Winter 2020 ENews

Our 2020 Clean Water Legislative Priorities!

The General Assembly sessions in Maryland and Virginia started on January 8th with much excitement and optimism for passing strong bills to protect our water and environment. Waterkeepers Chesapeake has identified priority legislation in each state.

In Maryland, we are working to pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing everyone’s right to clean water, clean air and a healthy environment (the Healthy Green Amendment), and working on bills to strengthen the state’s authority under the Clean Water Act, stop the state from waiving its water quality certification of the Conowingo Dam, improve overall enforcement, and get rid of “Zombie Permits.” Our Fair Farms campaign is working on bills on good food procurement, composting, healthy soils incentives, a Chlorpyrifos ban, and other bills.

In Virginia, we are supporting bills to improve regulation of above ground storage tanks for toxic chemicals, reduce plastics pollution in waterways, and fully fund and strengthen agricultural conservation practices.

Unlike Maryland and Virginia, the Pennsylvania legislative session runs on a sporadic basis throughout the year. We are supporting bills to improve labeling and application of lawn fertilizers and reducing pollution from sources upstream from Conowingo Dam.

Read more about our legislative priorities. Stay tuned on how you can help to get these bills passed!

Maryland Should Override Veto of Oyster Management Plan Bill

Last year, we had a very important victory when the Maryland General Assembly passed the Oyster Fishery Management Plan (HB720/SB830) that set up a scientifically driven, consensus-based stakeholder process to develop the Oyster Fishery Management Plan. But Governor Hogan decided that business as usual was OK and vetoed the bill. Business as usual is what got us to where we are today: in the past 20 years the already-low population of adult oysters declined an additional 50%.

Send an email today to your Maryland representatives asking them to vote YES to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the Oyster Fishery Management Plan (HB720/SB830).

URGENT ACTION! Gov. Hogan Must Fix the Bad Deal with Exelon on Conowingo Dam!

Take action by Friday, January 17 to tell Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) that they need to start over with their flawed deal with Exelon on the Conowingo Dam. The current settlement agreement let’s Exelon off the hook with a minimal investment in the dam cleanup. Exelon, one of the country’s wealthiest energy companies, is the only entity that profits from the water flowing through the dam.

Exelon is seeking a 50-year license to operate the Conowingo Dam without having to comply with the pollution reductions called for by MDE; in fact, over the past year, Exelon has filed a series of legal challenges to avoid meeting its clean water requirements.

In addition, this settlement agreement made behind closed doors falls far short of protecting Maryland’s waterways and requires the state to waive its authority to protect local water quality from impacts of the dam, without any details on how the agreement will protect water quality.

Send an email today!

Welcome New Staff & Board!

Long-term Board Member Robin Broder rolled off the board in December at the end of her 3rd term. As a Board member, Robin worked closely with Executive Director Betsy Nicholas establishing Waterkeepers Chesapeake, and provided financial management, campaign and communications support over the years. We are pleased to announce that as of January 3rd, Robin is our new Deputy Director. Prior to her involvement with Waterkeepers Chesapeake, she was Vice President of Potomac Riverkeeper Network for 7 years.

In addition, we welcome Bernard Devlin as our new Communications & Outreach Associate. Bernard’s experience includes working at Arundel Rivers Federation, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and the town of Edmonston. He brings to his new position a passion for native plants, animals and clean water and much enthusiasm for meeting people.

We want to thank James Riverkeeper Jamie Brunkow, Shorerivers’ Jeff Horstman and attorney Adam Van Grack for their terms on our Board and welcome several new board members: Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Elle Bassett, Chester Riverkeeper Tim Trumbauer, Potomac Riverkeeper Vice President Emily Franc, Tim Hill of WeeGreen, Kathleen Liedy of Axiologic Solutions, and Nina Beth Cardin of Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network. We also welcome South Riverkeeper Jess Iliff as our new Board Chair.

Thank you!






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.

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