critical habitats, as well as cultural and economic 
viability. 

Provide financial assistance or new revenue sources to expand the use 
of voluntary and market-based mechanisms such as easements, purchase, 
or transfer of development rights and other approaches to protect and 
preserve natural resource lands. 

Strengthen programs for land acquisition and preservation within each 
state that are supported by funding: 

and target the most valued lands for protection. 

Permanently preserve from development 20 percent of the land area in 
the watershed by 2010. 

Provide technical and financial assistance to local governments to plan 
for or revise plans, ordinances, and subdivision regulations to provide 
for the conservation and sustainable use of the forest and agricultural 
lands. 

In cooperation with local governments, develop and maintain in each 
jurisdiction a strong geographic information system to track the 
preservation of resource lands and support the implementation of sound 
land use practices. 

Development, Redevelopment, and Revitalization: 

By 2012, reduce the rate of harmful sprawl development of forest and 
agricultural land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 30 percent 
measured as an average over 5 years from the baseline of 1992-97, with 
measures and progress reported regularly to the Chesapeake Executive 
Council. 

By 2005, in cooperation with local government, identify and remove 
state and local impediments to low impact development designs to 
encourage the use of such approaches and minimize water quality 
impacts. 

Work with communities and local governments to encourage sound land use 
planning and practices that address the impacts of growth, development, 
and transportation on the watershed. 

By 2002, review tax policies to identify elements that discourage 
sustainable development practices or encourage undesirable growth 
patterns. Promote the modification of such policies and the creation of 
tax incentives that promote the conservation of resource lands and 
encourage investments consistent with sound growth management 
principles. 

The jurisdictions will promote redevelopment and remove barriers to 
investment in underutilized urban, suburban, and rural communities by 
working with localities and development interests. 

By 2002, develop analytical tools that will allow local governments and 
communities to conduct watershed-based assessments of the impacts of 
growth, development, and transportation decisions. 

By 2002, compile information and guidelines to assist local governments 
and communities to promote ecologically-based designs in order to limit 
impervious cover in undeveloped and moderately developed watersheds and 
reduce the impact of impervious cover in highly developed watersheds. 

Provide information to the development community and others so they may 
champion the application of sound land use practices. 

By 2003, work with local governments and communities to develop land- 
use management and water resource protection approaches that encourage 
the concentration of new residential development in areas supported by 
adequate water resources and infrastructure to minimize impacts on 
water quality. 

By 2004, the jurisdictions will evaluate local implementation of 
stormwater, erosion control, and other locally-implemented water 
quality protection programs that affect the bay system and ensure that 
these programs are being coordinated and applied effectively in order 
to minimize the impacts of development. 

Working with local governments and others, develop and promote 
wastewater treatment options, such as nutrient reducing septic systems, 
which protect public health and minimize impacts to the bay's 
resources. 

Strengthen brownfield redevelopment. By 2010, rehabilitate and restore 
1,050 brownfield sites to productive use. 

Working with local governments, encourage the development and 
implementation of emerging urban stormwater retrofit practices to 
improve their water quantity and quality function. 

Transportation: 

By 2002, the signatory jurisdictions will promote coordination of 
transportation and land use planning to encourage compact, mixed use 
development patterns, revitalization in existing communities and 
transportation strategies that minimize adverse effects on the bay and 
its tributaries. 

By 2002, each state will coordinate its transportation policies and 
programs to reduce the dependence on automobiles by incorporating 
travel alternatives such as telework, pedestrian, bicycle, and transit 
options, as appropriate, in the design of projects so as to increase 
the availability of alternative modes of travel as measured by 
increased use of those alternatives. 

Consider the provisions of the federal transportation statutes for 
opportunities to purchase easements to preserve resource lands adjacent 
to rights of way and special efforts for stormwater management on both 
new and rehabilitation projects. 

Establish policies and incentives that encourage the use of clean 
vehicle and other transportation technologies that reduce emissions. 

Public Access: 

By 2010, expand by 30 percent the system of public access points to the 
bay, its tributaries, and related resource sites in an environmentally 
sensitive manner by working with state and federal agencies, local 
governments, and stakeholder organizations. 

By 2005, increase the number of designated water trails in the 
Chesapeake Bay region by 500 miles. 

Enhance interpretation materials that promote stewardship at natural, 
recreational, historical, and cultural public access points within the 
Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

By 2003, develop partnerships with at least 30 sites to enhance place- 
based interpretation of bay-related resources and themes and stimulate 
volunteer involvement in resource restoration and conservation. 

Stewardship and Community Engagement Goal: 

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. 

Education and Outreach: 

Make education and outreach a priority in order to achieve public 
awareness and personal involvement on behalf of the bay and local 
watersheds. 

Provide information to enhance the ability of citizen and community 
groups to participate in bay restoration activities on their property 
and in their local watershed. 

Expand the use of new communications technologies to provide a 
comprehensive and interactive source of information on the Chesapeake 
Bay and its watershed for use by public and technical audiences. 

By 2001, develop and maintain a Web-based clearinghouse of this 
information specifically for use by educators. 

Beginning with the class of 2005, provide a meaningful bay or stream 
outdoor experience for every school student in the watershed before 
graduation from high school. 

Continue to forge partnerships with the Department of Education and 
institutions of higher learning in each jurisdiction to integrate 
information about the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed into school 
curricula and university programs. 

Provide students and teachers alike with opportunities to directly 
participate in local restoration and protection projects, and to 
support stewardship efforts in schools and on school property. 

By 2002, expand citizen outreach efforts to more specifically include 
minority populations by, for example, highlighting cultural and 
historical ties to the bay, and providing multicultural and 
multilingual educational materials on stewardship activities and bay 
information. 

Community Engagement: 

Jurisdictions will work with local governments to identify small 
watersheds where community-based actions are essential to meeting bay 
restoration goals--in particular wetlands, forested buffers, stream 
corridors, and public access and work with local governments and 
community organizations to bring an appropriate range of Bay Program 
resources to these communities. 

Enhance funding for locally based programs that pursue restoration and 
protection projects that will assist in the achievement of the goals of 
this and past agreements. 

By 2001, develop and maintain a clearinghouse for information on local 
watershed restoration efforts, including financial and technical 
assistance. 

By 2002, each signatory jurisdiction will offer easily-accessible 
information suitable for analyzing environmental conditions at a small 
watershed scale. 

Strengthen the Chesapeake Bay Program's ability to incorporate local 
governments into the policy decision making process. 

By 2001, complete a reevaluation of the Local Government Participation 
Action Plan and make necessary changes in Bay Program and 
jurisdictional functions based upon the reevaluation. 

Improve methods of communication with and among local governments on 
bay issues and provide adequate opportunities for discussion of key 
issues. 

