In 2001 China embarked on an ambitious program to improve water quality through creation of the Clean Bohai Sea Program (CBSP). It is the first regional ocean governance program in China. The joint conference of central and local government units directed CBSP under the leadership of the State Environment Protection Administration. To meet the environmental objectives established by the joint conference local governments must pay for the program and operate it, but to date they have not been able to fully fund the effort. Although data indicate a decline of polluted discharges to the Bohai, one tabulation shows that the area of the sea that is polluted has increased each year from 2001 to 2005. Future enhancement of CBSP depends on revising incentives to better link local environmental programs and development, establishing funding mechanisms to equitably spread costs throughout watersheds, and creating comprehensive monitoring programs to better appraise program results.