In December of 2014, the president signed the Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act (CBARA) into law. This act requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit an annual report on federal and state funding toward environmental restoration in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. During its first three years, only those programs that cost at least $300,000 must be reported.
In December of 2016, the OMB issued its first Chesapeake Bay Restoration Spending Crosscut. Due to data uncertainties and constraints around time and resources, the estimates this crosscut provides may differ from the funding that ultimately supports environmental restoration. For instance, because fiscal 2016 totals were reported before the end of the fiscal year, these totals may reflect only a partial snapshot of program implementation.
According to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Spending Crosscut, five of the seven agencies that make up the Federal Leadership Committee for the Chesapeake Bay—including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, the Interior and Transportation—invested $536.4 million in watershed restoration in fiscal 2016.
While the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation do support restoration in the watershed, their activities did not meet the definitional limits of this crosscut and were not reported.
The seven watershed jurisdictions—including Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia—reported investing an estimated $1.29 billion in watershed restoration through state programs in fiscal 2016. This marked a slight increase from the estimated investments of fiscal 2015, and is $252 million below the estimated fiscal 2017 budget of $1.54 billion.
A call for funding data to support the next Chesapeake Bay Restoration Spending Crosscut is expected to be made in 2017.