Anglers for Clean Water

About ACW

Showing off his catch. Photo copyright Karine Aigner/iLCP
Photo © Karine Aigner/iLCP

Find out more about Anglers for Clean Water (ACW), a new project from CBF's Fisheries Program, and how you can get involved.

Keep the Bay on Track

Fisherman throwing net at sunset. Image by Nancy Loving
Photo by Nancy Loving

The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint means healthy habitat for aquatic life. Find out what the Blueprint is and why it's our last, best hope for real restoration.

Whose Fish Are They?

Spawning shad. Photo by Jay Fleming
Photo by Jay Fleming

Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Alaska, and 17 other states are backing Big Agriculture's efforts to derail Chesapeake Bay restoration.


Help save our fisheries for the next generation of anglers.   Join us today

"If sportsmen and environmentalists worked together, they would be invincible" ~Ted Williams, outdoors writer

Anglers for Clean Water (ACW) is a new project from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Fisheries Program. Our aim is to grow and strengthen the natural partnership between environmentalists and anglers by reaching out each month to established angling clubs across the Chesapeake Bay watershed to inspire, educate, equip, and mobilize them to be advocates for clean water. Find out more.


Screen capture: Main Slide - Restoring the "Coral Reefs" of the Chesapeake


Restoring the "Coral Reefs" of the Chesapeake

This slideshow tells the story of the Chesapeake Bay oyster reefs as experienced by English colonists four hundred years ago. Huge reefs that grew up from the bottom, shell built upon shell over thousands of years. These structures placed the oysters high in the water column where dissolved oxygen was plentiful and currents brought plentiful food. Each year we learn more about how to restore these essential elements in the Chesapeake ecosystem. The presentation closes with suggestions for how to get involved in oyster restoration and how to incorporate restoration reefs into your angling season.


Recreating the Chesapeake's Oyster Reefs

Around the Bay, in places like Virginia's Lafayette River and Maryland's Harris Creek, CBF and our partners are working to reestablish critical oyster reefs. A key element of this effort is placing large concrete reef balls, on which baby oyster "spat" are set, into areas designated as oyster sanctuaries.

On May 6, 2014, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation organized an expedition to investigate the Somerset Oyster Sanctuary restoration site in Tangier Sound, one of three sites designated by the Maryland General Assembly. What researchers discovered about the value of reef balls for oyster restoration was remarkable.

Fish and oysters. Photo by CBF Staff


Chesapeake Fish Love Live Bottom

Capts. Karl Willey and Dan Johannes smiled when they saw the sonar images. After all, they had planted most of those oysters. Their reef hosts a huge variety of critters, including anemones, marine worms, sponges, small crustaceans, and tiny fish. All which attract a variety of predators.

Blackwater Wildlife Refuge


The Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up the Chesapeake

This first-ever analysis released by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation finds that the economic benefits provided by nature in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will total $130 billion annually when the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is fully implemented.

A blue heron snags an evening snack. Photo by Kevin Moore


Saving America from a Clean Chesapeake

In the summer 2014 issue of Fly Rod & Reel Magazine, noted outdoor writer, Ted Williams, gives an excellent overview of the current efforts by the American Farm Bureau, 20 states' attorneys general, and others to stop the clean up of the Chesapeake Bay.  Read More

IMAGE CREDITS: (from top)The Pew Charitable Trusts, iStock, Jay Fleming/iLCP, The Herring Alliance,  VIMS, iStock,  Kevin Moore


Careful anglers think about the fish they keep and the fish they release. Angling is a recreational activity done for fun and sport. One key to maintaining healthy fish populations is making sure angling is done carefully, legally, and in a way that helps them thrive.

Fishing on Mattawoman Creek. Krista Schlyer/iLCP

The Zen of 'Careful Catch'

A little TFC (tender fish-handling care) goes a long way toward preserving all species for future anglers. In this Angler's Almanac article, John Page Williams urges, "Let's Be Careful Out There."


Tools and tackle for practicing "careful catch" technique

Planning Ahead

One key to careful angling is planning ahead. Before putting a line in the water, decide what you will keep for trophy or dinner. Have all the tools and tackle necessary for properly releasing fish.


This fish-eye view of an angler shows a rarely seen perspective from underwater grass beds at Havre de Grace, Maryland.  Photo by Octavio Aburto/iLCP

Catch and Release

Catch-and-release fishing can be an effective way to conserve fish if certain precautions are taken. Check out these tips and tools.

Read More

A northern puffer fish, picked out of crab nets, expands just before it is released back into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay at Tangier Sound, Maryland. Photo by Karine Aigner/iLCP

Take the Anglers' Pledge

As recreational anglers, we know about tides and currents, bottom characteristics, and the best conditions of both for catching fish. We also know that pollution, loss of habitat, and overfishing reduce the numbers and health of the fish in our waterways. Show your stewardship of our waterways and fisheries-take the Anglers' Pledge.


Photo credits: (from top) Krista Schlyer/iLCP, CBF Staff, Octavio Aburto/iLCP, Karin Aigner/iLCP


Algal bloom encroaching on a waterfront home. Photo by Andrea Moran/CBF Staff Pollution

What causes water pollution? What does water pollution cause? From polluted runoff from land to dead zones and algal blooms in our waters, everything has consequences.  Learn more

MenhadenForage Fish

They are the little fish that big fish eat and they are facing their own challenges. Learn More

Oyster reef ball and fish. Photo c Michael EversmierHabitat

To Come   Habitat lost. Habitat restored. Take a look at how land use is compromising marine habitat and how efforts such as oyster restoration are bringing habitat back. 

A northern puffer fish, picked out of crab nets, expands just before it is released back into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay at Tangier Sound, Maryland. Photo by Karine Aigner/iLCPMaking Progress

To Come    Is it all bad news or are we making strides with the Clean Water Blueprint? 

Lesions on a smallmouth bass. Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission/C. Yamashita  Health

To Come    Water quality impacts both marine life and human life. What health issues do we all face and what can we do about them?

Photo credits: (from top) CBF Staff, CBF Staff, ©Michael Eversmier, ©Karine Aigner/iLCP, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission/C. Yamashita 

Find out what other issues are affecting the health of the Bay.



  1. Abide by fishery regulations.
    Overfishing reduces next year's catch and disrupts the Bay's food web.
  2. Carefully release unwanted fish.
    Undersized and unwanted fish must be conserved to maintain healthy fisheries.
  3. Dispose of old fishing gear on shore.
    Fishing line and nets discarded overboard entangle and kill marine life
  4. Collect all trash for disposal on shore.
    Trash cans should be standard gear. We must not treat our waters like a dump.
  5. Keep oil and gas out of the water.
    Oil and gas are toxic to fish. Be careful when filling tanks asnd changing oil.
  6. Contain human waste for on-shore disposal.
    Pollution from human waste reduces water quality and closes areas to fishing.
  7. Use antifouling paints with care.
    These and other paints and solvents are very toxic to marine life.
  8. Prevent cleaners from washing overboard.
    Even common cleaning products cause pollution.
  9. Save old antifreeze for on-shore disposal.
    Antifreeze can be very toxic to fish.
  10. Avoid boat speeds that cause large wakes.
    Boat wakes contribute to shoreline erosion and the loss of seagrass beds.

Click here to take the Angler's Pledge



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