By 2001, identify community watershed organizations and partnerships. 
Assist in establishing new organizations and partnerships where 
interest exists. These partners will be important to successful 
watershed management efforts in distributing information to the public, 
and engaging the public in the bay restoration and preservation effort. 

By 2005, identify specific actions to address the challenges of 
communities where historically poor water quality and environmental 
conditions have contributed to disproportional health, economic, or 
social impacts. 

Government by Example: 

By 2002, each signatory will put in place processes to: 

Ensure that all properties owned, managed, or leased by the signatories 
are developed, redeveloped, and used in a manner consistent with all 
relevant goals, commitments, and guidance of the agreement. 

Ensure that the design and construction of signatory-funded development 
and redevelopment projects are consistent with all relevant goals, 
commitments, and guidance of the agreement. 

Expand the use of clean vehicle technologies and fuels on the basis of 
emission reductions, so that a significantly greater percentage of each 
signatory government's fleet of vehicles use some form of clean 
technology. 

By 2001, develop an Executive Council Directive to address stormwater 
management to control nutrient, sediment, and chemical contaminant 
runoff from state, federal, and District of Columbia-owned land. 

Partnerships: 

Strengthen partnerships with Delaware, New York, and West Virginia by 
promoting communication and by seeking agreements on issues of mutual 
concern. 

Work with nonsignatory bay states to establish links with community- 
based organizations throughout the bay watershed. 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: Chesapeake Bay Program Partners: 

The Chesapeake Bay Program (Bay Program) is a regional partnership that 
includes many partners, including federal agencies, states, a tristate 
legislative commission, academic institutions, and others. As noted 
below, six of the partners are signatories to the Chesapeake Bay 
agreements. The six signatories make up the Chesapeake Executive 
Council, which meets annually to establish policy direction for the Bay 
Program. 

Federal Agencies: 

* U.S. Department of Agriculture: 

* Agricultural Research Service: 

* Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service: 

* Farm Service Agency: 

* National Arboretum: 

* Natural Resources Conservation Service: 

* U.S. Forest Service: 

* U.S. Department of Commerce: 

* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: 

* U.S. Department of Defense: 

* Defense Logistics Agency: 

* U.S. Department of the Air Force: 

* U.S. Department of the Army: 

* U.S. Department of the Navy: 

* U.S. Department of Education: 

* U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Signatory): 

* U.S. Department of Homeland Security: 

* U.S. Coast Guard: 

* U.S. Department of the Interior: 

* National Park Service: 

* U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: 

* U.S. Geological Survey: 

* U.S. Department of Transportation: 

* U.S. Federal Highway Administration: 

* U.S. Postal Service: 

* U.S. General Services Administration: 

* National Aeronautics and Space Administration: 

* National Capital Planning Commission: 

States: 

* Delaware: 

* District of Columbia (Signatory): 

* Maryland (Signatory): 

* New York: 

* Pennsylvania (Signatory): 

* Virginia (Signatory): 

* West Virginia: 

Tristate Legislative Commission: 

* Chesapeake Bay Commission (Signatory): 

Academic Institutions: 

* Academy of Natural Sciences: 

* Chesapeake Research Consortium: 

* College of William and Mary: 

* Virginia Institute of Marine Science: 

* Cornell Cooperative Extension (New York): 

* Old Dominion University: 

* Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography: 

* Department of Biological Sciences: 

* Pennsylvania State University: 

* Smithsonian Institution: 

* Smithsonian Environmental Research Center: 

* University of Delaware Cooperative Extension: 

* University of the District of Columbia: 

* University of Maryland: 

* Regional Earth Science Applications Center: 

* University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science: 

* University of Pennsylvania: 

* University of Virginia: 

* Virginia SeaGrant Program: 

* Virginia Cooperative Extension Office: 

* Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: 

* West Virginia University: 

* West Virginia Extension Service: 

Others: 

* Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: 

* American Forests: 

* Anacostia Watershed Society: 

* Center for Chesapeake Communities: 

* Center for Watershed Protection: 

* Chesapeake Bay Foundation: 

* Chesapeake Bay Information Network: 

* Chesapeake Bay Trust: 

* Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network: 

* International City/County Management Association: 

* Local Government Environmental Assistance Network: 

* Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin: 

* Low Impact Development Center: 

* Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: 

* Montgomery County Environmental Protection: 

* National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: 

* Potomac Conservancy: 

* Susquehanna River Basin Commission: 

* Upper Susquehanna Coalition: 

* 680 watershed organizations: 

[End of section] 

Appendix IV: Summary of Expert Panel Observations on Assessing and 
Reporting on Restoration Progress: 

This appendix provides the names and affiliations of our expert panel 
members and summarizes the discussions held at an all-day meeting. The 
information presented in this appendix may not represent the views of 
every panel member and should not be considered to be the views of GAO. 

Members of Our Expert Panel: 

The following individuals were members of the GAO expert panel on the 
Chesapeake Bay restoration effort: 

* Allan, J. David, Professor, School of Natural Resources & 
Environment, University of Michigan; 

* Harwell, Mark, Professor, Florida A&M University; 

* Gunderson, Lance, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental 
Studies, Emory University; 

* Hill, Brian, Chief of the Watershed Research Branch, Mid-Continent 
Ecology Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; 

* Kusler, Jon, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland 
Managers; 

* Nuttle, William, Consultant, Eco-Hydrology; 

* Reed, Denise, Associate Professor, Department of Geology and 
Geophysics, University of New Orleans; and: 

* Stevenson, R. Jan, Professor, Department of Zoology, Michigan State 
University. 

Summary of Panel Observations: 

On May 17, 2005, we held an all-day meeting with the eight panelists at 
our office in Washington, D.C. Before the meeting, we provided each 
panel member with background information on the Chesapeake Bay Program 
(Bay Program) and a set of eight general discussion questions. At the 
end of each discussion, we asked the panelists to respond, using an 
anonymous ballot, to a series of questions that were based on the 
general discussion topics. The eight discussion topics covered three 
overarching themes: (1) assessing the health status of an ecosystem, 
(2) reporting the health status of an ecosystem, and (3) assessing 
progress of a restoration effort. 

Assessing the Health of an Ecosystem: 

For the first theme of the day, the panelists spoke on three general 
discussion topics to identify the critical elements of an effective 
assessment process. 

Discussion Topic 1: Core Set of Ecosystem Characteristics: 

Panelists agreed that identifying a core set of broad ecosystem 
characteristics is very important when assessing the health of an 
ecosystem and needs to be determined for each individual ecosystem. Our 
panel of experts did not identify these characteristics, saying instead 
that only experts on the Chesapeake Bay should do so. In assessing the 
health of an ecosystem, our panel said, bay experts should first gain 
an understanding of the desired end points--the particular 
characteristics of the system that end users deem important. However, 
the panel cautioned that the bay's experts should identify a limited 
number of essential characteristics--about four to six. Experience in 
developing conceptual models for other ecosystems has shown that it is 
not possible to manage for 100 different characteristics. The Bay 
Program has over 100 specific indicators of various ecosystem 
characteristics. 

