The Congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force was initiated several years ago, but was re-launched in 2004 with a newly focused mission and role: to build consensus around initiatives that will improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the broader watershed, and enhance the quality of life of the millions of people who live and work in this region.
The Congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force, currently co-chaired by Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Rob Wittman (R-VA), provides a bipartisan forum for policy discussions and joint action related to water quality, conservation, resource management, and recreation issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition, the Task Force sets regional policy and funding agendas to implement through the federal legislative process.
The Institute provides research and policy analysis to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force.
Institute accomplishments include:
- Assisting with the establishment of the Congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force and aiding in its registration as an official Congressional Member Organization of the U.S. Congress.
- Convening a Chesapeake Bay Summit in 2004 that included members of Congress; representatives from the EPA, the White House, the states, and regional organizations; and 30 House and Senate staffers. In 2005, the Task Force co-chairs coordinated the annual kick-off Summit with members of the Chesapeake Executive Council.
- Sponsoring and organizing several Congressional briefings and field trips, including an important summit on flooding in the Mid-Atlantic region in August 2006.
- Supporting annual House efforts to secure appropriations funding for Chesapeake Bay projects. This effort includes working with other regional and national groups on securing funding for national programs that are key to watershed restoration (e.g., EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, USDA’s Conservation Security Program, and others).
- Maintaining an updated Web-based annual funding chart that tracks both House and Senate appropriations that is available to Congressional staff and the public.
- Supporting the annual budget recommendations made by House members to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) about the following year’s budget proposal by the president.
- Organizing several formal efforts by the Task Force to maximize existing funding for Mid-Atlantic watershed efforts (e.g., submitting comments from the Task Force to USDA that propose better utilization of Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds to maximize nutrient reduction efforts; submitting a letter to EPA seeking utilization of Clean Water Act Section 106 funds; and collecting letters to increase funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund).
Co-chairs and Members of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force (as of July 2014) are:
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