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At the end of each year, the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Council meets to discuss future goals for the protection and restoration of the Bay. The Executive Council is made up of the governors of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, the mayor of D.C., the EPA administrator and the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. The meeting for 2013 took place last Thursday, December 12, in Washington, D.C. What occurred at the meeting? And what changes are in store for the Bay?

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley took over from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray as head of the Council, a role O’Malley filled in 2007 and 2008. As chairman, he pledged to have a new watershed agreement signed by the council next year. The draft for this agreement will be available to the public in early 2014 (http://www.chesapeakebay.net/documents/21113/summary_new_chesapeake_bay_watershed_agreement_12_5_13_pdf.pdf), allowing for feedback and comment before its signing.

The 2014 agreement may be quite different from years past. For starters, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation states that the agreement seeks to involve headwater states not included in the Executive Council. (The states of Delaware, New York, and West Virginia). According to a report published in the Washington Post on December 12, O’Malley wants to focus on short-term goals, as opposed to 20-30 year goals. He believes that shorter term goals will be more effective in Bay restoration efforts. He calls for “measurable actions” with a “measurable impact.”

Perhaps short term goals will hold states more accountable for recovery efforts in the Bay. Including the other states in the watershed will be an important change. I’m looking forward to reviewing the 2014 draft when it is released and will be sure to post more about it early next year.

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