Recent Progress: Increase

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.

Outlook: Off Course

The Diversity Outcome is currently off course. While diversity surveys conducted in 2016 and 2019 tracked progress toward the target of increasing racial and ethnic diversity within the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership and leadership, meeting the overall outcome has not been tracked using a numeric indicator. Additional metric(s) to track these other components and an effective methodology for measuring success toward the outcome will be explored by the Diversity Workgroup.

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.

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; and
  • 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 a series of specific actions that will support the management approaches listed above.

Completed actions from this outcome's Logic & Action Plan include:

  • In February 2016, the Diversity Workgroup and the Audubon Naturalist Society hosted a pilot environmental career event highlighting employment opportunities related to a clean Chesapeake Bay.
  • Between June and August of 2016, the Diversity Workgroup developed, distributed and analyzed the results of a diversity profile to determine the demographic make-up of Chesapeake Bay Program management, advisory groups, workgroups and staff. This information was used to develop and establish a baseline for an annual indicator that will be used to track progress toward the diversity outcome.
  • The Diversity Workgroup has obtained a contractor to develop a Chesapeake Bay Environmental Justice Screen to develop demographic data and information to help the Chesapeake Bay Program set priorities and more effectively implement the outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
  • The Diversity Workgroup and Toxics Workgroup have established a Fish Consumption Review and Advisory Subgroup to guide the development of communications and outreach to communities in which fish consumption advisories exist.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Program has significantly expanded its guidance and mailing lists around grants and requests for proposals in order to promote programs and projects that increase diversity and encourage its partners to include elements of the diversity work plan in their proposals and applications.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Program has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bowie State University to strengthen connections between BSU staff and students and the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries and coastal resources through hands-on learning experiences and interactions with Chesapeake Bay Program partners.
  • The Diversity Workgroup has 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.
  • The Diversity Workgroup has 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.
  • The Diversity Workgroup, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Lillie Leaf Solutions hosted a “Trees for All” Chesapeake Regional Environmental Justice Workshop to support peer-to-peer learning about retaining and increasing urban tree canopy.
  • The Diversity Workgroup and the Chesapeake Research Consortium have launched the Chesapeake Student Recruitment, Early Advisement and Mentoring Program (C-StREAM) to help underserved students enter the environmental career pipeline. C-StREAM hosted its first four interns through a pilot program at the Chesapeake Bay Program during the summer of 2018.

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)
  • 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 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
  • Anacostia Watershed Society
  • Blue Water Baltimore
  • 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
  • Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition
  • GRID Alternatives
  • Groundwork Anacostia River, DC
  • Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake
  • Latin American Youth Center
  • Lillie Leaf Solutions
  • Living Classrooms
  • Maryland League of Conservation Voters
  • Mobilize Green
  • Mt. Olive AME Church
  • The National Aquarium
  • NSPIRE Green
  • Parks and People
  • PennFuture
  • People for Change
  • RAY Conservation Fellowship
  • Re-Entry Saving the Anacostia
  • Southeast CARE Coalition
  • Tree Baltimore
  • Virginia Conservation Network
  • WE ACT