Congress Extends Chesapeake Bay Program

Last week, Congress approved a broad package of conservation initiatives including the extension of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program.

The America’s Conservation Enhancement Act includes several important provisions that reauthorizes the Bay Program for five additional years with a maximum allocation capped at $92 million per year. This year, Congress set aside $85 million for the program. Also reauthorized is the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Network that works to connect people to the natural and cultural heritage of the Chesapeake region.

From coverage in the Bay Journal:

The legislation also creates the Chesapeake Watershed Investments for Landscape Development Program — dubbed WILD — within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The program is authorized to provide up to $15 million annually in grants that support fish and wildlife habitat projects in the Bay region. That could include things such as forest buffer plantings, wetland restoration, initiatives that improve stream health, removal of barriers to fish migration and efforts to improve habitats for species such as black ducks and brook trout.

The legislations also reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act at $60 million annually until 2025. The bill now heads to the President to be signed into law.

For more information, view coverage in the Bay Journal, and the Grand Forks Herald.