State leg­is­la­tures des­ig­nate Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Aware­ness Week

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

The first an­nual Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Aware­ness Week will be cel­e­brated from June 4-12 in Vir­ginia, Mary­land and Penn­syl­va­nia. Rec­og­niz­ing the rich his­tory, piv­otal eco­nomic im­por­tance, and as­tound­ing beauty of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay water­shed, mem­bers of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Com­mis­sion worked col­lab­o­ra­tively in seek­ing pas­sage of res­o­lu­tions des­ig­nat­ing a week-long recog­ni­tion of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. Through this des­ig­na­tion, the leg­is­la­tures en­cour­age res­i­dents and en­vi­ron­men­tal and ed­u­ca­tional groups to host events, ac­tiv­i­ties, and ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams to in­crease aware­ness of the im­por­tance of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay to the states, re­gion and United States.

“Public en­gage­ment and aware­ness were crit­i­cal to achiev­ing the water qual­ity im­prove­ments we’ve wit­nessed thus far. Bay Aware­ness Week will rein­vig­o­rate the public, en­gage new part­ners and help us meet our Ch­e­sa­peake Water­shed Agree­ment com­mit­ment to in­crease the num­ber and di­ver­sity of lo­cal cit­i­zen stew­ards and lo­cal gov­ern­ments that ac­tively sup­port and carry out con­ser­va­tion and restora­tion.” said Com­mis­sion Chair Sen. Thomas “Mac” Mid­dle­ton (D-Charles). Vir­ginia del­e­gate and Com­mis­sion Vice-Chair Del. Scott Lingam­fel­ter (R-Wood­bridge) added, “We urge water­shed res­i­dents to join us in be­com­ing more Bay aware and dur­ing the sec­ond week of June, host events, ac­tiv­i­ties, and ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams to in­crease aware­ness of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay in your own com­mu­nity.”

This is yet another ex­am­ple of com­mis­sion mem­bers work­ing across po­lit­i­cal and geo­graphic bound­aries for the bet­ter­ment of this na­tional trea­sure. Ear­lier this year recog­ni­tions for former Mary­land Se­na­tor Bernie Fowler for his 50 years of work to re­store the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay were ad­vanced in each state.

The sec­ond week of June was se­lected be­cause it book-ends two long-stand­ing, suc­cess­ful out­reach events in the water­shed. Dur­ing the first Satur­day in June, the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Foun­da­tion hosts Clean the Bay Day dur­ing which thou­sands of vol­un­teers roll up their sleeves and take di­rect ac­tion to clean their wa­ter­ways. In Mary­land, on the sec­ond Sun­day in June, Bernie Fowler tra­di­tion­ally holds his an­nual Patux­ent River Wade-In event, at­tended by hun­dreds over the past 28 years, from school­child­ren to gov­er­nors, U.S. Con­gress­men and Se­na­tors.

The Susque­hanna So­journ, cel­e­brat­ing the largest river east of the Mis­sis­sippi that sup­plies the lifeblood of fresh water flow­ing in to the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, runs from June 17-19 this year, fur­ther ex­tend­ing our Bay aware­ness fes­tiv­i­ties. “In Penn­syl­va­nia, be­ing more aware of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and tak­ing ac­tions to re­duce pol­lu­tion di­rectly ben­e­fits our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and lo­cal waters,” said Penn­syl­va­nia rep­re­sen­ta­tive and Com­mis­sion Vice-Chair Rep. Garth Everett (R-Ly­coming, Union).

Ann Swan­son, An­napo­lis The writer is the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Com­mis­sion.

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