Fall 2019 ENews

September is Cleanup Month!

Our Waterkeepers throughout the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays regions are hosting several river and coastal cleanups starting this weekend as part of World Cleanup Day on September 21 and International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 28. Did you know that enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times and that the production of plastic uses around 8 percent of the world’s oil production? And it gets worse. Once in the water, plastic never fully biodegrades, but breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually being dubbed “microplastic” — debris less than 5mmg – which is proving impossible to cleanup.

We invite you to find a cleanup near you with your local Waterkeeper. Use our Water Reporter app to document the trash and debris you find. Post your cleanups on social media with hashtag #WaterkeeperCleanup and tag us!

Wait! There are more ways you can make a difference!

Support the Bahama Waterkeepers as they respond and rebuild after the devastating destruction from Hurricane Dorian. Go to waterkeeper.org/donate and select “Hurricane Dorian – Bahamas” from the gift designation dropdown.

Support Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper at the Dam Challenge on Sept. 28, 3 different races on the Susquehanna River at Lake Clarke starting and finishing at Lock 2 Recreation Area.

Take a Clear Choices Clean Water pledge to implement water friendly practices to reduce polluted stormwater runoff, such as reducing the use of lawn fertilizer, landscaping with native plants, and managing pet waste.

Attend the screening and panel discussion of “The Wild” on Sept 19 in DC, a film showcasing Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the devastating impacts of the proposed Pebble mine on the people and region of southwest Alaska.

Participate in a public hearing on Oct 2 in Arlington, VA on EPA’s proposal to weaken protections on toxic coal ash (RSVP by Sept. 26 if you want to speak). Stay tuned for our action alert on submitting comments.

Take a Fair Farms pledge to help build a new food system — one that is fair to farmers, invests in homegrown healthy foods, and restores our waterways.

Stay tuned on how to comment on the EPA’s attempt to take away states’ authority to protect local waterways from large federal projects like dams and pipelines.

Check our online events calendar for monthly activities hosted by your local Waterkeepers!

In Defense of Water 2019

Our 3rd annual In Defense of Water event was a showcase of the very best clean water advocates in the region – our Waterkeepers! We were honored by guest speakers Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Jamie Raskin and thank them for their inspiring words about how our work on the local level informs policy work on the state and national levels. We were pleased to give our Water Warrior award to Earthjustice. Earthjustice has been instrumental in protecting our waterways from pollution, having represented Waterkeepers Chesapeake and many of our member Waterkeepers for several years free of charge. Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks and James Riverkeeper Jamie Brunkow received our first annual Waterkeeper Outstanding Win (WOW!) Award for their successful campaign to cleanup toxic coal ash stored on the banks of Virginia’s rivers. Our sponsors were too numerous to list here but we want to give a special shout of thanks to MOM’s Organic Market for sponsoring this event and our programs. And we want to thank our many guests for your enthusiastic support of our work! Click here to check out photos from the event!

What’s New with the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia just released their final plans for the third phase of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan. Unfortunately, the final plans for Pennsylvania and Maryland lack the necessary details on how they will accomplish their goals by 2025 as required under the Bay cleanup plan (or TMDL). Both states have a huge nitrogen pollution problem but their plans lack new actions and programs, do not account for growth and climate change, and do not identify adequate funding to meet 2025 targets. The future of the Bay and the health of our local waterways and communities depend on state plans that stop pushing the hard work down the road. With increasing extreme weather events and rising sea levels, we don’t have time to waste.


EPA Has Allowed Slaughterhouses to Pollute Waterways. It has to Stop.

In July, we joined Waterkeeper Alliance, Environmental Integrity Project and other groups in filing a notice of intent to sue the EPA for failing to update slaughterhouse wastewater guidelines as required by the Clean Water Act. An estimated 4,700 slaughterhouses out of 5,000 are currently allowed to discharge processed wastewater directly into waterways or to publicly-owned treatment plants.

Scattered throughout our region, there are several slaughterhouses that have discharged high levels of pollutants into our local waterways, violating their permits with little or no enforcement. As an example, in a recent 18-month period, a meat processing plant in Pennsylvania violated its water discharge permit 62 times, discharging excessive amounts of nitrogen pollution into a tributary to the Susquehanna River. Later in July, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper filed suit against a poultry rendering plant.

Thank you! See you out on the water!






Betsy Nicholas
Executive Director


We have made it easier to find and report pollution — and to report the fun things you see and do on the river. Working with Chesapeake Commons, we developed the free Water Reporter App so you can send reports directly to your local Waterkeeper! Download it today!

Take Swim Guide with you – wherever you go! The free Swim Guide app makes it easy to know the water quality at your beach. Several of our Waterkeepers post water quality monitoring results every week — check it out before you head to your favorite river, bay and beach!

Shop WeeGreen and find a range of the very best green and sustainable products and local services. Every purchase benefits Waterkeepers Chesapeake!

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Waterkeepers Chesapeake is a coalition of eighteen independent Waterkeeper programs working to make the waters of the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays swimmable and fishable. Waterkeepers Chesapeake amplifies the voices of each Waterkeeper and mobilizes these organizations to fight pollution and champion clean water. The members of Waterkeepers Chesapeake work locally, using grassroots action and advocacy to protect their communities and their waters.

For info: www.WaterkeepersChesapeake.org or email info@waterkeeperschesapeake.org.

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