Save the Bay News: Environmental Rights, Wetland Fights, and Clean Water

Wetlands - Bill Portlock - 1171x593

Bill Portlock

Our monthly roundup of engaging and educational content. This month we look at a legislation model to advance clean water protections and climate action, the federal Clean Water Act, and a pivotal Supreme Court case that could jeopardize wetlands.

'For clean streams and clean politics,' was Franklin L. Kury's campaign slogan in 1966, when he first ran for a seat in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He went on to author the state constitution's Environmental Rights Amendment, which gives all Pennsylvanians the explicit right to clean air and water. The amendment was the first of its kind in the nation and remains rare among state constitutions today—it also predated the federal Clean Water Act passed 50 years ago this month, in 1972. Kury discussed with us the amendment's genesis, how it can be used today to advance clean water protections and climate action in Pennsylvania, and how it could be a model for the country. On the anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act, we take a look at the law's impact in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, detail what states need to do to meet restoration commitments in our latest State of the Blueprint report, and share a message from CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk on the path forward. We also profile CBF's first biologist, Nancy Kelly, whose work in the 1970s and beyond helped shape protections for the watershed's streams and wetlands and provide an update on a pivotal Supreme Court case that could jeopardize wetlands. Check out our monthly news round-up for other big headlines.

Cypress trees and the bow of a canoe can be seen on serene river.

State of the Blueprint

Our latest State of the Blueprint report asks one question: Are the Bay states on track to reduce pollution by the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint's 2025 deadline? Based on our assessment, the answer collectively is 'no.' Check out the report to see where things stand now and how restoration can get back on track.

VIDEO: Clean Water Act at 50

When Congress enacted the Clean Water Act over President Nixon's veto in 1972, the Chesapeake Bay was suffering from significant pollution problems. Now, 50 years later, we discuss the impact of this landmark federal law on the Bay's water quality. We also take a look at what work is still left to do.

Group of people pick up trash along the banks of a river.

Volunteers pick up trash along the James River in Richmond, Virginia as part of the annual Clean the Bay Day.

Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff

Clean Water's Future

The Clean Water Act is just the start—the restoration of the nation's rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters remains an ongoing project. CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk discusses how collective action is making a difference for Bay restoration and why this moment—despite its significant challenges—is cause for optimism.

Business portrait of a man in a jacket and tie.

Franklin Kury

Pennsylvania's Uncommon Rights

Franklin L. Kury was elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1966 and went on to author the state constitution's Environmental Rights Amendment, ratified in 1971. He reflects on how the amendment, still rare today, can be used to drive protections for Pennsylvania's water, air, and climate (and why the nation should follow its example).

A pink and blue sky reflects off the water at the edge of one of the Bay's many wetlands.

Wetlands are a critical component to the protection and restoration of the Bay.

David Nyweide

Wetlands are Waters, Too

An upcoming Supreme Court decision could determine the fate of thousands of acres of wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We're closely watching the case, Sackett v. EPA, which had oral arguments Oct. 3. Its outcome has significant implications for the protection of unique, isolated freshwater wetlands called Delmarva bays and pocosins, as well as certain streams.

Woman with water and a town in the background.

Nancy Kelly was CBF's first staff biologist and has spent decades conducting water-quality studies, establishing important legal precedents, and laying the groundwork for a future of clean water.

Christine Edward

Speaking for the Streams

Nancy Kelly was CBF's first biologist in the 1970s—right when the Clean Water Act ushered in a new era for environmental protections. Throughout her career at CBF and beyond, she conducted water quality studies, mapped wetlands, and served as an expert witness in hearings that helped shape protections for the watershed. She's still at it.

VIDEO: Around the Bay in 60 Seconds

In this month's news roundup: A film links the plight of the hellbender, Pennsylvania's state amphibian, with concerns over gas development; a settlement agreement should stop long-term pollution related to the Eastern Shore poultry processing facility Valley Proteins; CBF staff get accolades for work planting forest buffers in the upper James River watershed; and more.

A Jack O'Lantern with a blue crab carved out of it.

The blue crab ChesO'Lantern.

What You Can Do

  • Have a Chesapeake-style Halloween! Use our free Bay-themed pumpkin stencils to carve your very own ches-o'-lantern.
  • It's National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Protect what matters most and establish a meaningful legacy by using FreeWill's free online resource to create your will today.
  • Legislative sessions for 2023 will be kicking off before you know, and things move quickly. Stay up-to-date on all things related to Bay advocacy by joining our SMS alert network.
  • Sign up for our monthly Save the Bay e-newsletter.
  • Help us continue to bring the Bay and its rivers and streams to you each month. Donate today.

Issues in this Post

About CBF   Climate Change   Restoration   Water Quality   Wetlands Protection  


The views and opinions expressed in the media or articles on this site are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by CBF and the inclusion of such information does not imply endorsement by CBF. CBF is not responsible for the contents of any linked Website, or any link contained in a linked Website, or any changes or updates to such Websites. The inclusion of any link is provided only for information purposes.

The Bay Needs You

The State of the Bay Report makes it clear that the Bay needs our support now more than ever. Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today


Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or advocating for a clean Bay, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

This website uses cookies to tailor and enhance your online experience. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, including details on how to disable cookies, please visit our Privacy Policy. Close