New legislation could protect the Bay Watershed, improve ecosystem management

Virginia Politics

WASHINGTON (WAVY) — New legislation introduced on Tuesday would potentially help protect the Bay Watershed, improve ecosystem management and increase environmental stewardship opportunities.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and several others assisted in the introduction.

A spokeswoman for Warner says the Chesapeake Bay Science, Education, and Ecosystem Enhancement (SEEE) Act would work to preserve more than 150,000 streams and rivers connected to the 64,000-square-mile watershed.

Specifically, the spokesperson says the Chesapeake Bay SEEE Act would:

  • Reauthorize the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office (CBO), a key partner of the Bay Program and leader of the Program’s fisheries, environmental literacy, climate resiliency, and habitat work.
  • Direct NOAA to support coordinated management, protection, characterization, and restoration of Bay habitats and living resources, as well as the Interpretive Buoy System along the Capital John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
  • Authorize the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program, which awards educational grants related to Bay restoration.
  • Reauthorize NOAA CBO through 2025, funding it at $12 million in FY22, $20.7 million in FY23, $22.57 million in FY24, and $24.627 million in FY25.

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the U.S. and home to 18 million people across Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

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