Discussion Topic 2: Key Indicators: 

The panelists generally agreed that the Bay Program has the essential 
indicators that must be used at a minimum to assess the health of an 
ecosystem. The Bay Program has many indicators that measure individual 
aspects within the ecosystem, such as the oyster population. However, 
the Bay Program needs more indicators that provide information about 
the biological condition of the ecosystem as a whole and that reflect 
stress and response relationships. Then patterns and status can be 
determined and trends can be assessed. Criteria for selecting good 
environmental indicators are available in literature. 

The panel also noted that models are useful, but it is important to 
understand the intended use of the model and its limitations. The Bay 
Program's predictive model is intended to help weigh alternative 
actions and determine how effective different management actions may be 
in restoring the ecosystem. The model can be used to make predictions 
about what the condition of the ecosystem may be in particular future 
years, and the Bay Program can then confirm those predictions with 
subsequent monitoring. The Bay Program should not use a predictive 
model to report on current conditions, which should be based on actual 
measurements. 

Discussion Topic 3: Overarching Indices: 

Panelists agreed that a limited number of integrated measures can be 
used to assess an ecosystem. A few integrated measures that describe 
the overall health of the system are valuable in making an overall 
assessment of the system and are well suited for reporting on the 
overall health. The overall health of a system can be described in a 
qualitative sense, with a grade for example. Overarching indicators can 
be used to assign grades to between four and six different ecological 
characteristics. 

Reporting the Health of an Ecosystem: 

For the second theme of the day, the panelists spoke on three general 
discussion topics to identify the critical elements of effective 
reporting. 

Discussion Topic 4: Reporting the Health of the Chesapeake Bay: 

Panelists generally agreed that, based on information provided in the 
Bay Program reports, the public would probably not be able to clearly 
and accurately understand the health of the Chesapeake Bay. While 
panelists found the 2004 State of the Chesapeake Bay report visually 
appealing, they believed it lacked a clear, overall picture of system 
health. In addition, Bay Program reports emphasize health and 
management of the program in one document and are overly oriented to 
reporting on the progress of the program at the expense of 
communicating information of the health status of the bay. The 
panelists believed that an independent assessment of the bay's health 
is probably necessary to provide a clear and accurate report on the 
status of the bay's health. 

Discussion Topic 5: Characteristics of Effective Reporting: 

Panelists agreed that effective reports on the health of an ecosystem 
contain information that is relevant, accurate, timely, consistent, 
thorough, precise, objective, transparent, and peer reviewed or 
verified. Panelists noted that the strength of the Bay Program's 
reports depends on the public's perception of the Bay Program's 
integrity and that, if the reports underwent an independent science 
review before publication, the public would have sufficient trust in 
the product so that other reports on the bay's health, such as the 
Chesapeake Bay Foundation report, would not be perceived as needed. 

Discussion Topic 6: Reporting Methods: 

Panelists generally agreed that the report card method is effective for 
clearly and accurately reporting ecosystem health. Panelists also noted 
that it is important to distinguish between management initiatives to 
reduce stressors within the ecosystem and the biological effects of 
these initiatives and report on them separately. Instead, the Bay 
Program often mixes indicators, which causes confusion. A report on the 
health of the bay should give a measure for the current condition of 
each ecosystem attribute, such as a grade; an indication of the trend, 
such as an arrow; and summary text that explains what it all means. 

Assessing Progress of a Restoration Effort: 

For the third theme of the day, the panelists spoke on two general 
discussion topics to identify how progress in restoring an ecosystem 
should be assessed. 

Discussion Topic 7: Information Needed to Determine Progress: 

Chesapeake 2000 includes many commitments that are not quantifiable; 
instead, the commitments are focused on actions to strengthen, develop, 
or plan for various aspects of the restoration effort. Many of the 
commitments need to be refined so that they are quantifiable. Panelists 
noted, for example, that Chesapeake 2000 has a commitment to conserve 
existing forests along all streams and shorelines. The commitment 
raises questions about whether that means every single forest, a 
particular number of miles, or to prevent or manage the decline so that 
it is not more than a certain percentage per year. Panelists also 
pointed out that it is possible to have a program that is progressing 
very well from a management perspective but is not showing any evidence 
of cleanup toward the restoration goals. They cited three signs of 
progress: programmatic progress, progress in reducing stressors to the 
ecosystem, and progress in achieving desired ecological outcomes. The 
Bay Program has mixed these measures of progress and has used 
programmatic progress to imply that the program is achieving ecological 
outcomes. 

Discussion Topic 8: Complicating Factors: 

The panelists agreed that external factors that affect the health of an 
ecosystem, such as weather and population growth, should be 
incorporated into an assessment of restoration progress. Similarly, 
actions taken to restore the ecosystem, such as the implementation of 
agricultural best management practices, that may not have an impact of 
the ecosystem for several years should be incorporated into an 
assessment of progress made in restoring an ecosystem. Panelists also 
agreed that reports on the health of an ecosystem should be distinctly 
separate from reports on restoration progress. 

[End of section] 

Appendix V: Funding Information: 

Table 3: Direct Funding Provided by the Federal Agencies According to 
Primary Commitment Addressed, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in 
Constant 2004 Dollars: 

[See PDF for Image] 

Source: GAO analysis of agency data. 

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. 

[A] Army amounts for fiscal years 1995 through 1997 are based upon the 
best professional judgment of an Army official and were calculated 
using an average of the individual commitments from fiscal years 1998 
through 2004. 

[B] No funding information was provided prior to 2000 due to limited 
involvement of the National Park Service with the Bay Program. 

[C] Navy/Marine Corps amounts do not include funding for administrative 
activities. 

[D] Funding was provided for this commitment but amounted to less than 
$50,000. 

[E] Prior to 2002, bay watershed-specific data are not available, and 
thus no Section 319 funds--funds provided in EPA grants to assist 
states in implementing nonpoint source management programs--are 
included in the table for the years 1995-2001. According to an EPA 
official, many Section 319 projects would benefit the nutrient and 
sediment goals of the Chesapeake Bay Program. 

[End of table] 

Table 4: Indirect Funding Provided by the Federal Agencies According to 
Primary Commitment Addressed, Fiscal Years 1995 through 2004, in 
Constant 2004 Dollars: 

[See PDF for Image] 

Source: GAO analysis of agency data. 

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. 

