Ongoing Actions

  • Collecting and evaluating existing diversity programs and developing a strategy for improvement.
  • Incorporating the perspectives of leaders from environmental justice, community and faith-based organizations into the Chesapeake Bay Program’s governance structure through increased collaboration.
  • Evaluating and improving transparency and efficiency in providing community-based grant opportunities to areas with diverse and underrepresented populations.
  • Working with local governments to help local decision makers maximize benefits and minimize adverse impacts of restoration project planning, siting and funding processes.
  • Having ongoing dialogue with underrepresented communities to better understand the link between community issues and watershed restoration.
  • Increasing outreach to diverse groups to encourage diverse candidates to apply for full-time employment opportunities at CBP and partner organizations as well as to increase the likelihood that these candidates are hired.
  • Exploring diversity and inclusion workplace training opportunities and resources for state agencies.
  • Developing and sharing the tools CBP identifies and/or develops on diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental justice issues.
  • Building relationships with staff at historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions, including professors, heads of departments, and those in career services.

Completed Actions


  • Refined the Chesapeake Bay Program Diversity Indicator Survey distribution method to improve its reliability, accuracy and response rate while keeping the survey itself the same.
  • Funded a series of workshops with funders and community organizations to build understanding of barriers to equitable funding and strengthen connections.
  • Developed an equity strategy and updated grant guidance and criteria to be more equitable when distributing program benefits and to meet Justice40 requirements.
  • Collaborated with a team to organize a four-part allyship training series dedicated to improving Bay Program work culture through education on topics such as microaggressions, unconscious bias, active listening, and power and privilege.
  • Hosted a partnership-wide community forum to cultivate and strengthen partnerships with underrepresented stakeholders and bridge the gap between community organizations and Bay Program leadership.
  • Edited key documents such as the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and Governance Document to remove the word citizen and replace it with more inclusive language.
  • Worked with the Strategy Review System team to add a question for all workgroups to respond to how they are incorporating diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice into their activities.
  • Added an environmental justice page to the Learn the Issues section of
  • Worked in partnership with the Habitat Goal Implementation Team on the Targeted Outreach for Green Infrastructure project, which designed green infrastructure projects for four climate-vulnerable and underrepresented Chesapeake Bay communities.



  • Worked with several goal implementation teams and workgroups to diversify their memberships and chair positions.
  • The Executive Council and Principals’ Staff Committee signed statements that affirm the partnership's commitment to embrace diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in all areas of the Chesapeake Bay Program.
  • Many federal and state partners dedicated priority focus areas for restoration and conservation that have an environmental justice focus.


  • Offered a training called Cultural Humility: Tools for Success in Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ), attended by approximately 70 members of the partnership attended across three sessions.
  • Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Virginia State University and Bowie State University to strengthen connections between VSU and 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.
  • Worked with Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions to summarize their DEIJ efforts.
  • Established a Fish Consumption Review and Advisory Subgroup in collaboration with the Toxic Contaminants Workgroup to guide the development of communications and outreach to communities in which fish consumption advisories exist.


  • Worked with the Geographic Information System team to develop a web-based environmental justice screening and mapping tool (modeled after EPA's Environmental Justice Screen) to support the integration of diversity interests into other Watershed Agreement Goals and Outcomes.
  • Included environmental justice information in a newly developed strategic outreach education program for local elected officials in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  • Featured panels on community engagement and stewardship with a DEIJ and environmental justice lens at the 2018 Maryland Urban & Community Forestry Summit.
  • Identified opportunities to work with communities in which fish consumption advisories exist and implemented a pilot project to improve communications and outreach.
  • Hosted a “Trees for All” Chesapeake Regional Environmental Justice Workshop with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Lillie Leaf Solutions to support peer-to-peer learning about retaining and increasing urban tree canopy.


  • Established a baseline of the level of diversity at the Chesapeake Bay Program.
  • Designated a diversity engagement coordinator to engage underrepresented communities and historically Black colleges and universities in the watershed.
  • Worked with funding organizations to develop a guide for groups working with diverse and underrepresented populations to assist with grant competition awareness, selection criteria, accountability, capacity building, and writing.
  • Supported the development of communication and outreach strategies for the Tree Canopy Outcome to target diverse audiences, focusing on the areas with the greatest needs and opportunities.
  • Developed a pilot curriculum for an environmental career-building day for all K-12 schools in the watershed.
  • Identified opportunities to work with diverse communities located near federal installations.
  • Significantly expanded Bay program guidance and mailing lists around grants and requests for proposals to promote programs and projects that increase diversity and encourage partners to include elements of the diversity work plan in their proposals and applications.


  • Worked to increase the Chesapeake Bay Program stakeholder base by forming partnerships with groups that can help identify, target and engage underrepresented and underserved communities in the work of the partnership.
  • Identified opportunities at high schools, community colleges and universities to create compensated internship programs for individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Used informational tools and databases (including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool, or EJSCREEN) to identify stressed and underserved communities in the watershed, enhance partners’ understanding of diverse populations, and target work and funding to those areas with the potential to raise environmental justice concerns.
  • Worked with existing career service programs that provide support to applicants to expand employment opportunities for underrepresented individuals and communities.
  • Contributed to and used as a resource the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice in Action blog.
  • Hosted a pilot environmental career event with the Audubon Naturalist Society to highlight employment opportunities related to a clean Chesapeake Bay.
  • Developed, distributed and analyzed the results of a diversity survey 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 is being used to track progress toward the diversity outcome.