Press Release: Waterkeepers Chesapeake Launches Clean Water Act 50th Anniversary Campaign

Campaign encourages citizen activism to reclaim the right to clean waterways

(Takoma Park, Md.) — Waterkeepers Chesapeake launches the Clean Water Act 50th Anniversary Campaign (CWA50) today to commemorate this milestone for the landmark legislation and to further its legacy by providing a platform for people to demand equal justice and access to clean water. During the upcoming spring and summer, Waterkeepers will hold on-the-water events throughout the watershed, as well as workshops and community forums to celebrate, educate, and advocate for clean water.

“The 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act is an opportunity to catalyze our past successes into a cleaner, more just future,” said Betsy Nicholas, executive director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake. “Together, we can harness the energy, success, and momentum of the past five decades to face today’s challenges and obtain clean water justice for everyone. Where polluters have not been held accountable and clean water protections have been weakened, we need to reclaim our right to clean water, empower communities and demand equal justice and access to clean water.”

Waterkeepers Chesapeake, local Waterkeepers and campaign partners will host trainings, events, and advocacy actions for members of the public throughout the campaign. Local residents can also get involved by participating in local policy advocacy, sharing their stories, reporting pollution to Waterkeepers’ hotlines, and supporting their local Waterkeepers by becoming a member or making a donation.

The CWA50 campaign is gathering momentum with a wide range of partners such as the Hip Hop Caucus, Busboys & Poets, MOM’s Organic Market, and dozens of national, regional, and local nonprofits and community groups.

“The Choose Clean Water Coalition is thrilled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act – the most important legislation in the history of cleanup efforts for all the rivers and streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Kristin Reilly, director of Choose Clean Water. “As we look to the next 50 years of the Act, we look forward to strengthening its impact by adapting it to the ongoing consequences from climate change, investing in enforcement and on-the-ground projects, and ensuring the Act protects communities suffering disproportionate impacts from pollution.”

The CWA50 campaign will feature events to build awareness for the anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Tonight, Blue Water Baltimore will host the World Water Day Trivia Night. On March 23, Potomac Riverkeeper Network President Nancy Stoner, and Vice President of Programs and Litigation Phillip Musegaas will lead a discussion on the history of the Clean Water Act and how Potomac Riverkeeper Network utilizes this statute to pursue their mission of protecting and restoring the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Also, all 16 MOM’s Organic Market Stores in the Chesapeake region will donate 5% of proceeds to local Waterkeepers and the CWA50 campaign on April 6. For more information about these events and more, go here.

“The Clean Water Act has been instrumental in helping to stop pollution in and around our nation’s waterways, including right here in the Chesapeake Bay,” said Matt Pluta, Choptank Riverkeeper. “We look forward to a future where every community has access to clean water. Less pollution means fewer public health risks. Healthy rivers, and streams and bays are an economic benefit to local economies, including tourism and fishing industries.”

Passed by Congress in 1972, the Clean Water Act set pollution limits on what companies could dump into waterways and allows for penalties when they violated the law and endangered public health. The law also enables community members to enforce the law, where the government has failed to do so, and hold polluters accountable.

“Without the Clean Water Act, we would have to plead with each of our individual states to protect what we care about – to please stop illegal pollution, do something to resurrect the Chesapeake Bay, protect our health, and do something to bring back striped bass, blue crabs, and oysters,” said Evan Isaacson, senior attorney at the Chesapeake Legal Alliance. “Thanks to the Clean Water Act, we do not have to beg. And we do not have to ask politely. Thanks to the Act, we can exercise our statutory rights to stop pollution and clean up cherished resources.”

For information about the campaign, go to

Media contact: Robin Broder, robin(at), 703-786-8172

WKC CWA50 Press Release


Waterkeepers Chesapeake fights for clean water and a healthy environment by supporting Waterkeepers throughout the Chesapeake and coastal regions as they protect their communities, rivers, and streams from pollution.