Governor Hochul Joins Chesapeake Executive Council in Signing Historic Climate Directive | WIVT

Posted: Oct 4, 2021 / 10:58 AM EDTUpdated: October 4, 2021 / 10:58 AM EDT

From the Chesapeake Bay program:

At the meeting, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and CBC Chairman David Bulova, along with their colleagues, signed a guideline committing the Chesapeake Bay Program to address the growing threats of climate change in address all aspects of the work of the partnership. In particular, the Bay Program partners will leverage their world-class scientific, modeling, monitoring and planning capabilities to prioritize the communities, work areas and habitats most vulnerable to the risks climate change poses to the region.

“I firmly believe that through non-partisan collaboration as a region, we can and will find real, sensible solutions to tackle climate change and protect Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “These challenges are too important to miss this opportunity to take action now.”

Prior to the public session at which the policy was signed, Council members, appointees and guests joined Pamela Northam, First Lady of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and educators, including Imani Black, Founder of Minorities in Aquaculture, Melissa Deas, acting Head of Resilience Officer from the District of Columbia and Mark Luckenbach, Assistant Dean of Research and Advisory at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) aboard a VIMS ship for her own meaningful watershed educational experience – a term unique to the Chesapeake applies Bay program describing student environmental education above and in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

On board, participants were able to see firsthand an area that is considered the zero point for climate change. The Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads area is experiencing some of the highest rates of sea level rise and coastal flooding on the east coast. The Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Planning Framework notes that sea levels in the area have seen a relative rise in sea level of more than 18 inches over the past 100 years and are expected to rise even faster in the future due to heavier rainfall and other extreme weather. Members, officers and guests also looked at possible solutions for managing climate impacts, including tree canopy, a living shoreline and an oyster restoration site.

The talks also revolved around climate inequality and reaffirmed the actions taken by the council from the previous year when they signed a declaration in which diversity, equity, inclusion and equity are a priority in all of the work of the Bay program. In the newly enacted Guideline No. 21-1 Collective Action for Climate Change, the Bay program specifically commits to prioritizing marginalized communities in providing the necessary resources, including an emphasis on wetlands, canopy and environmental literacy, to address the impact of a climate change.

“The climate directive we are signing today is the latest example of why this partnership is so important,” said David Bulova, chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. “Collective action enables us to apply the best science possible so that we can understand and mitigate the effects of changing climates and prioritize resources for our most vulnerable communities. We have to do this if we want a more resilient landscape and watershed. “

In June 2014, the Executive Board signed the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement with the vision of creating an environmentally and economically sustainable drainage basin with clean water, abundant life, protected land and access to water, a vibrant cultural heritage, and a diverse range of committed citizens and stakeholders.

Established over 37 years ago, the Chesapeake Executive Council is responsible for running the policy agenda and setting conservation and restoration goals for the regional watershed partnership, the Chesapeake Bay Program. Members include the governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chairman of the CBC, and the administrator of the EPA on behalf of the federal government. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam currently chairs the Chesapeake Executive Council, which will meet in Richmond, Virginia in December 2021.

“A healthier Chesapeake Bay depends on a focused, science-based approach that takes climate change into account. It takes bold and urgent action to achieve our goal of a fully restored bay by 2025, “said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “Virginia is committed to working carefully with our watershed partners to meet this commitment in a resilient, practical, and cost-effective way that benefits our vast waterways, our environment, and our economy.”