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Request For Proposals for Choose Clean Water Coalition State & Outreach Leads

The Choose Clean Water Coalition is selecting two-year state and outreach leads for 2017 and 2018. The Coalition intends to fund state leads in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia and outreach leads in Delaware and New York. If your organization wants to be considered for the role of state lead or outreach lead for 2017 and 2018, please submit your application by Friday, November 11, 2016 to Chante Coleman, colemanc@nwf.org. To read the full RFP, click here.

Federal and State Agencies Pledge Over $28 Million for PA Agriculture

On October 4, at the annual meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council (EPA Administrator, Bay state governors, DC mayor and Ches. Bay Commission chair) it was announced that over $28 million would be available for targeted agricultural conservation practices in south-central PA. The breakdown of funds was approximately:

  • $12.7 million from USDA
  • $11..8 million from PA state agencies
  • $4 million from EPA

The announcement talked about this “new” money, but some of these funds have already been announced and disseminated (e.g., $3 million of EPA money announced by NFWF in August at their Chesapeake Stewardship Grants press conference). The EC has not yet provided a detailed list of all of the $28+ million.

The Coalition has been very active all year trying to obtain additional funds for agriculture in PA, working with various Members of the House and Senate, meeting with officials at the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President, OMB, USDA and EPA.

CBF Targets Pennsylvania Counties for Cleanup

On Tuesday, September 13, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) released its assessment of five counties in Pennsylvania which are the most important to target for agriculture pollution reduction in its Clean Water Blueprint. CBF also identified the sub-watersheds within those counties which require the most attention. The assessment urges federal partners and the USDA to prioritize funding to these specific regions. CFB Pennsylvania Priorities

2016 Chesapeake Stewardship Grants Announced 

Last week, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and EPA released the list of recipients of the 2016 Chesapeake Stewardship Grants at an event in State College, PA. There are grants to every state in the Bay watershed except for NY. There was significant focus on work in PA, and nearly $4.8 million will go for on-the-ground work in the Keystone State. The Choose Clean Water Coalition, especially the state leads, played a major role in ensuring that the funding for these grants has been raised to historic high levels and not been cut the past few years. 

The announcement event included Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), who has been very supportive of funding for these grants, and Shawn Garvin, EPA Region 3 Administrator. 

There are 39 grants and 18 of them are going to organizations that are members of the Choose Clean Water Coalition - and all for great projects that will make a difference for clean water throughout our watershed. The average amount of the grants to Coalition members was about $310,000 each. chesapeake_2016grants_16-0818_002.pdf

The Choose Clean Water Coalition Completes Annual Chesapeake Bay Day on Capitol Hill and Submits Appropriations Letters to Congress

The Choose Clean Water Coalition had an impressive showing at our 2016 Chesapeake Bay Day on Capitol Hill.  More than 60 Coalition members attended 37 lobbying meetings.  We were able to meet with all 12 Senate offices in the Bay watershed and 25 of the 40 House offices. We had a clean sweep of Maryland, Delaware and D.C. House and Senate offices. We also collaborated with the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed to convey both Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River watershed asks in a few offices. Our messages focused primarily on maintaining critical EPA funding for the Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration and increasing funding for the region from USDA . These messages were delivered and we believe were also "received" by staff - and in a few cases by the Members themselves. Aside from the five House and Senate members who came to speak to us at our lunch, we had several Members of Congress who met with Coalition members – including Chris Gibson (R-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Evan Jenkins (R-WV).  

The highlight of the day was our Lunch Briefing.  The room was packed with well over 100 people, including many Congressional staff, and we heard from five Members of Congress, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD), Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA), Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA), Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).

Below are the Coalition's annual Congressional Appropriation Request Letters, plus an additional letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting increased funding for conservation in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

House Agriculture Approprations Letter (March 1, 2016)

House Interior Appropriations Letter (March 1, 2016)

Senate Agriculture Appropriations Letter (March 1, 2016)

Senate Interior Approprations Letter (March 1, 2016)

U.S. Department of Agriculture Letter (March 1, 2016)

The Choose Clean Water Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation released milestones analysis of progress to meet 2017 cleanup goals

The Choose Clean Water Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation conducted an analysis to assess each state's overall progress in reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution in local waterways to restore the Chesapeake Bay. Four key practices for each state were chosen and then evaluated as to whether or not the state is generally on track to achieve 2017 goals. 

Each state and DC developed a plan to implement practices needed to achieve 60 percent of the needed Bay pollution reductions by 2017, and to complete the job by 2025. In addition, it developed two-year milestones that specify the practices the state intends to implement every two years, progressing toward those long-term goals. The data used for the assessment is from the halfway point for the 2014-2015 milestone period.

Overview:

Pennsylvania’s assessment found the Commonwealth to be off track for forest buffers, nutrient management, and urban infiltration, and slightly off track for conservation tillage.

Delaware’s assessment found the state to be off track for erosion and sediment control, grass buffers, and animal waste management systems, and on track for tree planting.

Maryland’s assessment found the state to be off track in poultry phytase and animal waste management systems, and on track for wastewater treatment plants and cover crops.

The District of Columbia assessment found the District was off track for impervious surface reduction, slightly off track for urban tree planting, and on track for urban stream restoration and stormwater infiltration practices.

West Virginia’s assessment found the state off track for nutrient management, slightly off track for forest buffers and poultry phytase, and on track for animal waste management systems.

Virginia’s assessment found the Commonwealth off track for animal waste management systems, streamside buffers, and urban infiltration practices, and on track for stream fencing.

All assessments were conducted by CBF and CCWC state partners. New York was not assessed because CCWC has no affiliated advocacy groups in New York.

