A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report claims that federal and state commitments made in 2009 to restore Chesapeake Bay by 2025 are threatened by funding constraints and external phenomena such as climate change and land development. The plan, initiated by Executive Order 13508, requires effective collaboration between multiple federal agencies, the six states sharing the 64,000-square-mile watershed, local governments, and private and not-for-profit entities.

Released in May 2010, the plan sets out four restoration goals, 12 measurable goals and 116 mandatory actions, most of which apply to the states. The report criticizes EP A for failing to establish strategies, tactics, goals, and responsibilities necessary for effective collaboration, and states for not paying attention to their responsibilities under the plan.  

The report specifically recommends that EP A work with state and federal stakeholders to (i) develop bay restoration goals embraced by both state and federal entities, (ii) “establish milestones for gauging progress toward measurable goals for the entire restoration effort,” (iii) identify indicators that will be used for assessing progress, (iv) clarify how the entities responsible for assessing programs will coordinate their efforts, and (v) “develop an adaptive management process that will allow restoration stakeholders to evaluate progress made in restoring the bay and adjust actions as needed.”