While reviewing Maryland’s Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan to Restore Chesapeake Bay by 2025, I was happy to see that the State of Maryland, under Governor Hogan’s leadership, has adopted the idea of ‘creating’ a restoration economy to drive the delivery of the many efforts needed to restore Chesapeake Bay water quality by 2025.

Restoring emergent tidal wetlands in a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay

Rather than negatively focusing on the costs of environmental improvement goals, Maryland has embraced the future of market-based strategies to deliver cost-effective Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Maryland recognizes that these efforts can continue into the future as an economic engine for the state’s fiscal growth.

Native plants and stormwater BMPs at a public library in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The restoration economy has many forms.

This vision was first shared years ago in a book titled The Restoration Economy, which develops a vision of the industrial revolution being replaced by a restoration industry that delivers more value, a better quality of life for society, and a better environment.

Stream restoration in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

The growing trend of private-public partnerships in the restoration industry is delivering value beyond cost savings. Private funding reduces a lot of the cost and time associated with government funding, and the government partner is assured delivery of the contracted project before payment and the responsibility for construction and post-construction phase efforts are clear cut. Finally, private property owners are more willing to engage with private firms able to compensate them directly through payment for ecosystem services than with government programs that have more strings attached.

 

Further Reading

The eternal ripple of a restored stream
Drinking from a Long Straw
The Restoration Economy
Breaking Barriers: How I Shaped my Image with Advice from Sylvia Earle
Semester at Sea: Reflections on Vietnam (Việt Nam)

More From This Author

UN Declares Decade of Ecosystem Restoration
The Restoration Economy