On Earth Day, We Salute Our Waterkeepers

The first Earth Day 49 years ago sparked grassroots advocacy around the nation that led to the passage of the Clean Water Act, among many other landmark environmental protection laws. Along side this historic movement for better environmental protections, the Waterkeeper movement was born. This year, Waterkeeper Alliance celebrates its 20th anniversary. Waterkeepers Chesapeake and all of our member Waterkeeper programs are proud members of this global alliance. We fight alongside more than 300 amazing Waterkeeper groups around the world who are doing their part to take on the global water crisis.

We would like to share with you a few of our “water wins” here in the Chesapeake and Coastal Bay regions. Our local Waterkeepers are your on-the-water (and sometimes in the air) advocates for your local waterways. Working locally and building teams to tackle complex threats to our waterways takes a great deal of collaboration, coordination and time. We count on you – so please contact your local Waterkeeper today to find out how you can get involved and support them!

Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit that resulted in the local power plant installing cooling technology for its wastewater discharges that has reduced the severity of fish kills. – Ted Evgeniadis, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper

Shenandoah Riverkeeper has cut the number of cattle directly accessing the river, and defecating into it, by half, drastically reducing nutrient pollution. – Mark Frondorf, Shenandoah Riverkeeper

Waterkeepers Chesapeake played a significant role in permanently banning fracking in Maryland. – Katlyn Schmitt, Waterkeepers Chesapeake

Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper helped win fines, allocated for watershed improvements, from a gasoline pipeline company after a rupture. – Carol Parenzan, Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper

Gunpowder Riverkeeper in Maryland used legal action to halt a natural gas pipeline that would have endangered drinking water for up to 1.5 million people. -Theaux Le Gardeur, Gunpowder Riverkeeper

Potomac Riverkeeper convinced Alexandria, VA to go beyond minimum federal requirements and approve a plan to eliminate 70 million gallons of sewage and stormwater discharges to the Potomac River each year. – Dean Naujoks, Potomac Riverkeeper

Patuxent Riverkeeper won a civil right agreement that requires Maryland agencies to widen the scope of its environmental fairness analysis when reviewing applications to build new fossil fuels plants and broadens the role that overburdened communities will have in the power plant application process. – Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper

After years of pressure from Potomac Riverkeeper and James Riverkeeper, Virginia will require that all 28 million tons of legacy coal ash in the Commonwealth be moved from leaking coal ash ponds and recycled or safely landfilled. – Dean Naujoks, Potomac Riverkeeper, & Jamie Brunkow, James Riverkeeper

Choptank Riverkeeper worked to pass a law in Maryland to permanently protect and restore the 5 large-scale oyster restoration sanctuaries including Harris Creek, Tred Avon River and the Little Choptank River which are all part of the Choptank River complex. – Matt Pluta, Choptank Riverkeeper

South Riverkeeper worked to pass a law in Maryland requiring local governments to report their erosion and sediment control efforts statewide, bringing transparency to government, and ultimately, to receiving waters. – Jesse Iliff, South Riverkeeper

Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper won a lawsuit against EPA for failure to evaluate whether stormwater from commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities is contributing to water quality degradation in the Back River. – Angela Haren, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper

After successfully helping pass a styrofoam ban in Baltimore, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper helped pass a statewide ban in Maryland, the first state to ban foam! – Angela Haren, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper

Assateague Coastkeeper won a challenge against Maryland to reverse a permit approval for a proposed concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), the first time such a reversal of a flawed permit has been made. – Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper

Waterkeepers Chesapeake led the effort to pass phosphorus management regulations in Maryland, protecting waterways from pollution resulting from excess manure being spread on fields. – Betsy Nicholas, Waterkeepers Chesapeake