A draft report reviewing federal actions taken to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed during 2012 will be available for public review in early March.

Under an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in 2009, federal agencies involved in Bay restoration activities were required to develop a strategy to protect and restore the Bay. The strategy was completed in 2010.

In addition, agencies were required to write an action plan each year outlining what actions they would take in the coming year to achieve strategy goals, which include restoring water quality, recovering habitat, sustaining fish and wildlife populations, conserving land and improving public access.

After the conclusion of the fiscal year, they are required to produce an annual progress report that outlines their accomplishments during the past year. The goal of the reports is to help the public determine whether activities are on track to meet goals.

The draft being released for public comment highlights actions taken during Fiscal 2012, which ran from October 2011 through September 2012.

The draft will be posted on the Executive Order website: executiveorder.cheapeakebay.net.

Also on the website is the federal Action Plan for Fiscal 2013, which was released in December.

Among actions federal agencies committed to work toward this year were:

  • Prioritizing streams for restoration to benefit brook trout;
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of fish passages;
  • Encouraging landowners to adopt riparian forest buffers;
  • Expanding tributary-scale oyster restoration efforts in the Bay;
  • The establishment of a management threshold for male blue crabs;
  • The development of management options to address the sediment storage capacity of the Conowingo Dam;
  • Continued support for voluntary actions by farmers throughout the watershed to improve water quality through financial and technical assistance programs;
  • Continued work to support the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or "pollution diet;"
  • Assessments at Department of Defense installations to determine appropriate stormwater management controls to meet TMDL requirements; and
  • Increasing public access to the Chesapeake Bay.