December 11, 2018

Van Hollen Secures Millions in Mandatory Funding to Help Chesapeake Bay in New Farm Bill

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) announced that the new Farm Bill contains major provisions from his Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act, including:

  • $300 million in mandatory funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), the successor to Senator Van Hollen’s 2008 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative that provides funding to conservation partners and agricultural producers to work together to reduce pollution and improve water quality
  • A higher percentage of RCPP funding for Critical Conservation Areas like the Bay – an increase from 35 percent to 50 percent
  • Important reforms and technical assistance for partners

“The Chesapeake Bay isn’t just a national treasure – it is vital to Maryland jobs and our economy,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I introduced the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act to boost restoration efforts and improve the health of the Bay. I want to thank Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow for working with me to include much of the legislation in this year’s Farm Bill. This new investment will help ensure that our Bay economy continues to thrive and that Marylanders and tourists can enjoy this treasure for generations to come.”

In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress authorized the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative to provide assistance to agricultural producers to minimize excess nutrients and sediments in order to restore, preserve, and protect the Chesapeake Bay. In 2014, the RCPP was created in order to prioritize conservation resources that were previously handled by separate conservation programs such as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative. Unfortunately, under the current RCPP in 2014, the Chesapeake Bay has received significantly less funding – averaging around $13 million annually. Under this new legislation, $50 million more will be available for Maryland and other states who choose to participate in this program.