Chesapeake Bay Program DEIJ Assessment & Strategy Guide

Location: Chesapeake Bay Watershed | Client: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Project Date: April 2018 – December 2020

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Restoration from the Inside Out: A Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Strategy for the Chesapeake Bay Program

Project Description


The U.S. EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) is an interagency, multi-state program with staff, appointees and volunteers representing a diverse range of ideological, regional and professional identities. Wanting to help its partners to develop as leaders who truly understand, respect and embrace cultural diversity and to also have the tools to continually assess the progress, CBP set the ambitious goal of growing racial and ethnic diversity within from 13% to 35%.


Skeo worked closely with CBP staff to develop a framework for evaluating the Program’s readiness for advancing its DEI aims. Skeo then conducted interviews with staff and other stakeholders, designed and facilitated two focus group conversations, designed and conducted a survey, and reviewed agency documentation to evaluate CBP relative to the DEI framework.


Our staff developed a DEIJ Readiness Assessment summary that characterized the Program’s strengths and opportunities for growth and developed a DEIJ Strategy based on the learnings from the readiness assessment and best practices in DEI for environmental agencies to inform policy and operations at CBP. In the final phase of the project, Skeo facilitated a series of DEI trainings to expand CBP staffs’ capacity for advancing DEI through their environmental work. Skeo also developed a series of tools and resources that CBP can use long-term to advance the recommendations of the DEI Strategy. For example, Skeo developed a DEIJ Statement signed by the CBP’s Executive Council, which includes the governors of all states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Skeo also developed agendas and facilitation tips for staff focus groups on internal culture, hiring, retention and promotion at CBP, and guidance on incorporating DEIJ into workgroup work plans.