Jun 10, 2010

Push to Protect Chesapeake Bay Launched

Web-based campaign urges action by Congress this summer

The Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and streams, the nation’s largest estuary, is the focus of a major new online campaign, “Restoring our Waters” (www.restoringourwaters.org), which aims to ensure Congressional support comparable to that already in place for other major American bodies of water.

The new Web-based campaign targeting transplanted natives, outdoors enthusiasts, vacationers, travelers and others around the United States is being launched in advance of the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee markup this month of S. 1816, the Chesapeake Clean Water Act.

“Restoring our waters tells the story of how people around the country consider the Chesapeake a national treasure, worthy of protection,” said Hilary Falk, director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition, which is organizing the national effort. “Those who love the Chesapeake Bay know it deserves the national attention and iconic status of the Florida Everglades, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, or the Mighty Mississippi. Having Americans who care about clean water and the great outdoors sign this petition and contact their legislators will demonstrate how important the Chesapeake is to our nation.

“Thousands of gallons of oil a day are spilling into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Peter Johnson, manager of the Restoring Our Waters campaign. “We are all astonished by this thought and the fact that we are largely helpless to stop it. But nutrients have been pouring into the Chesapeake, its rivers and streams for decades now. Its effects are more subtle than the startling images of oil-soaked birds and wildlife, yet nitrogen and other pollutants strangle the very lifeblood out of the Chesapeake and the economy of the region. The federal government is finally starting to realize the devastating impact that decades of neglect and misuse have had on the waters of the Chesapeake.”

The Choose Clean Water Coalition brings together people and more than 130 organizations from Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.