Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Professor Roger Mann testified on April 7 before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs in regards to H.R. 258, the "Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2011."
Mann, the director of the VIMS Office of Research and Advisory Services, testified as part of a panel of experts on H.R. 258 and other legislation before the subcommittee. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), member of subcommittee and the chief sponsor of H.R. 258, and Wittman staffer Brent Robinson ’02, were instrumental in working with the subcommittee staff to enable Mann’s testimony.
The legislation, “to require the Office of Management and Budget to prepare a crosscut budget for restoration activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, to require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement an adaptive management plan, and for other purposes,” seeks to create at the federal level a function that the VIMS Office of Research and Advisory Services serves for the Commonwealth of Virginia—an independent evaluator to allow more science-based decisions for federal Chesapeake Bay policy.
During the hearing, Wittman asked if VIMS was well-suited to serve that role as an independent federal evaluator, and if the use of an “adaptive management” resource restoration plan was feasible.
Mann responded that VIMS “was happy to offer our services to serve that role,” and that restoration of the striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay offered a model for the integration of adaptive management in federal policy responses.
Wittman’s office is hopeful for swift passage of H.R. 258 during this session of Congress. In addition, companion legislation was introduced in the Senate on Thursday.