The program framework is organized around five themes, or pillars, that are drawn from the Act and will guide Chesapeake WILD work. The intent of the program is to bring together various stakeholders to create a forum for sharing experience and expertise to address all of these pillars — building capacity, developing networks, and creating greater efficiency and focus watershed-wide.
Each pillar is tied to goals that support the purpose and intent of the Act. The goals listed for each pillar are intentionally broad to represent the collective aspirations of our partners and stakeholders and reflect priority needs and opportunities they helped identify.
Likewise, the priorities for conservation action and design identified for each set of goals are broad. They are not comprehensive, but represent a range of concepts, work activities, and categories of projects that align with and/or complement the efforts of the CCP, the Bay Program, and numerous partner organizations eager to support Chesapeake WILD. Implicit within the priorities for all the pillars is the importance of communicating the results and accomplishments of the program to stakeholders, including Congress.
Each pillar has stand-alone value to the Chesapeake WILD program; however, there is overlap among and across them. Therefore, a priority that focuses on one pillar (e.g., Conserving and restoring fish and wildlife habitat, with an emphasis on at-risk and federally listed species and habitats) may also benefit water quality, improve resiliency to flooding, and increase recreational opportunities. The program will encourage projects that address more than one pillar and prioritize those that address several.
The framework does not supersede any mandates or authorities that partners may have to manage resources in the watershed. Instead, it provides for identifying opportunities to align effort and leverage resources among various organizations. Partners may affiliate with or support one or more of the pillars identified in the framework. Future versions of the framework will undoubtedly clarify, focus, and otherwise improve upon the current goals and priorities as the program grows, evolves, and develops a more strategic focus. In addition, if/ when funding becomes available for the grant program envisioned by the Act, the eligibility criteria developed by the partnership will target funding to the most strategic priorities.