• Progress

    Between 2010 and 2016, 132 public access sites were opened to the public. This marks a 44 percent achievement of the goal to add 300 new access sites to the watershed, and brings the total number of access sites in the region to 1,271.

    Public access sites are those places owned, operated and/or managed by federal, state or local government agencies or nongovernmental organizations working under an agreement with a government agency for the express purpose of providing people with direct access to the water. Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania have seen the biggest increases in access sites over past six years: about half of the access sites opened between 2010 and 2016 are located in Virginia, about one-quarter are located in Maryland and about one-quarter are located in Pennsylvania. This is not surprising, as the bulk of the Chesapeake Bay watershed—as well as existing access sites and opportunities for new access sites—lies within these states. There are currently seven public access sites in Delaware, 24 in the District of Columbia, 36 in New York, 46 in West Virginia, 207 in Pennsylvania, 350 in Virginia and 601 in Maryland.

    Public access to open space and waterways can improve public health and quality of life. People rely on outdoor places to exercise, relax and recharge their spirits. Time spent outdoors can strengthen family bonds and nurture active, creative children. And access to the water can build personal connections with places that have shaped life in the region, boosting tourism economies and creating citizen stewards who care for local resources and engage in conservation efforts.

  • Management Strategy

    To achieve the public access site development outcome, participating partners (within resource limitations) have committed to:

    • Ensuring public access is considered in the planning of appropriate transportation projects;
    • Supporting more detailed assessments of and designs for potential access sites;
    • Identifying proposed access sites in state and local plans;
    • Making state, federal and matching grant funds for public access a priority;
    • Working with private sector funders to develop access sites;
    • Exploring the potential for additional access on public lands;
    • Preventing the loss of access on public rights-of-way;
    • Examining urban access issues and needs;
    • Addressing accessibility issues and needs;
    • Engaging in hydropower relicensing processes to expand access;
    • Exploring options for resolved railroad crossing liability;
    • Filling gaps in access along water trails; and
    • Managing land control for water access using various instruments.

    These partners will also collaborate with the work being done to achieve the climate adaptation, climate monitoring and assessment, citizen stewardship and diversity outcomes.

    Monitoring and assessing progress toward the outcome will occur through the annual tracking of new public access sites, which can include the development of a new boating, swimming, fishing, or water or wildlife viewing access facility on a new site or the development of a new type of access facility on an existing site.

    As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome will be reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in November of 2017.

  • Work Plan
    Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions over the course of 2016 and 2017 to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy above.
  • Participating Partners

    The Fostering Stewardship Goal Implementation Team leads the effort to achieve this outcome. It works in partnership with the Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team.

    Participating partners include:

    • State of Delaware
    • State of Maryland
    • State of New York
    • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    • Commonwealth of Virginia
    • State of West Virginia
    • District of Columbia
    • Chesapeake Bay Commission
    • National Park Service
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service