The Chesapeake Bay Program ("the CBP" or "Program") has been widely celebrated as a model of collaborative management for large multijurisdictional watersheds and for ecosystem management more generally.' In an article published six years ago, I joined in the celebration.2 But recent events warrant consideration of whether restructuring of the program is called for. In this essay, I consider whether greater centralization of decisionmaking for the Bay would address recent criticisms of the Program and better protect the public interest. After evaluating two alternative forms for the Program involving greater centralization, I conclude that major restructuring is not in order. The decentralized networked character of the Program carries with it the risk of failure, through inattention or misuse by its participants, but it also gives the Program an integrative capability particularly suited to the task of managing a complex and rapidly evolving human-natural system that is still only partially understood.
Checking in on the Chesapeake: Some Questions of Design,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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