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 profile on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Program to approximately 750 people who work for or with the partnership. More than 370 people responded. While some respondents declined to identify their race, 83 percent self-identified as white or Caucasian and about 13 percent self-identified as non-white or non-Caucasian. 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 increasing racial diversity in the United States. The partnership has set a target to increase the percentage of people of color in its program to 25 percent by 2025.

Interactive Chart

Chesapeake Bay Program Diversity Profile (2016)

The portion of profile respondents who self-identified as white (84 percent) is greater than the portion of United States residents who identify as white (about 62 percent), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The portion of respondents who self-identified as non-white (13 percent) is smaller than the portion of watershed residents who identify as non-white (about 35 percent) and the portion of United States residents who do the same (about 38 percent).

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. Of the people said to hold leadership positions, 89 percent identified themselves as white and 11 percent identified themselves as non-white. The partnership has set a target to increase the percentage of people of color in its leadership to 15 percent 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.

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.

Monitoring and assessing progress toward the outcome will occur through quantitative, qualitative and narrative data and information, and could include the use of organizational demographic profile tools, opinion polls and surveys. The Diversity Workgroup also plans to develop additional indicators or measurements of diversity in Chesapeake Bay Program participation.

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 November of 2017.

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.

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
  • Anacostia Watershed Society
  • Blue Water Baltimore
  • Choose Clean Water Coalition
  • EcoLatinos
  • 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
  • Mt. Olive AME Church
  • The National Aquarium
  • NSPIRE Green
  • Parks and People
  • PennFuture
  • People for Change
  • Re-Entry Saving the Anacostia
  • Southeast CARE Coalition
  • Tree Baltimore
  • Virginia Conservation Network
  • WE ACT