Chesapeake Bay Program keeps Hogan as chairman
— Gov. Larry Hogan hosted the 2018 annual meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council of the Chesapeake Bay Program, where he was unanimously elected as chairman for a second consecutive term.
Hogan was joined by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Delaware Gov. John Carney, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Chesapeake Bay Commission Chairman Frank Wagner. Representatives from New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, the District of Columbia and key environmental stakeholders also were in attendance at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Baltimore.
“As chair of the council, I am very pleased with the tremendous progress we are making together and looking forward to the continued opportunity to work with all of you,” Hogan said. “This council recognizes the power of innovation, collaboration and partnership when it comes to achieving a cleaner and healthier Chesapeake Bay, a national treasure we have the responsibility to preserve and protect for future generations to come.”
Since taking office, Hogan has invested $4 billion in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, more than any governor in Maryland history. The latest annual report card for the Bay gave it the highest score for water quality ever recorded, making it the best in 33 years.
A key indicator that the water quality is improving is the Bay under water grass surging and surpassing 100,000 acres for the first time in modern history.
In recognition of this record of environmental stewardship, Hogan recently was the recipient of the 2018 Maryland Environmental Service Environmental Business Leadership Award. He also was named Champion of the Chesapeake by the Chesapeake Conservancy in 2017.
Addressing the meeting, Hogan emphasized the continued need to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution from the Susquehanna River, which flows over the Conowingo Dam and into the Bay. Recent heavy rain and flooding caused many of Maryland’s coastal waterways and harbors to flood with debris and sediment, much of which came from upstream states.
This sediment and debris are a threat to the environment; pose a serious danger to wildlife, boaters and swimmers; and threaten to set back Bay restoration progress, Hogan said.
Critical progress was made in the meeting as the Bay leaders reaffirmed their commitment to developing a Watershed Implementation Plan for the Conowingo Dam, which is vital to reaching regional restoration goals by 2025.
Recognizing the critical role the agricultural industry plays in pollution reduction, Hogan and the council members signed a directive for the principals’ staff committee to prioritize technical assistance for agriculture. They also jointly signed a letter to the U.S. Congress to reaffirm support for key environmental provisions in the federal Farm Bill, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Program and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
The Chesapeake Bay Program also has agreed to a coordinated environmental literacy effort, which commits to convening high-level leaders, including state superintendents of education, every two years to discuss ways to enable students throughout the Chesapeake Bay region to graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to become the next generation of innovators and stewards for affected waterways.
“I want to thank the Chesapeake Bay Program and planning team chairs for organizing this important meeting, and I want to thank my colleagues for honoring me this morning by unanimously re-electing me to serve as chair of this executive council for the year ahead,” Hogan said.
In addition to the administration’s unprecedented $4 billion investment, Hogan was the first governor in Maryland history to fully fund the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund in the administration’s past three budgets. He also has fully funded Program Open Space, the state’s premier land conser vation and recreation program.
“The Chesapeake Bay Program is pleased to have Gov. Hogan reelected as chair of our executive council. We look forward to his continued support of the partnership, as well as guiding our partners in meeting the restoration goals under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement,” said Chesapeake Bay Program Director of Communications Rachel Felver.