June 22, 2021

Van Hollen, Cardin Lead Watershed-Wide Push to Increase Funding for Chesapeake Bay Restoration

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) led Democratic senators from throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in urging the leadership of the Senate Committee on Appropriations to support strong funding levels for several agencies and programs vital to the recovery and stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen were joined on a recent letter by Senators Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey Jr. (Penn.), Mark Warner (Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Chris Coons (Del.) and Tim Kaine (Va.).

Headlined by a request of $90.5 million in FY22 appropriations for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program – a $3 million increase – the senators also urged their colleagues to support $15 million in FY22 appropriations for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake WILD Program, newly established last October in the bipartisan America’s Conservation Enhancement Act. Senators Van Hollen, Cardin and colleagues also advocated annual funding levels of at least $8.25 million for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office’s efforts, including $1.75 million specifically for oyster restoration, and more than $16 million for U.S. Geological Survey initiatives within the watershed. The senators also spotlighted the need to provide robust funding for a wide variety of USDA and EPA grant programs, as well as to support the scientific research, education and outreach carried out by the National Sea Grant College Program ($115.7 million) and the Marine Aquaculture Program ($13.1 million).

“The Chesapeake Bay continues to demonstrate great resilience and overall improvement, illustrating that our groundbreaking state-federal-private partnership to Save the Bay is making significant progress. To continue and build on this momentum, we are urging Senate Appropriations Committee leadership to fully empower the wide range of agencies and programs whose combined efforts are moving us forward on the path to progress throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said the Senators. “We’ve been proud to fight for consistent federal support – which has been key to the Chesapeake Bay’s comeback – and these FY22 funding levels represent a clear federal commitment that will move us decisively toward the goals laid out in the visionary Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.”

To read the Senators’ full funding request, click here.