University of Maryland, College Park, Alternative Spring Break students wrote letters and attended a bill hearing in support of keeping oyster sanctuaries closed to harvest. Photo Credit: David Tana/CBF Staff

Earning Support for Clean Water

Since the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement in 1983, EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program has coordinated world-class estuarine science and restoration among research universities; nonprofits; businesses; and federal, state, and local government agencies. Restoration programs built on that science are bearing fruit.

Ironically, now that progress is clear, the Bay Program's future is in jeopardy due to proposed cuts in federal funding. To counter the threat, CBF has joined multiple partners to engage our representatives in Congress. Fortunately, most of them understand how critical the Chesapeake's health is to the region's people and economy. CBF is a vital source of up-to-date information and actions. And, through CBF's cutting-edge digital advocacy program, our members help deliver that information to decision makers.

Other engagement takes place in offices on Capitol Hill, through CBF-organized visits to senators and representatives from local constituents who are CBF supporters. We also meet with our legislators when they are at home in their districts. Our enormously effective decision-maker field experiences are based on the founding principle of CBF's Environmental Education Program: The place to teach people about the Bay is on it. We invite legislators out on our workboats and canoes to analyze water quality, pull fishing nets, plant oysters on restoration reefs, and learn about important policies that support the Bay. This summer, senators and representatives of both parties rolled up their sleeves and joined CBF staff, trustees, and volunteers on the Lafayette, Potomac, Patapsco, and Susquehanna Rivers to learn along with us.

Saving the Bay is a profound exercise in understanding this national treasure and crafting effective, cost-efficient ways to invest both public and private dollars in restoration. From local meetings to time on the water, it's about building a community of people who are bonded to the Chesapeake. As volunteer Clean Water Captain Lani Hummel likes to say, "When people get connected, they want to make a difference."

"It's madness." CBF President Will Baker reacts to the Trump Administration’s threat to eliminate all federal funding for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program—a program that plays a critical role in coordinating and sustaining the federal/state partnership to restore the Bay and its rivers and streams.

Sidebar Photos: 1. Krista Schlyer/iLCP, 2. John Surrick/CBF Staff, 3. Robert Miller.