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Bernie Fowler wades into the Patuxent

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer calls Bernie Fowler one of the great river protectors in America. On June 10, 2013, Bernie was joined by Congressman Hoyer and Governor Martin O'Malley and 270 citizens for the 25th annual Patuxent wade-in. The wade-in has evolved into a symbol of the need for stewardship of the state's precious water resources.

As a young man in the 1950s, Bernie Fowler stood chest-deep in the Patuxent and was able to see his feet on the river bottom while netting blue crabs. Bernie held the first Patuxent "wade-in" in 1988 to assess whether he could still see his feet while wading into the river. This became known as the “Sneaker Index.” His white sneakers - which he still has and uses for the annual event - disappeared from view in a disappointing 10 inches of water. At this year's wade-in, his sneakers were visible until he reached a depth of 35.0 inches.

Bernie Fowler served as Calvert County commissioner from 1970-1982 and as Maryland state senator from 1983-1994.