- Identifying trusted leaders within and interests of underrepresented and underserved communities and beginning a dialogue that will improve understanding of the links between community issues and watershed restoration.
- Collecting and evaluating existing diversity programs and developing a strategy for improvement.
- Working with federal partners to identify opportunities to work with diverse communities adjacent to federal installations.
- Working and exchanging information with environmental justice entities and incorporating their perspectives and those of community and faith-based leaders and organizations into the Chesapeake Bay Program governance structure, including its three advisory committees.
- Improving transparency and efficiency in providing community-based grant opportunities and working with funders to develop a guide that would assist groups working with diverse and underrepresented populations in grant competition awareness, selection criteria, accountability, capacity building and writing.
- Advancing programs that foster the continuum of citizen stewards model: individual citizen action, volunteerism and citizen leadership.
- Developing tools and expanding outreach to engage local groups in water quality and other monitoring programs.
- Engaging local groups and citizen stewards in stream cleanups.
- Operating the Communities for Clean Streams network.
- Operating the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction and State Wildlife Grant grants programs.
- Working with local governments to explore how the Chesapeake Bay Program can help local decision makers maximize benefits and minimize adverse impacts from restoration project planning, siting and funding processes.
- Managing the Chesapeake Watershed Network.
- Putting on the Watershed Forum and exploring opportunities to expand support of the forum.
- Training grassroots leaders through Watershed Advocacy Boot Camps.
January – June 2016
- Using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice screening tool to identify stressed or underserved watershed communities, as well as communities in which fish advisories exist, in order to initiate a pilot project to improve communications and outreach to these communities.
July – December 2016
- Developing an online crowd-sourced database of social marketing programs, tools and products that work to increase citizen stewardship.
- Developing a methodology for measuring citizen action, volunteerism and community leadership.
- Expanding the base of Chesapeake Bay Program stakeholders through partnerships that identify and target underrepresented and underserved communities in order to engage these communities in our work.
- Completing the Reduce Your Stormwater website.
- Completing a River Wise Communities guide and conducting related training.
- Tracking volunteer hours at Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserves and working with volunteers to record transferability to local efforts.
- Providing funding for and supporting the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s effort to employ a cohort of interns at partner sites to further trail development and public access and carry out conservation, restoration and access projects.
- Developing a Digital River Segment Guide program to increase public access by providing itineraries and additional information on experiencing each river segment of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
- Expanding the Score Four Program and developing online resources for educators.
January –December 2017
- Establishing a baseline measurement of citizen stewardship at the state, regional or watershed scale.
- Establishing a baseline measurement of diversity among the environmental community.
- Pursuing options for increasing the effectiveness of existing community outreach programs related to stormwater.
- Focusing community education programs at Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserves on behavior change in order to inform and refine future site-based programs.
Actions in the District of Columbia
- Operating RiverSmart programs. (Ongoing)
Actions in Maryland
- Through the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, developing mechanisms to increase the participation of people of color or diverse backgrounds in recreation, volunteerism and stewardship in parks and other public lands. (Ongoing)
- Conducting a social marketing campaign to reduce litter and targeting related community organizing and grassroots advocacy efforts to nontraditional allies.
- Implementing the Maryland Master Naturalist Program. (Ongoing)
- Training new stewards through the Maryland Master Watershed Stewards program with the knowledge, skills and resources to facilitate community action to reduce pollution through best management practice installation and behavior change. (Ongoing)
- Supporting existing Master Watershed Stewards as they move their communities to action and measuring and tracking these actions as they relate to outreach and behavior change. (Ongoing)
- Connecting businesses, governments, nonprofit organizations and environmental professionals with Master Watershed Stewards and each other for citizen action. (Ongoing)
- Implementing the RiverWise Congregations Program to engage the faith community. (Ongoing)
- Participating in the Every Kid in a Park program. (May 2016)
- Expanding the educational offerings along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. (June 2016)
- Expanding the reach of the Kids in Kayaks program. (June 2016)
- Mentoring schools in stream monitoring and stream restoration projects. (June 2016)
- Working with organizations on Maryland’s Midshore to develop shared goals around water quality, food security and agriculture in support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Choptank Complex Habitat Focus Area. (December 2016)
- Supporting Watershed Connections Teacher Watershed Model workshops. (October 2017)
- Engaging local communities during public processes that support the designation of Mallows Bay as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Sanctuary. (December 2017)
- Expanding Watershed Steward Academies in Maryland through the creation of a central hub of support. (December 2017)
- Developing and implementing a Steward Lite curriculum to engage specific audiences who cannot attend the full Master Watershed Stewards program.
Actions in Pennsylvania
- Sharing models of successful citizen stewardship programs at professional conferences. (Ongoing)
- Leading water-focused educational sessions at professional conferences. (Ongoing)
- Through events (e.g., the Susquehanna River Symposium), working with organizations currently engaging citizens and local stakeholders. (Ongoing)
- Supporting and promoting the Master Watershed Steward program, the Master Naturalist program and other citizen education programs. (Ongoing)
- Supporting the Coldwater Heritage Partnership. (Ongoing)
- Increasing participation in the Pennsylvania State Parks Watershed Education and ProjectWET programs. (Ongoing)
- Facilitating professional development opportunities for teachers that allow for networking and idea sharing. (Ongoing)
- Promoting visitor outreach and programming related to water quality monitoring on World Water Monitoring Day. (Ongoing)
- Reviewing grant guidance and identifying opportunities to expand funding for volunteer water quality monitoring programs. (Ongoing)
- Identifying existing volunteer water quality monitoring programs and exploring opportunities to provide technical assistance and expand support and outreach to diverse audiences (Ongoing)
Actions in Virginia
- Supporting the Master Naturalist program. (Ongoing)
- Through the Virginia Naturally Schools program, increasing the number of schools and classrooms that include environmental stewardship in their curriculum. (Ongoing)
- Increasing the number of schools and organizations that use the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Stewardship Education Best Practices Planning Guide. (Ongoing)
- Coordinating SepticSmart Week, which includes developing and distributing informational talks and educational materials. (Ongoing)
- Searching for grants to help citizens operate and maintain septic systems. (Ongoing)
- Developing a Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional certification initiative. (2017)
Two-Year Work Plan
Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions over the course of 2016 and 2017 to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy for the Citizen Stewardship outcome. These actions are listed below. More information about performance targets, participating entities and influential factors can be found in the full work plan.