[A] Army amounts for fiscal years 1995 through 1997 are based upon the 
best professional judgment of an Army official and were calculated 
using an average of the individual commitments from fiscal years 1998 
through 2004. An Army official estimated that, in addition to the 
amounts reported, individual Army installations have environmental 
budgets ranging from $2 million to $7 million for environmental 
activities that would indirectly impact Bay restoration. The Army did 
not include those amounts in the table. 

[B] No funding information was provided prior to 2000 due to limited 
involvement of the National Park Service with the Bay Program. 

[C] Navy/Marine Corps amounts do not include funding for administrative 
activities. 

[D] Funding was provided for this commitment but amounted to less than 
$50,000. 

[E] The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was unable to categorize federal 
assistance funding according to the individual commitments addressed. 
Instead, the amounts for federal assistance funding were listed 
according to the broad goal that it addressed. As a result, the total 
for this goal does not equal the sum of the individual commitments. 

[F] Prior to 2002, bay watershed-specific data are not available, and 
thus no Section 319 funds--funds provided in EPA grants to assist 
states in implementing nonpoint source management programs--are 
included in the table for the years 1995-2001. According to an EPA 
official, many Section 319 projects would benefit the nutrient and 
sediment goals of the Chesapeake Bay Program. 

[End of table] 

Table 5: Direct Funding Provided by the States and the District of 
Columbia According to Primary Commitment Addressed, Fiscal Years 1995 
through 2004, in Constant 2004 Dollars: 

Dollars in millions. 

Commitment: Living resource protection and restoration; 
Maryland[A]: $82.4;
Virginia: $50.1;
Pennsylvania: $0.0;
District of Columbia[B]: $0.0;
Total: $132.5. 

Commitment: Vital habitat protection and restoration; 
Maryland[A]: $189.3;
Virginia: $51.0;
Pennsylvania: $0.0;
District of Columbia[B]: $5.0;
Total: $245.3. 

Commitment: Water quality protection and restoration; 
Maryland[A]: $743.6;
Virginia: $381.0;
Pennsylvania: $28.1;
District of Columbia[B]: $36.7;
Total: $1,189.4. 

Commitment: Sound land use;
Maryland[A]: $744.8;
Virginia: $263.5;
Pennsylvania: $0.0;
District of Columbia[B]: $0.0;
Total: $1,008.3. 

Commitment: Stewardship and community engagement; 
Maryland[A]: $102.2;
Virginia: $6.9;
Pennsylvania: $0.0;
District of Columbia[B]: $0.1;
Total: $109.2. 

Total;
Maryland[A]: $1,862.4;
Virginia: $752.6;
Pennsylvania: $28.1;
District of Columbia[B]: $41.8;
Total: $2,684.8. 

Source: GAO analysis of agency data. 

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. 

[A] Maryland data for 1995 does not include the Departments of State 
Planning or Education. Maryland data for 1996 to 1999 is based on a 
draft report. Maryland calculated funding amounts for 2001 by averaging 
the amounts for 2000 and 2002. 

[B] The District of Columbia was unable to provide funding information 
for fiscal years 1995 and 1996 because its program was configured 
differently during that time. In addition, the District of Columbia 
provided obligations where possible with the exception of its 
contribution to the Blue Plains wastewater treatment facility, which is 
an estimate of biological nutrient removal implementation, operation, 
and maintenance costs. 

[End of table] 

Table 6: Indirect Funding Provided by the States and the District of 
Columbia According to Primary Commitment Addressed, Fiscal Years 1995 
through 2004, in Constant 2004 Dollars: 

Dollars in millions. 

Living resource protection and restoration; 
Maryland[A]: $0.0;
Virginia: $0.0;
Pennsylvania: $8.5;
District of Columbia[B]: $0.0;
Total: $8.5. 

Vital habitat protection and restoration; 
Maryland[A]: $0.0;
Virginia: $0.0;
Pennsylvania: $98.0;
District of Columbia[B]: $0.0;
Total: $98.0. 

Water quality protection and restoration; 
Maryland[A]: $0.0;
Virginia: $0.0;
Pennsylvania: $210.8;
District of Columbia[B]: $126.5;
Total: $337.3. 

Sound land use;
Maryland[A]: $0.0;
Virginia: $0.0;
Pennsylvania: $521.7;
District of Columbia[B]: $0.0;
Total: $521.7. 

Stewardship and community engagement; 
Maryland[A]: $0.0;
Virginia: $0.0;
Pennsylvania: $24.7;
District of Columbia[B]: $0.7;
Total: $25.4. 

Total;
Maryland[A]: $0.0;
Virginia: $0.0;
Pennsylvania: $863.8;
District of Columbia[B]: $127.2;
Total: $991.0. 

Source: GAO analysis of agency data. 

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. 

[A] Maryland data for 1995 does not include the Departments of State 
Planning or Education. Maryland data for 1996 to 1999 is based on a 
draft report. Maryland calculated funding amounts for 2001 by averaging 
the amounts for 2000 and 2002. 

[B] The District of Columbia was unable to provide funding information 
for fiscal years 1995 and 1996 because its program was configured 
differently during that time. In addition, the District of Columbia 
provided obligations where possible with the exception of its 
contribution to the Blue Plains wastewater treatment facility, which is 
an estimate of biological nutrient removal implementation, operation, 
and maintenance costs. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix VI: 

United States Environmental Protection Agency: 
Region III: 
1650 Arch Street: 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-2029: 

Oct. 18, 2005: 

Ms. Anu K. Mittal: 
Director: 
Natural Resources and Environment: 
United States Government Accountability Office (GAO):
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. Mittal: 

Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the draft report 
entitled "Chesapeake Bay Program: Improved Strategies Are Needed to 
Better Assess, Report, and Manage Restoration Progress." The draft 
report examines four areas of Program operation and offers three 
recommendations. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in 
general agreement with all three recommendations, and we appreciate the 
chance to offer brief comments on the draft report. 

Your first two recommendations deal with how the Program assesses and 
reports on the restoration effort. The Program has had a formal effort 
on these issues underway for a year now, and we are pleased to note 
that GAO recommends that we complete this effort. Your expert panel and 
several members of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee 
recognized that the Program requires a rigorous review of all the 
environmental indicators we use, and these measures are appropriate to 
assess specific aspects of the restoration effort (pp. 14, 67). The 
Program is now engaged in an effort to aggregate these solid measures 
into an overall measure of Bay health that can be easily communicated 
while maintaining the scientific rigor that has been a hallmark of the 
Program since its inception. Communications products including the 
"Summer Forecast" and website already reflect the recommendation to 
split reports on Bay health from those that discuss the management 
actions which partners are undertaking to restore the ecological health 
of the Bay and its watershed. This relatively simple change in the way 
the Program communicates with the public will significantly improve the 
understanding of our work. 

