With Advocacy

Bay advocates join CBF at a rally in Annapolis. Photo by CBF Staff.
Bay advocates join CBF at a rally in Annapolis. Photo by CBF Staff

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its members, more than 200,000 strong, are the strongest and most effective voice that exists for protecting and restoring the Bay and its rivers and streams. We work at local, state, and federal levels for effective laws and regulations that will reduce pollution, restore vital natural systems like oyster reefs, forests, and wetlands, and encourage smart growth in our communities.

CBF acts as a watchdog to elevate good practices for healing our waterways, while being vigilant in opposing projects or proposals that would degrade water quality. Our scientists submit comments to governing bodies regarding fisheries management, wetlands mitigation, stormwater issues, construction and development projects and more. CBF is a well-respected resource on environmental issues that impact the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers, and streams.

Here are just a few recent accomplishments:


In Virginia, CBF pushed to secure $27 million in Virginia to reduce pollution from agriculture and $50 million to help communities address urban runoff and worked closely with conservation partners, legislators, and other stakeholders to ensure bills both provided critical clean water protections and met the needs of local governments. Our efforts also thwarted proposed legislation in Virginia against the state's polluted runoff management program.

On the fisheries front, CBF worked to ensure Virginia continues to responsibly manage Atlantic menhaden with passage of a bill extending the state's current management plan to July 1, 2016.


In Maryland, CBF helped defeat 20 legislative bills in Maryland that attempted to repeal, exempt, or alter the 2012 polluted runoff law and succeeded in keeping important programs funded at existing or expanded levels, including securing an additional $625 million to reduce pollution from highways, agricultural sources, and aging polluted runoff systems. Our efforts were also instrumental in overcoming attacks on a state initiative to provide a better tool to reduce phosphorus pollution from agriculture.


In Pennsylvania, CBF helped craft legislation supporting efforts to reduce pollution, blocked legislation that would weaken pollution-reduction  efforts, and assisted the York County Planning Commission in creating a county-wide Chesapeake Bay pollution-reduction plan among its 45 municipalities.

To Hold Accountable

CBF's top priority is to defend and implement the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. Much of this work is unfolding in Washington, D.C., where CBF and our allies worked hard to stop legislation that would have dramatically set back efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay. Just as important, however, are the local communities struggling to implement their states' plans in innovative and cost-effective ways. CBF's advocacy efforts are designed to help and to hold the states and the federal government accountable for staying on the course of restoration.

FY 2016 Advocacy Accomplishments

INCREASED grassroots support for clean water in Pennsylvania by conducting outreach to residents. As a result, 5,000 actions were taken—including phone calls, emails, and petition signatures—urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to take action to reduce pollution.

BUILT bipartisan support for the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the federal and state Bay clean-up plan, in the U.S. Congress. This achievement has been critical to our ability to defeat periodic attempts in Congress to defund the effort.

LOBBIED the Virginia General Assembly, securing an unprecedented $144 million for clean-water programs, including funding to improve stormwater management and help farmers implement conservation practices.

URGED Pennsylvania's leaders to make clean water a priority. As a result, the Commonwealth's House of Representatives declared May 2016 "Clean Water Counts Month,” signifying an intention to provide funding for projects that protect and restore Pennsylvania's waters. CBF's outreach also resulted in 18 additional counties passing Clean Water Counts resolutions, bringing the total number to 34.

ADVOCATED for Maryland's Sustainable Oyster Population and Fishery Act of 2016, a law that will help set sustainable, science-based harvest limits for the oyster fishery in Maryland. CBF scientists spoke to legislators and the media, and sent urgent messages to members. As a result, CBF members sent 14,683 emails and made nearly 700 phone calls to Maryland legislators. The bill ultimately passed.

PROMOTED science-based management of the Bay's fisheries, including blue crabs; Atlantic menhaden; and sturgeon, a species threatened with extinction.

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