Recent Progress: No Change

In 2022, 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 15% in 2022. The targets for this outcome are to increase the percentage of people of color in the Chesapeake Bay Program to 25% and in CBP leadership positions to 15% by 2025. The 2022 survey results showed a decrease in the percentage of people of color in leadership positions from 9.2% in 2016 to 7.7% in 2022. However, none of these changes are statistically significant.

While the surveys in 2016 and 2019 were distributed to approximately 750 people who work for or with the partnership, the 2019 survey had a low response rate of 38% compared to 50% in 2016 and 52% in 2022 with over 1000 people surveyed. The 2022 survey used a sample group and population group to evaluate the effectiveness of different survey approaches in addressing low response rates. While the group that received more intense follow-up and had longer to complete the survey did have a higher response rate, this was driven largely by the fact that all leaders were in that group and leaders responded at a higher rate than other participants. For all those surveyed, the 2022 survey took a more strategic approach to follow-up, including emails and verbal reminders at Management Board meetings. This should be replicated in future iterations since it resulted in a robust response with little additional effort.

Outlook: Off Course

The Diversity Outcome is currently off course. While indicators are currently tracking progress toward the target of increasing racial and ethnic diversity within the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership and leadership, understanding outcome achievement requires the development of additional indicators that look at other important factors. These include inclusion, equity, and the involvement of diverse groups of stakeholders in decision making and conservation and restoration activities. The Diversity Workgroup is exploring additional metric(s) to track these other components and an effective methodology for measuring success toward the full scope of this outcome.

In the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, the Chesapeake Bay Program adopted a goal to increase the representation of diverse stakeholder groups who support and carry out conservation and restoration work within the partnership. 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 Alaska 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,” a term used in the Green 2.0 advocacy initiative to describe the decades-long racial composition of environmental organizations and agencies, despite the increase in racial and ethnic diversity in the United States. The Bay Program 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 2016 and 2019 diversity surveys asked respondents to indicate whether they would consider themselves a member of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s leadership. This included 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. Of the people who indicated holding leadership positions in 2016, 9.1% identified as people of color in the baseline survey. This question was removed from the 2022 survey. Instead, Chesapeake Bay Program staff identified which respondents were leaders, members and staff, using the same criteria and categorization for leadership used in the 2016 and 2019 surveys. The Chesapeake Bay Program recognizes the importance of leadership reflecting the diversity of the watershed, and therefore established a separate target for increasing the percentage of people of color in leadership positions within the partnership: 15% by 2025.

When diversity is factored into 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. The Chesapeake Bay Program has decided to place an emphasis on expanding racial and ethnic diversity within the partnership because racial and ethnic diversity tend to be least represented in the environmental field and the most commonly impacted by environmental injustice. However, the survey also collects information about other important characteristics of diversity such as age, gender, sexual orientation and disability. The full scope of the diversity survey is available in the data file.

The Chesapeake Bay Program plans to distribute the diversity survey again in 2024.

Learn About Factors Influencing Progress

Management Strategy

To achieve this outcome, Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to:

  • Enhancing communication and outreach to underrepresented stakeholders.
  • Creating and expanding employment opportunities for underrepresented individuals and communities by strengthening connections to existing resources and creating new avenues for career building.
  • Promoting environmental justice through the meaningful involvement and fair treatment of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin or income, in the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
  • Monitoring and assessing the Chesapeake Bay Program’s progress toward the actions that will support this outcome.

As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome was reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in February of 2022. It will be reviewed and discussed by the Management Board again in February 2024.

Download Management Strategy (.pdf)

Logic & Action Plan

Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions that will support the management approaches listed above.

Recently Completed

  • Selected Resolve Conservation in 2022 to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of key elements of the Bay Program’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Implementation Plan.
  • Completed a Goal Implementation Team (GIT) funding project with the Chesapeake Conservancy in summer of 2022 to help the Chesapeake Bay Program better understand the needs, barriers and priorities of organizations led by and serving historically underrepresented and underserved communities.
  • Partnered with the Communications Team to deliver webinars focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, starting in 2021.
  • Aggregated, packaged and disseminated resources for inclusive recruitment, hiring and retention practices in 2020.
  • Partnered with coalitions, nonprofit organizations and state and local governments to host environmental career fairs, cultural competency trainings, and forums to increase awareness of environmental career and education opportunities among underserved communities.
  • Hosted listening sessions in Baltimore, Md. and Petersburg, Va. to give local leaders and environmental professionals the opportunity to share their concerns about clean water, environmental justice and job availability.

Learn About Logic & Action Plan

Participating Partners

The Diversity Workgroup leads the effort to achieve this outcome.

Participating partners include:

  • Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (State of Delaware)
  • Maryland Department of the Environment (State of Maryland)
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources (State of Maryland)
  • City of Annapolis (State of Maryland)
  • Annapolis Parks and Recreation (State of Maryland)
  • Anne Arundel County Public Schools (State of Maryland)
  • Baltimore Office of Sustainability (State of Maryland)
  • Prince George’s County Department of the Environment (State of Maryland)
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
  • Capital Region Water (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
  • Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (Commonwealth of Virginia)
  • Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (Commonwealth of Virginia)
  • District Department of Energy and Environment (District of Columbia)
  • The Chesapeake Bay Commission
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • The National Park Service
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • The U.S. Forest Service
  • Bowie State University (Bowie, MD)
  • Coppin State University (Baltimore, MD)
  • Chesapeake College (Wye Mills, MD)
  • Hampton University (Hampton, VA)
  • Lincoln University (Lincoln University, PA)
  • Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD)
  • Norfolk State University (Norfolk, VA)
  • University of Maryland School of Public Health (College Park, MD)
  • Virginia State University (Petersburg, VA)
  • Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • American Forests
  • Anne Arundel Watershed Stewards Academy
  • Anacostia Watershed Society
  • Blue Water Baltimore
  • Cacapon Institute
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Chesapeake Bay Trust
  • Chesapeake Conservancy
  • Chesapeake Research Consortium
  • Choose Clean Water Coalition
  • EcoLatinos
  • Environmental Leadership Program
  • Environmental Professionals of Color: DC Chapter
  • First Alliance Consulting
  • Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition
  • GRID Alternatives
  • Groundwork Anacostia River, DC
  • Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake
  • Latin American Youth Center
  • Living Classrooms
  • Maryland League of Conservation Voters
  • Mobilize Green
  • The National Aquarium
  • NSPIRE Green
  • Parks and People
  • PennFuture
  • People for Change
  • RAY Conservation Fellowship
  • Rock Creek Conservancy
  • Southeast CARE Coalition
  • SERCAP Inc.
  • Tree Baltimore
  • Virginia Conservation Network
  • WE ACT