As the draft report indicates, using the examples of wetlands and 
riparian forest buffers, the extensive set of goals envisioned in 
Chesapeake 2000 were significantly beyond the scope of previous Bay 
Program efforts. Your final recommendation, to develop an 
implementation strategy that takes into account available resources, 
also corresponds to efforts already underway. The Program's adaptive 
management methods led us first to focus on establishing enforceable 
water quality standards so that the regulatory programs under the Clean 
Water Act could be brought fully to bear, resulting in this year's 
adoption of new water quality standards and an interstate strategy for 
establishing enforceable permit limits for more than 400 wastewater 
facilities across the watershed. Secondly, comprehensive state 
tributary strategies have been developed to guide the restoration to 
eventual success. With a strong focus on implementing these strategies, 
the Program is now further aligning its management plans to take better 
advantage of "available resources" for the restoration effort and is 
looking sector-by-sector for the most cost- effective approaches. On 
October 3, 2005, the partners formally adopted a consensus set of 
funding priorities that will be especially relevant to this effort. 

Finally, we appreciate the thoughtful work of the GAO staff during this 
review and their constructive engagement with Chesapeake Bay Program 
Office staff and with representatives of our partner jurisdictions. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by:
Donald S. Welsh: 
Regional Administrator: 

Appendix VII: Comments from the Chesapeake Bay Commission: 

Chesapeake Bay Commission: 

Policy for the Bay - www.chesbay.state. va.us: 

October 14, 2005: 

Ms. Anu K. Mittal: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO): 
441 G. Street, N.W., Room 2G45: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. Mittal: 

Thank you for your comprehensive review of the Chesapeake Bay Program 
and the thoughtful recommendations you developed. The Chesapeake Bay 
Commission, a partner of the Bay Program, supports your efforts and 
concurs with your findings. 

The Bay Program is making strides towards improving the methods used to 
assess progress made on the restoration of the Bay. We agree with your 
recommendation that the Bay Program should complete its plans to 
develop and implement an integrated approach to assess overall 
restoration progress and that the approach must be closely tied to the 
five broad restoration goals identified in Chesapeake 2000. 

Your second recommendation instructs the Bay Program to improve the 
effectiveness and "credibility" of its reports on the health of the 
Bay. The instructions within the recommendation consist of ensuring 
that the Bay Program's reporting approach includes an assessment of the 
key ecological attributes that reflect the Bay's current health 
conditions, reporting separately on the health of the Bay and on the 
progress made, and establishing an independent and objective reporting 
process. While we agree that these efforts will improve the value of 
the information presented to the public, we also acknowledge the 
immense challenge of presenting the results of complex multilayered 
technical data to the general public while maintaining scientific 
integrity. 

I have put the term "credibility" in quotes to highlight a point: The 
report acknowledges that developing comprehensive measures of the Bay's 
health while necessary, is a great challenge. The Bay Program employs 
102 separate indicators to measure health and track progress. Each has 
its own solid scientific and accounting foundation. In combining these 
into a few, more big-picture measures, we must be sure to maintain the 
integrity of the accounting. It must be recognized that an ecosystem 
assessment on this scale has never been successfully completed. And 
while the Chesapeake Bay Program is ideally suited to do this work and 
appreciates the push that the GAO is offering, to undertake this very 
significant, new, science and communication challenge, we need the 
continued and amplified support of the Federal government. For the Bay 
Program to continue "as a [national and international] model" (p.3), 
the Federal government must remain a strong partner. 

To improve the credibility of the Bay Program's reports, establishing 
an independent review panel to review the State of the Bay reports 
before they are issued or establishing an independent group to analyze 
and report on the Bay's health is suggested on page 6 of the draft 
report. We recommend that if such a panel is created, then they should 
be brought into the process as early as possible. Participation in the 
development of the reports from an early stage would be beneficial to 
everyone involved in creating a clear and comprehensive presentation of 
the restoration progress and the health of the Bay. 

Finally, we are also in agreement with your last recommendation to 
develop an overall coordinated implementation strategy that unifies the 
program's planning documents and establishes a means to better target 
its limited resources. As the Chesapeake Bay Commission stated in our 
2004 report, Cost-Effective Strategies for the Bay, to get the most 
benefit from limited resources, the Bay Program partners need to target 
their pollution control resources toward those practices that result in 
the greatest reduction of nutrient and sediment pollution per dollar 
spent --the most cost effective practices. 

The state developed Tributary Strategies that map out state-wide 
comprehensive plans for restoring the Bay, which will cost billions of 
dollars to implement. Targeting the available resources is imperative 
to restoration efforts, but we must not stop there. As the Chesapeake 
Bay Watershed Blue Ribbon Finance Panel acknowledged in their report to 
the Chesapeake Executive Council, current funding levels do not begin 
to meet financing needs for restoring Bay water quality. We must 
continue to work with our partners to secure additional funding to 
support their full efforts. For example, we are currently developing 
regional recommendations for the Federal Farm Bill to direct additional 
funds to our farmers in the Bay watershed for implementation of 
agricultural conservation practices. 

As noted in your draft report, the Chesapeake Bay's watershed spans 
64,000 square miles and traverses six states and the District of 
Columbia. There are numerous stakeholders involved in the efforts of 
the Bay Program and any success we achieve in restoring the Bay 
involves complex partnerships and substantial financial support. 

Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments on the GAO's draft 
report on the Chesapeake Bay Program. We believe we are on track with 
your recommendations and hope that our collective efforts will lead to 
a healthier Chesapeake Bay. 

Signed by:
Ann Pesiri Swanson 

APS: pwh 

[End of section] 

Appendix VIII: Comments from the Commonwealth of Virginia: 

Commonwealth Of Virginia: 
W. Tayloc Murphy, Jr. 
Secretary of Natural Resources: 
Office of the Governor: 
P.O. Box 1475 Richmond, Virginia 23218: 
(804) 786-0044: 
Fax: (804) 371-8333: 
TTY: (804) 786-7765: 

October 18, 2005: 

Ms. Anu K. Mittal: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 
United States Government Accountability Office (GAO): 
Washington, DC 29548: 

Dear Ms. Mittal: 

On behalf of Governor Warner, I want to thank you for the opportunity 
to comment on the Draft Report ("the Report") on the Chesapeake Bay 
Program prepared by the United States Government Accountability Office 
("GAO"). 

The Report contains three primary recommendations. First, it calls on 
the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency 
("EPA") to direct the Chesapeake Bay Program ("the Program") to 
"complete its efforts to develop and implement an integrated assessment 
approach." 

