February 2020 ENews

Take Action on Maryland Clean Water Legislation!

401 Water Quality Certification Improvement Act (HB1128): This bill would guarantee that Maryland retains – and uses — the authority it is entitled to under the Clean Water Act to protect local communities and waterways from federally permitted projects like dams and pipelines. The House committee is holding a hearing on Friday, February 28. Take action today!

Conowingo Dam Emergency Legislation (SB955/HB1465): This bipartisan bill would prevent Maryland from waiving a Water Quality Certification for the Conowingo Dam 50-year federal license. The Maryland Department of the Environment waived its right to require the certification – and the $172 million a year for pollution reductions – in the proposed settlement with Exelon Corporation now awaiting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval. Hearings on this bill are March 4 and March 11. Take action today!

Three bills to support sustainable farming practices: Our Fair Farms campaign is working on three important bills to improve our food system and support sustainable farming practices that will better the health of communities and protect clean water.

  • Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program (HB1488/SB985) is a voluntary program that allows state institutions to contact local farms that meet certain environmental standards. Take action!
  • Healthy Soils Grant Program (HB1176) aims to provide financial incentives to Maryland farmers who utilize a wide array of practices to build healthy soils. Take action!
  • Maryland Agricultural Cost Share (MACS) program provides farmers with grants to implement practices that prevent soil erosion and safeguard water quality. HB687/SB597 would expand the program to incentivize a wider array of permanent practices that promote soil health and protect the Bay. Take action!

Virginia & Pennsylvania Clean Water Legislation

We are urging Pennsylvanian’s to put pressure on Governor Wolfe, who verbally committed to vetoing the petrochemical plant incentives bill (HB1100). PennFuture along with other groups, including Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, are holding a rally in the rotunda in the capitol in Harrisburg on Monday March 9th at 10am, calling on the Governor to veto the bill and asking state legislators to support the veto.
Legislation is moving quickly in Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Stewardship Act (HB1422), the Menhaden Fisheries bill (HB1448), and the pipeline construction improvement bill #1 (HB643) and #2 (HB644) made their way out of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources (ACN) Committee. The offshore drilling bill (SB795) made its way out the House ACN Committee. In addition, a number of bills on reducing the use of plastics are making their way through committees. Check Virginia Conservation Network’s bill tracker for updates.

Fair Farms Pizza & Pint Night April 30th!

Join us April 30th for Pizza & Pint Night at Union Craft Brewing! A dollar from every pint and Well Crafted Kitchen pizza sold will benefit Fair Farms. We’ll also be raffling off some fun items from our partner businesses and farmers in the area. See you there!

When: Thursday, April 30th, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Where: Union Craft Brewery, 1700 West 41st Street, Baltimore, MD 21211

Suggested donation of $10 per person.


Job Notice: Development Intern

We are seeking an intern to support the Development Manager and Executive Director with current and prospective individual, corporate, and foundation donors. At the completion of this internship, the Development Intern will be prepared to execute all phases of the donor cycle, from identification and cultivation to solicitation and stewardship. Apply today!

Welcome New Waterkeepers!

In December, Alice Volpitta moved into the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper position after serving as Blue Water Baltimore’s lead water quality scientist for 6 years. A Maryland native, her areas of expertise include water quality monitoring, data management, and enforcement, and she has spent hundreds of hours patrolling and surveying Baltimore’s streams, rivers, and harbor. Former Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper Angela Haren has moved to our partner Chesapeake Legal Alliance and we look forward to continued legal work with her.

This month, award-winning journalist and outdoors advocate John Zaktansky was named the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper. A Pennsylvania native, John joins the Riverkeeper movement after nearly 14 years of working at The Daily Item newspaper in Sunbury, winning numerous state-wide journalism awards for his writing, design work and special projects. We wish the founding Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Carol Parenzan well in her new endeavors.

At Arundel Rivers Federation, South Riverkeeper Jesse Iliff expanded his role to cover the West and Rhode Rivers after Jeff Holland retired at the end of last year. Check out Jeff’s new column.

Save the Date: In Defense of Water Sept. 24th

Mark your calendar! Our 4th annual In Defense of Water will be the evening of Thursday, September 24th. We’ll be back at the Audubon Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. Our annual fundraiser will showcase of the best clean water advocates in the region – our Waterkeepers, plus our efforts to pass a constitutional amendment on environmental rights in Maryland. Stay tuned for exciting announcements on speakers, awards, and more!


Thank you!






Betsy Nicholas
Executive Director


Take a Clear Choices Clean Water pledge to adopt water-friendly practices in your daily life like picking up pet waste, reducing lawn fertilizer, planting native plants, and more! Your actions can protect clean water! YOU can make a difference!

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 seventeen 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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