Chesapeake Bay: FY18 Budget Cuts

Native brookie caught on a Chesapeake Bay stream restored by TU — thanks to the support of EPA Restoration Program funding

What Happened?

This week, President Trump released his FY18 budget blueprint which promises massive spending cuts for several key agencies and programs that are essential for TU’s mission and work. (See TU Press Release re: Budget Blueprint, here).

Included in these cuts, the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program would be eliminated — slashed from its current allocation of $73 million.

What does this mean for TU projects and goals?

The elimination of this program would severely limit the amount of coldwater habitat conservation that TU and others can accomplish in the Chesapeake Bay headwaters, and would stall progress on Bay cleanup efforts. The Chesapeake Bay headwaters are home to some of the region’s best trout streams. The EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program — in particular the Small Watershed Grants — has enabled TU to work with farmers in Virginia and West Virginia to improve both farming operations and trout habitat on their lands, and with local communities in Pennsylvania to restore trout streams, which in turn contributes cold, clean water to the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is made up of a network of hundreds of thousands of rivers and streams that span over 64,000 square miles, and are important sources of recreation, food, and drinking water for millions of people. Thousands of members of the tourism and fishing industry depend on the Bay to provide for their families, with the Bay’s economic worth estimated at over $1 trillion. In addition, over 13 million people from six different states and the District of Columbia rely on the Bay’s rivers and streams to provide the water that they drink. Additionally, In the tributaries of the Chesapeake brook trout habitat is seriously degraded. Working with land trusts and other partners, we’re restoring critical habitat and ensuring that these places will exist for future generations.

Here are just a few examples of the type of success that TU is accomplishing in the Chesapeake, with the support of EPA funds and collaboration with local stakeholders:

  • New Culvert on PA’s Little Lyman Run opens nearly 8 stream miles:

What Next & What You Can Do:

TU will continue our work to improve management and conservation practices on our public lands and waters. To learn more about current priorities and opportunities for engagement, check out the following resources and opportunities:

Take Action: Stand Up for the Chesapeake Bay.

Write a letter to President Trump and to your Congressional delegation, letting them know how important public lands are to sportsmen and women.

Reach out — get in touch and get engaged

  • Contact your local chapter to help plan or join a restoration project in a watershed near you, reach out to your state council to find out ways you might engage with state-level advocacy on topics important to trout and salmon, or reach out to TU Volunteer Operations Staff for help connecting with your local or state TU resources or locating other tools to help you engage locally;
  • Check out TU’s new “Project Finder” to see what might be underway in your area.
  • Contact the TU Government Affairs team to see what’s cooking in Congress or in the Budget planning process.

Stand Up — Take Action with TU

  • Check out TU’s Advocacy Center at to see what current campaigns are underway or to learn more about getting involved in advocacy work on behalf of Trout Unlimited.

Consider a Donation to TU Advocacy Efforts