(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today thanked Governor Corbett for recommitting the Commonwealth to the effort to restore Pennsylvania's rivers and streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. The agreement was signed today by the Chesapeake Bay Program's Executive Council, made up of the Bay state governors, the mayor of Washington, D.C., the EPA Administrator, and the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.
The agreement includes a continuing commitment to the Clean Water Blueprint, a science-based roadmap for restoring local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. It establishes a framework for improving the health of crabs, oysters, and other aquatic resources, and begins to tackle the difficult problems posed by toxics and global warming. It also contains a commitment to ensure that the education of today's students, tomorrow's leaders, will include not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but environmental literacy as well.
"This is a historic moment in time for the restoration of Pennsylvania's rivers and streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. The Clean Water Blueprint lays out a transparent roadmap for restoring local waters," said CBF President William C. Baker. "While this agreement is an important step, the next step—developing management strategies and making firm commitments on how to implement those strategies—is just as important, and the devil is always in the details."
"This has been a generational effort to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay. We've made tremendous progress from where we were to where we are," said Governor Tom Corbett. "On behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania, I'm proud to renew our commitment to continuing our efforts toward cleaner water and a healthier Bay for the benefit of our children and grandchildren."
"The investments to restore and protect our rivers and streams will benefit our economy, our health, and the legacy we leave for future generations," said Harry Campbell, CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director.
Retiring State Representative Ron Miller, current Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and Chair of Pennsylvania's Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has been a champion for clean water efforts in Pennsylvania.
"I am pleased to represent the Chesapeake Bay Commission on the Executive Council as we sign a new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement," Representative Miller said. "The signatories have accomplished much in reaching this agreement but we cannot implement this Agreement alone. We'll need the help of local governments, businesses and citizen groups to meet the Management Strategies of this important new document."
Also at today's meeting, four students, representing Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC, spoke on behalf of clean water.
Stephanie Detwiler, from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania represented Pennsylvania. She was first introduced to agricultural conservation practices on her grandparent's farm in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Building on those lessons in conservation, Stephanie joined the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Student Leadership Courses and saw the impact pollution has had on the island communities of the Eastern Shore, and also learned about environmental policy in Washington D.C.
Ms. Detwiler spoke eloquently about the importance of clean water, and her outdoor environmental education experiences.
"I was lucky enough to go to a school that has a creek on the property, and the highlight of my biology class was getting to go outside, catch insect larvae and small fishes, to determine the quality of the stream" Stephanie Detwiler said. "These outdoor learning experiences improved my understanding of the content I was learning in the classroom and overall made science meaningful because the science was hands-on."
A recent graduate of Hempfield High School in Lancaster County, Stephanie will be attending Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, and is planning to major in Biology.
"I believe that as more environmental subjects, such as the health of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, are addressed in the classroom, students will be more likely to engage in conservation outside of the classroom," concluded Detwiler.
CBF would like to thank the Bay state governors who signed this new commitment to the Chesapeake Bay and the student leaders for speaking on behalf of clean water. This momentous occasion marks a renewed commitment to regional and local collaboration, innovation, and leadership to improve water quality in Pennsylvania's rivers and streams.