(LORTON, VA) – Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray was elected the new Chair of the Chesapeake Executive Council (EC), the panel announced today at their annual meeting at Gunston Hall, the historic home of George Mason, in Lorton, Va. Mayor Gray was nominated for the position by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The regional body sets the policy direction of, and marshals public support for, the sustainable restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
As Chair, Mayor Gray now holds the top leadership position within the Chesapeake Bay’s inter-state council. He will continue to represent the District on the Executive Council and serve as a signatory to agreements dealing with restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. He is responsible for discussing and leading the District’s progress on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, the Anacostia and Potomac rivers.
The Mayor’s chairmanship is effective today and will continue through next year's Executive Council meeting.
“It is my great honor to accept the position of Chair to the Chesapeake Executive Council,” Mayor Gray said. “One of my major initiatives as Mayor has been ensuring that the District is on track to become the greenest, healthiest, most livable city in the country – an effort that we are calling Sustainable DC – and ensuring the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is central to ensuring the District’s future sustainability. I look forward to deepening my involvement in the Bay-wide efforts and embracing the challenges and possibilities we face as we make progress toward a healthy Bay and a sustainable quality of life for all the residents in our region.”
Outgoing EC Chair and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson congratulated the Mayor on his appointment. “Mayor Gray's leadership of the Executive Council will be key to the next phase of this important effort, and the continued focus on local, community-level projects that are essential to the health of the entire Bay,” she said. “It has been my honor to chair this council, and to work with so many dedicated partners to restore and protect the waters that affect our health, our environment and our economy."
“I am pleased that Mayor Gray will lead our continued efforts to create a stronger, healthier Chesapeake Bay,” said Gov. O’Malley. “The District and Maryland are partners in restoring the Anacostia, and we look forward to working with him as he lends his leadership to this Executive Council.”
The theme for this year’s meeting, “Step By Step, Stream by Stream: Restoring our Waters,” focused on implementing and enacting the Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) already crafted and finalized by each jurisdiction. EC members discussed overall progress on attaining improved water quality and other environmental goals for jurisdictions within the watershed and ways in which their jurisdictions’ short-term milestones can track goals to reduce pollution and create healthy waterways and habitats.
Federal, state, and local governments continue to dedicate unprecedented resources and take targeted actions to restore the Chesapeake Bay. They aim to implement more policies and programs that will substantially improve the health of the Bay and the streams and rivers that feed into it, enhancing the quality of life for the more than 17 million people who live in the Bay’s watershed.
Through the Mayor’s Vision for a Sustainable DC, the District, which has set ambitious goals to clean up the Anacostia River by 2032, supports healthier regional waterways that contribute to quality of life for all. Under the Mayor’s vision, one of the District’s top priorities will be making Rock Creek, the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and other District waterways fishable and swimmable as well as making 75 percent of the city’s landscape capable of naturally filtering or capturing rainwater for reuse.
The council, established by the Chesapeake Bay Agreement of 1983, establishes the policy direction for the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its living resources. It sets the policy agenda for the Chesapeake Bay Program and is represented by leaders from the US EPA, the US Department of Agriculture, the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Pennsylvania, the State of New York, the State of Delaware, the State of West Virginia, the District of Columbia and the Chesapeake Bay Commission.