Although I agree that the Program should complete this task, I believe 
that any such assessment must be developed with the understanding that 
the Chesapeake Bay watershed is a complex ecosystem. As you know, the 
Program is the collective effort of the signatories to the Chesapeake 
Bay Agreement of 2000, and in some cases the headwater states of 
Delaware, New York and West Virginia. These partners strive to present 
to the public through a single voice the condition of the Bay in the 
most understandable terms possible; however, it is oftentimes difficult 
to express complex ecological interactions in overly simple terms. 
Virginia, together with its Bay partners, will continue to support 
scientifically defensible measures of ecosystem health that can be 
accurately communicated, and we will offer the expert advice and 
guidance of our agencies in this effort. 

The second recommendation calls upon the Program to revise its 
reporting approach. Since 2004, the Program has been moving in the 
direction suggested by GAO, and it continues to refine its reporting to 
better serve the public and policy makers. I cannot agree with the 
representation made by two of the signatories, as stated on page 23 of 
the Report, that all of the Program partners "find it advantageous" to 
give a rosier view of the Bay's health than conditions warrant. In 
Virginia, it has been our policy and practice to be honest with the 
public and policy makers regarding the degraded condition of the 
Chesapeake Bay. When there is good news to report, we report it, but we 
have not been shy when reporting bad news as well. 

I am also concerned about the frequent allegation that the information 
presented by the Program is not "credible." The Report does not suggest 
that information presented by the Program is not accurate, but rather 
that it is sometimes presented in an improper context, or in a manner 
that confuses different types of data. I hope that GAO will review its 
comments on credibility with this observation in mind and that it will 
not leave the reader with the impression that the public has been 
intentionally mislead or that the data presented by the Program meets 
anything but the highest scientific standards. 

Finally, GAO recommends that the program develop a "comprehensive 
implementation plan that takes into account available resources." I 
would argue that that the tributary strategies developed independently 
by each of the Bay partners (signatories and head water states), and 
the implementation activities associated with them, will serve as the 
basis for the plan that GAO proposes. 

I hope that readers of the report will understand that Virginia has 
begun implementation of our tributary strategies. For point sources, we 
have instituted a comprehensive regulatory management program that will 
reduce and cap nutrient discharges from sewage treatment plants and 
industrial facilities. We have reinvigorated our grant program to 
assist municipal facilities with the cost of upgrades. 

With respect to non-point sources, we are making significant strides in 
addressing urban storm water management, and we are working closely 
with our farmers to reduce the adverse impacts to water quality that 
result from a variety of agricultural practices. We are also seeking 
consistent funding for our agricultural grant programs. Moreover, we 
fully recognize that our tributary strategies are not static documents, 
and we are committed to making changes and revisions to them in order 
to adapt to new circumstances and resources as we continue to implement 
these strategies. 

The Commonwealth of Virginia certainly supports thoughtful and 
achievable implementation plans developed through the Program 
partnership; however, we believe that the states must be given the 
flexibility to operate within their own cultural, legal and political 
environments. The implementation path Virginia chooses must be 
accomplished in the context of our state law and budgets, and any 
regional implementation plan must reflect this reality. 

I would also suggest that this recommendation highlights the 
significant role that the federal government must continue to play in 
the Bay partnership. In the current fiscal year the Governor and the 
Virginia General Assembly, working together, made the largest 
appropriation to the Water Quality Improvement Fund in our history. 
Maryland has begun collecting the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee, and 
Pennsylvania has passed Growing Greener II. These actions are resulting 
in multi-million dollar investments in water quality by the states at 
this time, and we will work to insure that it continues in the coming 
years. We hope that our federal partner will also step up its 
commitment to match this unprecedented level of state support. 

The restoration of the Chesapeake Bay will not be easy or cheap. The 
partners are engaged in a long-term enterprise that will only be 
successful through the full participation of federal, state and local 
governments, as well as the private sector. 

I appreciate the time and thought that went into the development of the 
helpful recommendations by GAO, and I look forward to the 
implementation of those recommendations. I also look forward to the 
positive results that can occur only with the continuation of the 
partnership embodied in the Program. 

Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Report. 
If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact 
me. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 
W. Tayloe Murphy, Jr. 

WTMJr/cbd: 

[End of section] 

Appendix IX: Comments from the District of Columbia: Government Of The 
District Of Columbia Department of Health Environmental Health 
Administration: Office of the Senior Deputy Director: 

October 17, 2005: 

Ms. Anu K. Mittal: 
Director: 
Natural Resources and Environment: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO): 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. Mittal: 

Thank you for giving the District of Columbia the opportunity to review 
the recent GAO Report on the US Environmental Protection Agency's 
Chesapeake Bay Program. We welcome Congressional interest in the 
restoration efforts of the Bay. We appreciate the time and energy your 
staff has put into the report to ensure its accuracy with respect to 
the District of Columbia's contribution to the Bay restoration. 
Overall, The District agrees with the report's findings; however, we 
believe efforts are already underway at the Bay Program to clarify and 
improve its assessment and reporting tools. 

The restoration of the Chesapeake Bay is an enormous challenge, 
involving complex partnerships, tremendous financial resources, and 
strong science. The District of Columbia has committed to help in the 
Bay's restoration as shown by its signature to the Chesapeake Bay 2000 
Agreement, its development and implementation of a Tributary Strategy, 
and its participation in Bay Program activities. The District is proud 
to say that it met the original 40% Bay reduction goal for nitrogen and 
phosphorus. We are now embarked on a Long-Tern Control Plan that will 
reduce combined sewer overflows by 96%. This plan will not only help 
the Anacostia River, but also the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. 
Additionally, the District has revised its water quality standards to 
reflect the recommendations of the Chesapeake Bay Program Water Quality 
Steering Committee. We also have an aggressive urban storm water 
management program, where we track the installation and maintenance of 
best management practices. However, all involved in the Bay Cleanup 
agree that added financial resources are sorely needed to reach the 
Chesapeake 2000 Agreement's ambitious goals. 

Again the District of Columbia appreciates the opportunity to comment 
on the GAO's recommendations to the Chesapeake Bay Program. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Marie Sansone: 
Interim Senior Deputy Director: 

MS/sb: 

cc: Monica Lamboy, Chief of Operations, DOH: Cheryl Edwards, Chief of 
Staff, DOH: Hamid Karimi, Bureau Chief, DOH ERA: 

[End of section] 

Appendix X: Comments from the State of Maryland: 

Maryland Department Of Natural Resources: 

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Governor: 
Michael S. Steele, Lt. Governor: 
Ronald Franks, Secretary: 

October 18, 2005: 

Ms. Anu K. Mittal, Director: 
Natural Resources and Environment: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Ms. Mittal: 

Thank you for your letter to Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. providing 
the State of Maryland with the opportunity to comment on the U.S. 
Government Accountability Office (GAO) proposed report, Chesapeake Bay 
Program: Improved Strategies Are Needed to Better Assess, Report, and 
Manage Restoration Progress (GAO-06-96). Governor Ehrlich has reviewed 
your letter and requested that I, as Secretary of the Maryland 
Department of Natural Resources, respond on his behalf. 

