Critical Actions Maryland's Elected Leaders Can Take to Help Save the Bay

Photo copyright Karine Aigner/iLCPPhoto © Karine Aigner/iLCP

Welcome to the most important four years for Maryland's clean water future.

Many of us cherish the Chesapeake Bay and our local waterways. We want to pass on a legacy of clean water to future generations. How we create that future in the world of policy, leadership, and on the ground action, however, can be confusing.

But one thing is crystal clear: there are important, specific things on which our elected officials absolutely need to be the leaders if local waterways and the Bay are to be fishable, swimmable, and much healthier by 2025. This is the deadline that state and federal governments, working together, have given themselves to have everything in place to clean up the Bay.

That's why we've developed these "Critical Actions Maryland's Next Governor and Other Elected Officials Can Take to Save the Bay." These are the actions our elected leaders need to take to stop pollution and restore fisheries for Maryland citizens, now and into the future.



Ron Holter, owner of Holterholm Farms in Jefferson, MD  Photo by Tom Zolper

Photo by Tom Zolper/CBF Staff

Pollution from water running off farm fields, parking lots, rooftops, and fertilized lawns washes a toxic brew into our streams and the Bay. Many of our state's farms continue to struggle with excess manure and poor soil health. This pollution is increasing while our forests—nature's best pollution filters—continue to decline.

With Maryland behind on its commitments to reduce phosphorus pollution, bold action is needed.


Waterman checking crab pots. Photo by Tom Boddorff

Photo by Tom Boddorff

When healthy, Maryland's fisheries boost our economy, help keep the Bay system in balance, and support a treasured way of life. Unfortunately, despite management efforts, blue crabs, menhaden, and oyster numbers remain low—in some cases alarmingly so.

Maryland should be a leader in restoring these and other depleted stocks.


DNR police on patrol. Courtesy MD Department of Natural Resources

Photo courtesy MD Department of Natural Resources

Maryland's exemplary environmental laws and prudent funding commitments are only effective if they are enforced. Without adequate staffing, funding, and rulemaking, agencies cannot keep up with the enforcement necessary to ensure a fair and effective restoration effort.

These actions will help achieve Maryland's commitments under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint by reducing the worst sources of pollution to local waters and the Bay. They will also help restore the oysters, blue crabs, and menhaden that are so important to our state economically and culturally.

Now is the time to begin asking our local and state leaders to take these actions—creating, putting into practice, and enforcing the policies needed to stop pollution and restore fisheries. Without such a commitment, we will never reach the the clean water future all Marylanders need and deserve.

Cover: Critical Actions Maryland's Governor and Elected Leaders Can Take to Help Save the BayDownload the Critical Actions guide (PDF)

MD Critical Actions Technical BackgrounderDownload the Technical Backgrounder (PDF)

(Click headlines below to expand)

How to Use the Critical Actions Guide and Webpages

  1. As you meet candidates for public office and elected officials, ask them specifically about these critical actions. Understand their positions on these important aspects of the Bay clean-up effort. Do their values align with yours on clean water?
     Check here to find your local candidates.
  2. Learn more about each of these critical actions. In the links above, you'll find basic background information about why these actions are needed and the benefits they will provide for clean local waters and a healthy Bay. If you want to go even deeper, we'll soon have a technical backgrounder available for download from this page.

What You Can Do to Help

  1. Share these critical actions to Save the Bay™ with your friends and family using the buttons below.

  2. Join CBF's efforts to build support for the clean-up of our local waters and the Bay. Sign up for our advocacy network, write a letter to your elected officials, and join us during the next legislature when important laws and regulations will be considered.

  3. Take a hands-on role in Bay and local watershed restoration. Volunteer with one of CBF's restoration programs by gardening oysters, planting trees, growing local food, or restoring wetlands. Come get wet and muddy with us! Check our event calendar for the latest opportunities.

  4. Do your part to reduce pollution. Reduce your nitrogen footprint and your energy and water use, clean up after pets, prevent runoff from lawns and property, buy local foods. There are dozens of small but important ways to reduce the pressure we put on our local air and watershed.
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