In 2019, the Chesapeake Bay Program's diversity survey indicated a slight increase in the percentage of respondents who self-identified as people of color from 13.7% in 2016 to 14.6% in 2019. The partnership has set a target to increase the percentage of people of color in the Chesapeake Bay Program to 25% by 2025. The Chesapeake Bay Program has also set a target to increase the percentage of people of color in leadership positions to 15% by 2025. The 2019 survey results showed an increase in the percentage of people of color in leadership positions from 9.1% to 10.3%.
While both the 2016 and 2019 surveys were distributed to approximately 750 people who work for or with the partnership, the latest survey had a low response rate of 38% compared to 50% in 2016. The lower response rate may have affected the results.
Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Diversity Survey 2016-2019
Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Leadership Diversity Survey 2016-2019
In the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, the Chesapeake Bay Program adopted for the first time a goal to increase the number and diversity of people who support and carry out conservation and restoration work. In 2016, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay distributed a diversity survey on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Program to approximately 750 people who work for or with the partnership. The survey data revealed that 13.7% of respondents identified as people of color (Native American or Alaskan Native, Asian/Asian American, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Other or Multi-racial/multi-ethnic). Meanwhile, 35% of the people in the watershed—which spans parts of six states and the District of Columbia—identify as people of color. This is consistent with the “green ceiling” Green 2.0 has used to describe the decades-long racial composition in environmental organizations and agencies, despite the increase in racial and ethnic diversity in the United States. The partnership established the 2016 data as the baseline and in 2018 set a target to increase racial and ethnic diversity representation in the partnership to 25% by 2025.
In addition to asking respondents to identify their race, the diversity profile asked respondents to indicate whether they would consider themselves a member of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s leadership. This can include members of the Principals’ Staff Committee or Management Board, as well as chairs, co-chairs and vice chairs of Goal Implementation Teams, workgroups and advisory committees. The Chesapeake Bay Program recognizes the importance of leadership reflecting the diversity of the watershed, and therefore established a separate target for increasing the number of people of color in leadership positions within the partnership. Of the people said to hold leadership positions, 9.1% identified themselves as people of color in the 2016 baseline survey. The partnership has set a target to increase racial and ethnic diversity representation in its leadership to 15% by 2025.
When diversity is taken into account in the planning and implementation of conservation and restoration work, this work is more likely to benefit all watershed communities. Increasing the inclusion of previously underrepresented communities in our work fosters creativity, drives innovation and ensures all people in the watershed can share in the vibrancy of the region. While age, gender, sexual orientation, religious faith, income level and other characteristics are important aspects of diversity, the Chesapeake Bay Program has decided to focus first on expanding ethnic diversity among the partnership.
The Chesapeake Bay Program plans to distribute the diversity survey again in 2021, 2023 and 2025. Prior to conducting future surveys, the process for distributing and explaining the survey will be evaluated in an effort to improve response rates.