But the first agreements were voluntary in nature, without much responsibility. These agreements have made progress, but states and districts fell well short of their own pollution reduction targets. Until 2009, all participants understood that a new type of approach was needed, one that kept the participants to their promises. 8) In the proposed Bay Agreement, we reject the permanent postponement of the long-standing agreement for the restoration of 185,000 hectares of underwater grasses. In 2009, it became clear that we need a new agreement that speeds up the restoration process and adapts federal guidelines to national and local objectives to create a healthy bay. Bay partners have collected input from residents, stakeholders, academic institutions, local governments, etc. to develop an inclusive and focused document that would address current and emerging environmental concerns. The first agreement in 1983 was a simple unilateral promise signed by the governors of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since the creation of the Chesapeake Bay program in 1983, its partners have used written agreements to lead the restoration of the country`s largest estuary and watershed. Setting goals and monitoring progress makes partners accountable for their work, while developing new agreements over time ensures that our goals coincide with the best scientists available to achieve successful recovery. But saving the bay means more than less pollution.
These include healthier fish and oyster populations, improved wildlife habitat, cleaner water and healthier upstream ecosystems, as well as in the main base of the bay and other destinations. In 2014, representatives from across the basin signed the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. For the first time, Delaware, New York and West Virginia have committed to a comprehensive partnership in the Delaware program. The agreement includes the objectives of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, but also defined objectives for habitat restoration and conservation, improved fishing, improved public access and environmental competence. The agreement has made adaptive management a fundamental principle. Adaptive management is a process that encourages decisions in the face of uncertainty, reduces uncertainty over time and responds to change. The Chesapeake Bay program applies this process through the Strategic Review System, documented on ChesapeakeDecisions. It is clear that the Bay Agreements are an ongoing effort to translate ambitious goals into real results. Since the signing of the 1983 agreement, the Chesapeake Bay Program has adopted two additional agreements that provide general direction for the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay: a series of four 1983 agreements led to the rehabilitation of the Chesapeake Bay.