After decades of effort, the voluntary, collaborative approach to restoring the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay— the largest estuary in the United States—has not worked and, in fact, is failing. A diverse group of 57 senior scientists and policymakers have joined forces to save the Bay. This is our plan.

Howard Ernst

Dr. Ernst serves as an Associate Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy, Senior Scholar University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, and as a Non-Resident Fellow at Gettysburg College’s Eisenhower Institute. . He received his Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia in the spring of 2000. While at the University of Virginia, Dr. Ernst received several of the school’s highest academic awards, including: the Governor’s Fellowship, the Bradley Fellowship, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship. Since arriving at the Naval Academy in the fall of 2000, Dr. Ernst has taught U.S. Government and Constitutional Development; Research Methods; Environmental Politics and Security; Interest Groups, Parties and Elections; The Legislative Process; and numerous capstone courses and honor students. He served as the coordinator for the Naval Academy’s core course, U.S. Government and Constitutional Development (2003-2010) and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy during his sabbatical (2006). In 2004, Dr. Ernst received an honorable mention for the Naval Academy’s APGAR Teaching Award. He continues to serve as a founding participant in the USNA Wiki Grant (2008-present) and currently directs the Political Science Department’s Honors program. Email Howard at

Dr. Ernst’s research focuses on the American political system and gives close attention to citizen influence over the policy process. He is considered a leading authority in the area environmental politics and an expert on the politics of the Chesapeake Bay restoration. He has published widely, including six books, and has collaborated with leading scholars in several subfields of Political Science. His books include: Dangerous Democracy? The Battle over Ballot Initiatives in America (2001, contributing coeditor); Chesapeake Bay Blues: Science, Politics, and the Struggle to Save the Bay (2003, author); The Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections (2005, contributing coeditor); The Political Science Toolbox: A Research Companion to American Government (2008, coauthor); Clash of Ideals: Cases in American Political Development (2009, coauthor); and Fight for the Bay: Why a Dark Green Political Awakening is Needed to Save the Chesapeake Bay (2009, author). Dr. Ernst has also authored or coauthored numerous peer reviewed articles and book chapters, including: “The Promise and Pitfalls of Differentiated Instruction for Undergraduate Political Science Courses,” The Journal of Political Science Education (2005, co-author) and “Civic Education and the Development of Political Knowledge and Democratic Orientations in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” Political Psychology (2005, co-author).

Dr. Ernst has developed a national reputation for his work in the area of environmental policy and natural resource management. His research in this area exemplifies his desire to span multiple academic disciplines. His environmental policy texts have been adopted in courses as diverse as a graduate seminar at Yale University’s School of Forestry, New York University’s School of Law, and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Geography and Environmental Engineering, in addition to dozens of public policy courses taught in political science departments throughout the country. His books have been highlighted in numerous media outlets, including the Washington Post, National Public Radio, C-SPAN, Voice of America, and a PBS Frontline documentary. Ernst’s work has resulted in invitations to testify before Congress and to guest lecture at institutions such as Case Western Reserve, Yale University, New York University, Johns Hopkins University, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Institute, and other centers of higher education. Ernst’s accomplishments have led to his selection as a Senior Scholar at University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and as Public Policy Fellow at Gettysburg College’s Eisenhower Institute where he directs the Troubled Waters Program.