Chesapeake Bay Program Goal Implementation Teams: Wye Island meeting

Bill Dennison ·
15 July 2014
Science Communication | 

On July 8, I attended a meeting organized by the Chesapeake Bay Program office and chaired by Joe Gill, Chair of the Principal Staff Committee and Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources. It was held on Wye Island on Maryland's Eastern Shore at a DNR conference center. The chairs of the six Goal Implementation teams, the leadership of the Chesapeake Bay Program were invited and the coordinators of the goal teams joined at lunch. I was there in my role as Chair of the Science and Technical Assessment and Reporting team. It was a nice venue.

An interesting icebreaker was to watch a short clip of the movie 'Jerry McGuire' and then address some of the lines like "Bury the attitude" and "You think we're fighting and I think we're finally talking". Several other lines were invoked in the ensuing discussion, like "Show me the money" and "You had me with Hello".

View of Wye River from Wye Island.

Some of the things that I took away from the meeting are the following:

Creating a new business model for operating in the Chesapeake Bay Program

  • Create a network of partners
  • Use the Partnership office (410 Severn Ave., Annapolis, MD) to support the network of partners
  • Develop creative mechanisms to function with indirect authority
  • Insure the use of science (both research and monitoring) in supporting management
  • Evolve the roles of the advisory committees (STAC, CAC, LCAC) to be more supportive of the network of partners

Time management

  • Develop teams to draft management strategies
  • Use the 90 day deadline (post Chesapeake Bay agreement signing) to engage the Goal Implementation Teams and the Principal Staff Committee in developing and achieving progress in management strategies
  • Maintain a master calendar to track the various deadlines and commitments in anticipation of the next EC meeting (Dec 2014)


  • People come to the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership from different backgrounds, organizations, cultures, and disciplines
  • Different people and groups of people have different styles
  • Various forms of communication are used (virtual, electronic, in person, phone, etc.)
  • More personal communication opportunities would be worthwhile

New Chesapeake Bay Agreement

For the quantifiable outcomes, use the following approach:

  1. Outcomes identified
  2. Define baselines
  3. Describe efforts - current and projected
  4. Identify gaps
  5. Assess factors influencing outcomes
  6. Develop a management approach to address outcomes

For the qualitative outcomes, use the following approach:

  • Initiate the research needed to develop quantitative outcomes, indicators and thresholds
  • Track progress in the direction of progress (increasing trend, no change, decreasing trend)

Wye Island conference center operated by Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Analysis and reporting case study examples

There is a need to provide meaningful case study examples beyond the quantitative numbers and tracking statistics. The management strategies need to have executive summaries and to be integrated. The wisdom of measurement needs to be practiced, with the adage that "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted".

Creating a vision of the future Chesapeake Bay

One of the things that came to my mind was developing a vision for the future Chesapeake Bay that includes 1) climate change (e.g., sea level rise, increasing temperature, salinity, precipitation, acidification), 2) population growth (including the need of more housing, lawns, impervious surfaces), 3) changing uses of the Bay (including Panamax shipping, fishing, aquaculture), and 4) changing involvement (including citizen scientists, environmental literacy, access, private investments). The future vision of Chesapeake Bay needs to guide our restoration efforts and goals. 

Joe Gill, Chair of the Principals Staff Committee of the Chesapeake Bay Program and Secretary of Maryland Department of Natural Resources summarizing discussion as Carin Bisland, Associate Director for Partnerships and Accountability looks on.

The Wye Island song: Let it go

The Bay glows from Wye Island

Not a footprint to be seen

A kingdom of isolation


The breeze is softly swirling outside

Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows we tried


Don't let them in, don't let them see

Be good person you always have to be

Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know

Well now they know


Let it go, let it go

Can't hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go

Turn away and slam the door


We don't care

What they're going to say

Let the storm rage on

We're going to make the Bay a better place


It's funny how some distance

Makes everything seem small

And the fears that nice controlled us

Can't get to us at all


It'stime to see what we can do

To test the limits and break through

No right, no wrong, no rules for us, we're free


Let it go, let it go

We are one with the wind and sky

Let it go, let it go

You'll never see us cry


Let it go, let it go

Can't hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go

Turn away and slam the door

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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