Governor Martin O'Malley met today with U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Maryland's Military Base Commanders to explore strategies to better engage Maryland's military installations as full partners in the State's Bay Restoration efforts. At the meeting, held on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Governor O'Malley outlined his vision for enhancing collaboration, tracking military efforts through BayStat, and making technical assistance from the State available to the bases.
"We are encouraged by President Obama's new Executive Order Strategy, which calls for an unprecedented level of federal cooperation and leadership for the Chesapeake Bay, and significantly raises expectations for success," said Governor O'Malley, addressing a group of State and federal stakeholders. "Strengthening our partnership with Maryland's military bases, capturing the good work being done and identifying opportunities to leverage our shared capabilities, will strengthen our ability to meet our restoration milestones."
Military lands comprise 1.3 percent of the total lands in Maryland -- approximately 77,900 acres out of a total of 5.9 million acres. A full 33% of those military installations lie within the Critical Area, including the Naval Academy.
"The goal to protect and restore the environment of the Chesapeake Bay watershed was put in place last year by President Obama, and recognizes the importance of the bay to our nation," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who is the Department of Defense Lead for the Lead Chesapeake Bay Executive Order. "The health of the Chesapeake depends on strong partnerships between all of the bay's stakeholders, and in particular the states which boarder the region. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the State of Maryland to ensure that the military's presence on the bay is in accordance with environmental and clean water standards, and that we strive to make the Chesapeake Bay clean and hospitable."
"To clean up the Chesapeake Bay, we must first lead by example. This begins with reducing water pollution from federal facilities and lands in the region," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "At EPA, we're working with our federal, state and local partners, including the Department of Defense, to meet and surpass our goals and ensure clean water for communities throughout Maryland and the region."
Following a meeting of the principals, more than 50 State and Department of Defense officials participated in a two-hour work session to identify opportunities for future collaboration. These include upgrading wastewater treatment plants, addressing stormwater runoff from existing and new development and creating natural filters such as wetlands and reforestation on the military based located throughout Maryland. Moving forward, the State hopes to provide technical assistance for designing and implementing best management practices, help identify restoration opportunities, participate in joint federal/state implementation teams and assist in securing new federal funding for implementing these practices.
"Our ultimate goal is to work with our federal partners to set specific, attainable goals, identifying new implementation opportunities, and get these practices in place," said Governor O'Malley. "President Obama's willingness to engage as a true federal partner in this effort is unprecedented, and its our obligation to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to fulfill our Bay restoration goals."
Under the leadership of Governor O'Malley, the State of Maryland developed BayStat, an innovative online tool to track and target Maryland's Bay restoration progress and keep citizens informed. Maryland is currently on track to meet its first set of 2-year Bay restoration milestones, short term goals developed by the Governor and his BayStat team to increase on the ground action and accountability.