With the turning of the calendar to a new year comes new Legislative Sessions in two of the main Bay states--Maryland and Virginia. The outcomes of Maryland's 90-day session and Virginia's 60-day session will have a major impact on the Chesapeake Bay and each state's rivers and streams. Here at CBF, with the support of our members, we have several important priorities to advance.
In Maryland, CBF's top priority will be asking legislators to make big chicken corporations responsible for the excess manure their chickens produce. These corporations making big profits need to do their part to clean up the excess manure--instead of leaving small local farmers and Maryland taxpayers holding the (poop) bag. Some of our other priorities include working to ban plastic bags at retail stores, stopping unfair raids on funds for environmental programs that support the Clean Water Blueprint, and supporting efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Click here for a complete Maryland Legislative Session preview.
In Virginia, many of our priorities involve ensuring there is proper funding in place to implement best management practices to reduce pollution. These include supporting state funding for conservation practices to reduce pollution from farms, and increasing funding for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund. In addition to funding efforts, some of our other priorities include moving menhaden management from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, supporting upgrades at wastewater treatment plants, and advancing oyster restoration and expanding sustainable oyster harvests. Click here for a complete Virginia Legislative Session preview.
Not to be forgotten, while Pennsylvania's Legislature meets on a year-round cycle, we are still hard at work fighting for clean water in the Keystone State. Our top current priority is pushing for the promised "reboot" of water quality efforts which will accelerate pollution reductions to the level that will get Pennsylvania back on track. Other efforts include working with farmers to reduce pollution, advocating for adequate funding for restoration efforts, and pushing for the Lower Susquehanna River to be listed as impaired.
No matter where you live in the watershed, we'll need your support for the elected leaders of your state to uphold their commitment to clean water in the Bay and local waterways. Stay tuned for important updates and calls to action in the coming weeks.
This Week in the Watershed: Legislative Sessions, Oyster Uproar, and Coal Ash
- Despite uproar from hundreds of local citizens, Virginia's State Water Control Board approved permits for Dominion Virginia Power to dump drain water from coal ash ponds into the James and Potomac Rivers. (Roanoke Times--VA)
- There is still major concern among the environmental community regarding the decision by the Hogan Administration to delay oyster restoration efforts on the Tred Avon River. (Baltimore Sun--MD) Bonus: Bay Journal recap of the Tred Avon oyster restoration delay.
- Menhaden will be a central topic in the upcoming Virginia Legislative Session, along with several other environmental issues. (Virginian-Pilot--VA)
- Nutrient trading is a new concept in the world of Maryland agriculture. Time will tell how effective it is in reducing pollution. (Star Democrat--MD)
- With the Maryland Legislative Session now upon us, what's on the wish list of several environmental organizations? (Star Democrat--MD)
What's Happening Around the Watershed?
- College Park, MD: Join Future Harvest CASA for their 17th annual Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed conference. One of the region's largest farm and food gatherings, you'll be able to experience seven different conference tracks, interact with other farmers and food lovers, and enjoy local fare. Click here to register!
January 16-February 6
- Across Virginia: Help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's rivers by participating in CBF's Grasses for the Masses program. Participants grow wild celery, a type of underwater grass, in their homes for 10-12 weeks. After 10-12 weeks of growing, participants will gather to plant their grasses in select local rivers to bolster grass populations and help restore the Bay. Workshops are being held throughout Virginia.
--Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate