Winter 2021 ENews

Attacks on Our Democracy

We were appalled and outraged by the deadly January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the physical and psychological harm experienced by so many people at the capitol and throughout our nation. This attack was the culmination of several years of language and actions predicated on White Supremacy. We demand accountability of those elected officials who enabled this by challenging the peaceful transition of power, asserting election fraud when there was none, and inciting violence and anarchy.

As an organization, we work to safeguard people’s rights to participate in our democratic processes and institutions. We support everyone’s ability to protect their families and communities from polluted water and to reverse the harm done by decades of environmental racism. We denounce the hate and violence that seeks to damage our democratic institutions and deny others the access to work for policies and systemic change that will ensure clean water for everyone. We must confront systemic and institutional racism. We are committed to doing the hard work of rebuilding trust and strengthening our democracy together, community by community, for a better future for everyone.

Clean Water Bills Making Progress in Maryland & Virginia

Maryland and Virginia’s 2021 General Assemblies convened on January 13 under very unusual and stressful circumstances due to the necessary COVID safety protocols, and the unprecedented security precautions due to the threats to state capitols following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Pennsylvania’s House and Senate reconvened on January 25. Lawmakers and policy advocates like Waterkeepers Chesapeake continue with the work of passing laws that protect and support the health and livelihoods of our residents despite these constraints. Our gratitude goes out to the lawmakers, their staff, and those who protect them at the U.S. and state capitols.

Our legislative priorities include climate adaptation, Conowingo Dam, citizen intervention, and PFAS protection in Maryland. In Virginia, priorities include budget amendments related to PFAS research and funds for wastewater treatment plant upgrades, stormwater pollution reduction, and farm practices to reduce runoff, as well as bills on plastic pollution and environmental justice issues. Our Fair Farms campaign is working on funding for a healthy soils program, extending the food donation tax credit for farmers, and urban agricultural support.


PFAS, the Forever Chemicals

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of more than 9000 man-made chemicals common in firefighting and non-stick coatings. PFAS chemicals don’t break down in the environment, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.” They also build up in our bodies over time — a dangerous combination. They are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, immune suppression, and reproductive problems. A CDC survey found PFAS in the blood of 97% of the participants. There are 3 actions you can take today to address the threat of PFAS in our region.

  1. Urge your Maryland legislators to pass the PFAS Protection Act. Send an email today!
  2. Support funding for the PFAS Study in Virginia. Send an email today!
  3. Join us on Feb. 18 at 7:00pm for a discussion with a panel of experts on the status of local scientific research to understand the extent of PFAS in our local waters and fish, and policy efforts to stop the use of PFAS.

Special 2021 Calendar Offer for You!


The 2021 Exploring the Natural Beauty of the Chesapeake Bay calendar created by Ecoprint includes several local environmental organizations whose missions range from global warming, Baltimore’s rivers and streams, litter and prevention efforts to the Eastern Shore waterways. The beautiful calendar features 11 organizations and their efforts on the opposite side of each month. We are happy to be included — check out August — along with Blue Water Baltimore, ShoreRivers, and Anacostia Riverkeeper! You can buy one for just $5! And Ecoprint will ship it to you.


Waterkeepers Chesapeake in the News!

Green Groups Have a Racism Problem. Waterkeepers Are Trying to Solve It, Cameron Ogelsby, Grist, January 4, 2021

Plan Outlines Strategy to Pay for Conowingo Dam Cleanup, Karl Blankenship, Chesapeake Bay Journal, January 25, 2021

Join Our Team!

We are seeking a bright, experienced individual to join our fundraising team as a part-time Grants Manager & Writer. In addition to researching and writing grant proposals, the Grants Manager & Writer will be in charge of maintaining a grants calendar to monitor the application process and keep track of deadlines. This is an excellent position for a candidate interested in working in a small organization that welcomes creative ideas from staff at all levels, and provides a range of responsibilities and opportunities to learn and participate in campaigns that make a difference in people’s lives. This is a part-time 20 to 24 hour per week position. Apply today!


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!

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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.

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