In general, we concur with the results and conclusions contained within 
this report, and believe that many of the issues that have been 
identified are already being addressed through actions being taken by 
the State and the Chesapeake Bay Program. 

As demonstrated in this report, Maryland has been and continues to be a 
leader in efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay (Bay) through two 
decades of consistent programmatic and funding commitments. As 
evidenced in the report, from 1995 through 2004, Maryland provided more 
than $1.9 billion in direct Bay restoration funding --$1.2 billion more 
than any other state. This commitment by the State of Maryland has 
allowed us to successfully leverage a variety of federal funding 
sources including the Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grants. 

Our comments are organized in response to GAO's three major 
recommendations. 

GAO Recommendation: GAO has recommended that the EPA administrator 
instruct the Chesapeake Bay Program to complete its efforts to develop 
and implement an integrated assessment approach. 

Maryland's Response: Maryland agrees that there is a need to continue 
efforts to integrate existing measures of Bay health/restoration. 
However the Chesapeake Bay is a very complicated ecosystem and it is 
critical that characterizing the health of the Bay not be over 
simplified (for example with a letter grade). 

An "integrated approach" does not necessarily imply a single or 
combined metric, rather it requires that all of the components be 
measured and their interactions understood and accounted for. From a 
management perspective, it is critical to continue to report on 
separate metrics because they allow us to assess individual components 
that can be managed. Reporting on separate metrics also allows us to 
educate the public about the complexity of ecosystems and the fact that 
some functions will improve while others may get worse, due to many 
different controlling factors such as weather, actual pollutant loads, 
the timing and location of those loads, disease, harvesting, and the 
interaction of all of those factors. 

The new Chesapeake Bay Program assessment process that provides for 
integrated overarching indices in conjunction with diagnostic 
indicators on ecosystem health, stressors and management actions seems 
to offer an appropriate approach to address the concerns raised by GAO 
while maintaining critical information on individual metrics. 

GAO Recommendation: GAO has recommended that the Bay Program revise its 
reporting approach to improve the effectiveness and credibility of its 
reports. 

Maryland's Responses: Maryland agrees that we need to continue to 
develop indicators and formats that more clearly articulate the current 
state of the Chesapeake Bay. The new indicators framework assessment 
process currently under development by the Bay Program should address 
specifically the concerns of having a core set of ecosystem 
characteristics and the problems of commingling data. Furthermore we 
concur that the Bay Program's reporting process needs independent peer 
review which could be provided by their existing Scientific and 
Technical Advisory Committee or similar entity. 

GAO Recommendation: GAO has recommended that the Bay program develop a 
comprehensive, coordinated implementation strategy that takes into 
account available resources. 

Maryland's Response: The tributary strategies and their associated 
implementation plans developed by Chesapeake Bay watershed 
jurisdictions are the comprehensive implementation plans that GAO 
recommends. Maryland's Strategy, like other Bay states, is extremely 
ambitious. New resources and technologies will need to be identified if 
we are to reach our implementation goals. Recognizing this, Maryland 
has taken an incremental approach in its draft Tributary Strategy 
Implementation Plan that sets measurable, near term implementation 
targets based on available resources and current regulations. In 
addition, the plan includes new initiatives to acquire additional 
technical and financial resources as well as those that improve the 
efficiency and effectiveness of existing programs. The plan will be 
updated every 2 years, establishing a process to guide state agencies, 
legislators and the state house as we address policy gaps and funding 
needs that will move us toward full implementation of the Tributary 
Strategy, and ultimately restored water quality in Chesapeake Bay. 

Maryland believes that while a comprehensive, coordinated strategy is 
important, jurisdictions must maintain their ability to pursue 
achieving these commitments individually. Tributary Strategies and 
their implementation plans vary greatly amongst the jurisdictions 
because of differences in land use, ecological characteristics and 
political philosophy. However each jurisdiction has developed a 
strategy that they believe will be most successful in meeting our 
collective goal of reducing nutrient and sediment inputs into the 
Chesapeake Bay. 

The restoration of the Chesapeake Bay is not a short-term, single 
solution, single jurisdiction effort. Over twenty years of work have 
taught us many lessons that have made us collectively wiser as we 
continue to move forward to restore this national treasure. 

Looking forward, Maryland will continue to support the historic use of 
a mix of regulatory and voluntary programs to achieve Chesapeake Bay 
Program goals. The combination of voluntary and regulatory programs 
allows for the flexibility and innovation that are essential in meeting 
these ambitious goals. In order to be successful we must continue to 
critically evaluate our progress and be willing to change course when 
warranted. The GAO report provides us with an independent evaluation of 
many important components of this effort and we are committed to 
addressing the recommendations therein. 

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to comment. If I may be of 
further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at me at 410- 
260-8100 or Mr. Frank W. Dawson, Director of Watershed Services, at 410-
260-8705, or by email at @dnr.state.md.us. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by:
C. Ronald Franks: 
Secretary: 

cc: Frank W. Dawson, Director, Watershed Services, DNR: 

[End of section] 

Appendix XI: Comments from the State of Pennsylvania: 

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: 
Rachel Carson State Office Building: 
P.O. Box 2063: 
Harrisburg, PA 17105- 2063: 

October 18, 2005: 

Secretary 717-787-2814: 

Ms. Anu K. Mittal: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 
United States Government Accountability Office (GAO): 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. Mittal: 

Thank you for your recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) review 
of several aspects of the Chesapeake Bay Program and your request to 
Governor Rendell for comments on the report. I am responding on behalf 
of the Governor, who is committed to ensuring that Pennsylvania's fresh 
water streams provide sustainable habitat to support its fisheries, 
provide clean water to maintain safe drinking water systems, and 
provide the water quality necessary to enhance Pennsylvania and the 
Chesapeake Bay Watershed's quality of life. 

As noted in your report, the Chesapeake Bay Program partners have 
completed an analysis similar to that undertaken by GAO, and they have 
moved to address issues of concern. In 2003, the Chesapeake Bay 
Commission completed its analysis of "The Cost of a Clean Bay," 
assessing the funding necessary to implement the Chesapeake 2000 
Agreement. Rather than analyze past funding, the Bay Program partners 
estimated future funding needs to position the states to marshal the 
necessary resources to restore the Bay. This work was further refined 
for the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement water quality commitments with the 
development of states' Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategies. 

These Tributary Strategies are the comprehensive, coordinated 
implementation strategies called for by GAO. They identify the diverse 
set of management actions that will result in the removal of the 
Chesapeake Bay from the Clean Water Act list of impaired waters. It is 
critical that these be "state" strategies, developed with input from 
local stakeholders. Pennsylvania's Tributary Strategy includes 
management measures that address all five major goals of the Chesapeake 
2000 Agreement. 

