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Ecosystem Markets in President Obama’s Chesapeake Bay Executive Order

The second of seven draft reports issued by federal agencies on the Bay contains a recommendation on Ecosystem Markets:

From page 26 of the draft report, Focusing Resources to Restore and Protect the Chesapeake Bay and its Tributary Waters:

Chesapeake Bay protection and restoration must also involve the private sector in order to reach the level and scope of progress needed. Emerging markets for carbon sequestration, water quality, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and species protection have great potential to complement existing federally supported conservation efforts and drive private investment to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. These markets connect the critical ecosystem services provided by farms, forests, and ranches to beneficiaries who are willing, or required, to pay for their stewardship – such as urban water utilities, industrial polluters, and land developers who must mitigate unavoidable negative impacts to the watershed. Potential income from ecosystem markets provides new incentives for landowners to engage in restoration and conservation activities on their land (Figure 8). Aggregating landowners for entry into markets will lead to collective action across the watershed.

Markets for ecosystem services are slow to develop – most transactions are one-time trades between a buyer and a landowner, for an individual project involving a single management activity. A coordinated, unified market framework is needed for carbon, water, and biodiversity markets to grow to a volume that has measureable landscapelevel impact. Supporting market development efforts in this region, such as the Bay Bank Marketplace and the Chesapeake Fund, is an important way to foster market innovation aimed at strategically directing resources to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay.

USDA’s new Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets (OESM) is leading the effort to create a Federal framework for ecosystem markets that will facilitate market development and ensure that markets are credible, accessible, and robust. OESM will bring executive departments and agencies together to address the challenges of emerging markets, foster market innovation, and shape national market infrastructure that will enhance land conservation and community well-being. Through NRCS and the Forest Service, OESM will support landowners as they integrate ecosystem values into their land management decisions and engage in stewardship activities that deliver ecosystem services to the public.

The summary of the order is provided below:

On May 12, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that recognizes the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure and calls on the federal government to lead a renewed effort to restore and protect the nation’s largest estuary and its watershed.

The Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration Executive Order established a Federal Leadership Committee that will oversee the development and coordination of reporting, data management and other activities by agencies involved in Bay restoration. The committee will be chaired by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and include senior representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Transportation and others.

The Executive Order requires that these agencies prepare and submit by September 9, 2009 draft reports that make recommendations to:

  • Define the next generation of tools and actions to restore water quality in the Bay and describe the changes to be made to regulations, programs and policies to implement these actions. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Target resources to better protect the Bay and its rivers, particularly in agricultural conservation practices. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
  • Strengthen storm water management practices for federal facilities and federal land within the Bay watershed and develop a best practices guide for reducing polluted runoff. (EPA, Dept of Defense)
  • Assess the impacts of climate change on the Bay and develop a strategy for adapting programs and infrastructure to these impacts. (Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Commerce)
  • Expand public access to the Bay and its rivers from federal lands and conserve landscapes of the watershed. (Dept. of Interior)
  • Expand environmental research, monitoring and observation to strengthen scientific support for decision-making on Bay restoration issues. (Dept. of Interior, Dept of Commerce)
  • Develop focused and coordinated habitat and research activities that protect and restore living resources and water quality. (Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Commerce)

Federal agencies will consult extensively with the state governments of the seven Bay jurisdictions — Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia — in preparing their reports.

By November 12, the Federal Leadership Committee will integrate these reports into a coordinated strategy for restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. This draft strategy will be available for public comment and a final strategy will be completed by May 12, 2010.

Beginning in 2010, the Federal Leadership Committee will publish an annual Chesapeake Bay Action Plan that describes how federal funding will be allocated toward Bay restoration in the upcoming year. It will be accompanied by an Annual Progress Report that reviews indicators of environmental conditions and assesses implementation of the strategy. An independent evaluator will also periodically report on progress toward meeting the goals of the Executive Order.

The Order in its entirety is posted on the Blackboard.


One Response to “Ecosystem Markets in President Obama’s Chesapeake Bay Executive Order”

  1. Sue Massey Says:


    I would like to put a link to your site on my blog roll if you want to do the same for mine. It would be a good way to build up both of our readerships.

    thank you.

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