Since the Chesapeake Bay Program was founded in 1983, we have used written agreements to guide the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Setting goals and tracking our progress holds us accountable for our work, while developing new agreements over time ensures our efforts are aligned with the best available science to reach restoration success.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement was signed on June 16, 2014 and amended on October 5, 2022. This inclusive, goal-oriented document addresses current and emerging environmental concerns and aligns federal directives with state and local goals to create a healthy Bay. For the first time, signatories include representatives from the entire watershed, and the Bay’s headwater states have committed to full partnership in the Bay Program.

Each of the agreement’s goals is linked to a set of outcomes, or time-bound, measurable targets that will directly contribute to its achievement. These goals and outcomes are interrelated: improvements in water quality can mean healthier fish and shellfish, the conservation of land can mean more habitat for wildlife and a boost in environmental literacy can mean a rise in stewards of the Bay’s resources. Our environment is a system, and these goals and outcomes will support the health of the whole watershed.