Anglers for Clean Water

A proud fisherman shows his catch. Photo copyright Karine Aigner/iLCPPhoto © Karine Aigner/iLCP

A Project from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Fisheries Program

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

Chesapeake fish need clean water and a healthy habitat. Restoring and sustaining the Chesapeake region's fish stocks are as much about improving water quality and fish habitat as they are about fishery management. But there is all too often a disconnect between the Bay's angling and environmental communities, and sometimes they even work at cross-purposes. Could they join forces?

We believe they can.

"Whenever sportsmen combine with environmentalists, you have 60 to 70 percent of the population, an absolutely irresistible coalition," said noted hook-and-bullet outdoor writer Ted Williams. In the Chesapeake, there is definite interest in building that natural partnership.

How Anglers for Clean Water  Works

CBF's Anglers for Clean Water (ACW) program aims to grow and strengthen that partnership 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. CBF's ACW team members—Chris Moore and John Page Williams—are both hard-core anglers. Periodically they will assemble a package of three-to-four stories about fish habitat and clean water that clubs can share with their members and post on their websites.

Some of the stories will be good news, others not so nice. Either way, the stories will shoot straight about the science, and in many cases, they'll offer Bay-area anglers opportunities to get involved in hands-on projects such as oyster reef restoration and stream buffer planting. From time to time, we'll also ask them to weigh in on specific issues like addressing polluted runoff from urban and suburban areas. Sometimes, the stories will offer tips that can help improve club members' fishing experiences. After all, the more anglers learn about how the Chesapeake and its tributaries "work," the more they will grow in understanding the behavior of the fish they seek through the seasons.

Making Things Happen

Things never happen as fast as we would like, especially reversing a century-long decline in a large ecosystem like the Chesapeake's. We've been at this Bay-cleanup business for over thirty years. During that time, the human population in the Chesapeake watershed has grown from twelve to eighteen million. Want to guess how that growth has affected livestock numbers, or acres of forests and fields cleared for pavement, concrete, and rooftops, or cars on the roads?

But we have the best ecosystem science on Earth telling us where we are now and what more we need to accomplish. The news is good: we're halfway there, and the Clean Water Blueprint is designed with two-year milestones to make sure we get there by 2025. Now imagine how much good might come if anglers and environmentalists joined forces to advance the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and the improved fish habitat that will come from it.

Want to learn more and join in? Well, here we go…

  1. Start Here: What is the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint?
  2. Then check out the other links on the Clean Water Blueprint page, especially the interactive map at Clean Water Works! You'll note multiple projects and success stories related to fish habitat.
  3. Finally, check out "Give Something Back to the Chesapeake," a guide to helping create more clean water success stories and creating better fish habitat in the Chesapeake and its rivers.

Oh, and if your organization isn't already part of Anglers for Clean Water, sign up today!

Four Ways You Can Help

Helping to restore the Bay's health doesn't require us to be scientists but instead, active citizens. Restoring habitat such as oyster reefs and reducing pollution in the water around them are absolutely essential to healthy stocks of fish and crabs. Here are four ways anglers can respond actively to those challenges:

  1. Reducing your personal impact on the Chesapeake ecosystem by becoming as "green" as possible in the ways we live our lives and run our boats. Anglers for Clean Water will offer suggestions on both from time to time.
  2. "Giving something back" to the Bay and its tributaries by participating in well-organized, hands-on restoration projects. Most monthly Anglers for Clean Water e-mailings will include regional volunteer opportunities.
  3. Supporting the big Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint solutions, such as improving wastewater treatment and reducing pollution in urban/suburban rainwater runoff. This category includes looking for political solutions, supporting legislation, making sure that government programs operate effectively, and, yes, paying taxes to keep them going. Again, ACW will offer information and opportunities to weigh in.
  4. Making a donation to help CBF maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come. Every donation makes an impact. Did you know:
    • $25 can plant five native trees for a streamside buffer.
    • $50 can grow 5,000 native oysters.
    • $500 can send seven students for a day of learning in and around the Bay.

Click here to donate now!


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