When Pennsylvania developed its Tributary Strategy, we estimated the 
implementation costs and found them to exceed our existing resources. 
Since that time, we have sought to better understand the resources 
needs and to launch new cost-effective initiatives. In Pennsylvania's 
portion of the watershed, this calls for a focus on agriculture best 
management practices. We also recognize the immediate gains that can be 
made by implementing nutrient reduction technology at wastewater 
treatment plants. And finally, we recognize that many urban management 
measures will be implemented through normal development practices 
necessary to comply with state and federal rules for stormwater 
management. I would like to complete the record by providing 
information on several of the new initiatives undertaken in 
Pennsylvania. 

Growing Greener: 

Since 2000, the Growing Greener Program has provided funding to 
preserve farmland and protect open space; clean up abandoned mines and 
restore watersheds; and provide new upgraded water and sewer systems. 

To date, over 467 projects and over $52 million have been funded in 
Pennsylvania's portion of the Bay watershed. 

In July 2005, Governor Rendell signed Growing Greener II, a voter- 
approved plan that invests another $625 million over six years. These 
investments include: 

$230 million to clean up rivers and streams; address environmental 
problems at abandoned mines and contaminated industrial sites; and 
finance the development and deployment of advanced energy projects. 

$217.5 million to preserve natural areas and open spaces; improve state 
parks; and enhance local recreational needs. 

$80 million to protect working farms. 

$50 million to revitalize communities through investments in housing 
and mixed-use redevelopment projects. 

$27.5 million to repair fish hatcheries and aging dams. 

$20 million for habitat-related facility upgrades and repairs. 

Nutrient Management: 

Strengthened Nutrient Management regulations are scheduled for adoption 
by the State Conservation Commission in October 2005. 

Farms required to implement nutrient management plans will increase 
from 840 to 5,210. Manure importers must have nutrient balance sheets 
and written agreements with exporters. Plans are required to be based 
on both nitrogen and phosphorus application requirements. 

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and Other Livestock 
Operations: 

New Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations for CAFOs 
effective in December 2005 will be more stringent than federal 
requirements. 

The number of farms classified as CAFOs is increased from 160 to 340. 

A 35-foot vegetative buffer or 100 foot setback from streams for manure 
application is required on 5,210 farms. 

Stricter manure storage requirements are imposed in Special Protection 
and agriculturally impaired watersheds. 

Point Source Discharges: 

Pennsylvania's point source dischargers in the Susquehanna and Potomac 
watersheds were notified that cap nutrient loads would be included in 
NPDES permits for all point sources greater than 2,000 gallons per day. 

DEP will also pursue development of a watershed permit through a 
regulatory initiative. DEP has published a Nutrient Trading Policy in 
the Pennsylvania Bulletin. 

PennWorks Grants: 

This $250 million economic stimulus package was approved by voters in 
2004. 

Up to $50 million in grants, and an additional $100 million in loans, 
will be made available through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure 
Investment Authority (PENNVEST). 

PENNVEST announced $50 million in grants for sewage facility upgrades 
related to Nutrient Reduction. Grant awards are anticipated in March 
2006. 

Thank you for this opportunity to convey to GAO and Congress the work 
that Pennsylvania is undertaking to meet our commitments under the 
Chesapeake 2000 Agreement. We recognize the challenges ahead to meet 
our water quality goals, and urge the Congress and federal government 
to become full partners as we work to implement our state Chesapeake 
Bay Tributary Strategies. 

If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact John 
Hines of Deputy Secretary Cathy Curran Myers' staff by e-mail at j 
ohines@state.pa.us or by telephone at 717-783-4693. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Kathleen A. McGinty:
Secretary: 

[End of section] 

Appendix XII: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Anu K. Mittal (202) 512-3841 or [Hyperlink, mittala@gao.gov] 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact named above, Sherry McDonald, Assistant 
Director; Bart Fischer; James Krustapentus; and Barbara Patterson made 
key contributions to this report. Also contributing to this report were 
Mark Braza, Liz Curda, Anne Inserra, Lynn Musser, Mehrzad Nadji, Carol 
Herrnstadt Shulman, and Amy Webbink. 

(360524): 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Key federal agencies include the Department of Agriculture's Farm 
Service Agency, U.S. 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 U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and National Park Service; 
and EPA. 

[2] For a fuller discussion of the effects of development on 
ecosystems, see GAO, Environmental Protection: Federal Incentives Could 
Help Promote Land Use That Protects Air and Water Quality, GAO-02-12 
(Washington, D.C.: Oct. 31, 2001). 

[3] Of the 102 commitments contained in Chesapeake 2000, 21 are 
quantifiable, and 81 are nonquantifiable. The 21 quantifiable 
commitments are associated with four of the five broad goals. The 
Stewardship and Community Engagement goal has no quantifiable 
commitments. 

[4] Although the Bay Program has not established measures for this 
commitment, the District of Columbia has developed a number of measures 
for assessing its progress in meeting this commitment. 

[5] Although the Bay Program has not established measures for this 
commitment, the National Park Service, which has responsibility for 
this commitment, has developed a measure for assessing its progress in 
meeting this commitment. 

[6] Chlorophyll a is a measure of aquatic algae, which provides food 
for fish and other organisms. Too much aquatic algae reduces water 
clarity and depletes oxygen. 

[7] Environmental Protection Agency, A Framework For Assessing and 
Reporting on Ecological Condition: A Science Advisory Board Report 
(Washington, D.C.: June 2002). 

[8] In the last 10 years, the Bay Program has issued four State of the 
Chesapeake Bay reports. These reports were issued in 1995, 1999, 2002, 
and 2004. 

[9] The first report to Congress on the condition of the Chesapeake Bay 
ecosystem, required by amendments to the Clean Water Act, was submitted 
in 2003. 

[10] The Bay Program uses oyster harvest levels to report on the oyster 
population. 

[11] For the three states, the fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. 
For the District of Columbia, the fiscal year runs from October 1 to 
September 30. 

[12] 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 environmental community. 

[13] The restoration of over 200,000 acres of wetlands includes actions 
to be taken by New York and Delaware. 

[14] Point sources of pollution are discrete conveyances, such as pipes 
and drains from wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities 
from which pollutants are discharged. Nonpoint sources of pollution are 
sources of pollution that are not from a specific source, for example, 
agricultural runoff. 

[15] In 2003, this commitment was expanded to protect and restore 
185,000 acres by 2010. 

[16] According to the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, this commitment 
was superseded by commitment number 34. 

[17] In 2003, this commitment was expanded to restore at least 10,000 
miles. 

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