 

Fly Rod and Reel magazine's article "Saving America from a Clean Chesapeake," explains the craziness of 20 states outside of the Chesapeake region joining the Farm Bureau's lawsuit to stop clean-up efforts in the states that are part of the Chesapeake region. You can read the article here. 

Many people are making their opinions on the new clean water rule heard in many newspapers around the country. The rule allows for the EPA to regulate smaller local streams and rivers and expands the defintion of clean water. 

The Times of Trenton - Thankful for Clean Water Act (July 8, 2014)

The Tampa Tribune - The Importance of Clean Water  (July 8, 2014)

Sheboygan Press - Clean Water Act is Progress for Farms, Environment (July 7, 2014)

Scranton Times-Tribune - Protect Streams (July 8, 2014)

Providence Journal - EPA Proposal Protects Water Quality (July 7, 2014)

The Journal News - View: Protect New York's Waterways (July 7, 2014)


The Choose Clean Water Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation released a milestones analysis that tracked states on how well they were meeting proposed goals for Bay cleanup. The study recieved attention from media outlets all over the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Press Release
July 9, 2012

(MASON NECK, VA)—An analysis of selected 2011 milestones established by the Bay states to accelerate the pace of reducing pollution to local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay found progress in each of the states. The analysis was conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Choose Clean Water (CCW). The goal of this analysis is to ensure that commitments were met, and if not, that actions are taken to compensate for any shortfall.

"The state blueprints and two-year milestones lay out a clear roadmap to restoring the Bay, and the rivers and streams that feed it," said CBF President William C. Baker. "We have begun the journey, and need to take stock on a regular basis of both the progress made and the course corrections necessary to ensure we reach the destination as promised by 2025."

To assess how far we have come, and how far we need to go, CBF and CCW examined progress in implementing practices to reduce pollution from agricultural runoff, urban and suburban runoff, and wastewater treatment—based on their potential to provide substantial nitrogen and phosphorus pollution reductions and offer important lessons for implementation moving forward. The analyses also measured 2011 progress against either the 2017 or 2025 goals (depending on the best available information).

"Milestones are about getting results—clean rivers and streams throughout the region," said Choose Clean Water Director Hilary Harp Falk. "It's our job to keep the states honest, celebrate their successes and demand strategies to deal with shortfalls in pollution reductions."

The history of Chesapeake Bay restoration is full of long-term goals set—then missed. Most recently, the Chesapeake Executive Council (EC) promised to restore the Bay's health by 2010, but in 2008 the Bay Program acknowledged that they would fail by a wide margin. This failure triggered two actions. First, the EC charted a new course for clean water by committing to short, two-year goals, or "milestones," to reduce pollution to local rivers, streams and the Bay. Second, the development of science-based pollution targets and the associated clean water blueprints (formally called Watershed Implementation Plans) for the Chesapeake Bay were completed in December 2010.

All states exceeded in some categories and fell short others, which is not a surprise in this first milestone effort. In addition, greater transparency and accountability by EPA and the state agencies are required to ensure quality data and continued progress toward meeting milestones. Areas of concern include data sources, units of measurement, baseline estimates, and the tracking of agricultural conservation practices installed with no government assistance. These issues are expected to be addressed by efforts led by EPA to verify, track, and report on implementation.

Saving the Chesapeake Bay, and restoring local rivers and streams, will provide benefits today and for future generations. If progress is not made we will continue to have polluted water, human health hazards, and lost jobs—at a huge cost to society. Reducing pollution and restoring local water quality will create jobs and enhance local economies.

Richmond Times Dispatch - Virginia Needs to do More Faster To Restore Bay, Analysis Shows (June 10, 2014)

Bloomberg Business Week - Study: States Short on Some Chesapeake Bay Goals (June 11, 2014)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Pa. Hindering Chesapeake Bay Cleanup (June 10, 2014)

Ap News - Study: States Short on Some Chesapeake Bay Goals (June 11, 2014)

NPR - Report: States Falling Short On Goals to Clean Up Chesapeake Bay (July 9, 2014)

Today, a new federal rule was proposed which will protect and restore streams and wetlands from pollution throughout the US, including those in the Chesapeake region. The rule will help to protect the drinking water for millions of Americans, preserve fish and wildlife habitat, and reduce the risk of flooding. Read the press release that the Coalition issued here.

Forty years ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, the landmark law that governs attempts to clean up the nation’s waters, including our local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.  Read what our partners and staff have to stay about the milestone.

The Capital asked people involved in restoring the Bay to share their thoughts on what the Clean Water Act means today. Read their thoughts here

Bill Street, executive director of the James River Association, wrote an op-ed piece which appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch about 40 years of improvement on the James River. Read it here.

In the National Parks Conservation Association blog titled “Focus on Water: Celebrating the Clean Water Act’s 40th Anniversary,” we are reminded that because of the Clean Water Act our water is cleaner but the Act is under fire from Congress. Read their post here.

Jon Devine, attorney for NRDC, offers advice here to the Clean Water Act on turning 40.

Hedrik Belin, president of the Potomac Conservancy, offers commentary about why we need to implement the clean water blueprints here.

Jeff Kelbe, the Shenandoah Riverkeeper, reminds us that we need to vote for elected officials who will fight for clean water here.

George Jugovic, Jr., PennFuture’s CEO, ponders two aspects of the complex law known as the Clean Water Act — its technology-forcing nature, and its desire to achieve an impossible goal. Read it here.

The Coalition’s Field Manager, Tanya Dierolf, wrote an op-ed piece which includes some history of the Clean Water Act which appeared in the Patriot-News. Read it here.

Peter Marx, the Coalition’s Federal Policy Contractor, reminisces here about how his career has intertwined with the history of the Clean Water Act.