(HARRISBURG)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has named Molly Cheatum as its Pennsylvania Watershed Restoration Program Manager.
"We're excited to have Molly leading our efforts to develop diverse and pioneering approaches for accelerating our efforts to restore Pennsylvania's rivers and streams," said CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. "Her management experience and background of working with farmers will serve her well in guiding our team of restoration specialists and helping farmers and landowners to put pollution reduction measures on the ground."
As Watershed Restoration Program Manager, Cheatum will manage CBF's restoration field staff in Pennsylvania, collaborate with stakeholders, and develop and provide overall management of restoration projects that reduce pollution to Commonwealth waterways and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.
Cheatum, a native of the Wyoming Valley area in northeast Pennsylvania, will work closely with field staff to oversee the implementation of streamside buffers and other key restoration practices, seek new and cost-effective approaches, and monitor grants for maximum return.
"I look forward to getting to know the folks in the field who are working with farmers and private landowners and to learn about their needs, business successes, and restoration efforts. It's a myriad of perspectives and each one is valid," Cheatum said. "Ultimately, we all have the same goals of building healthy communities that have clean water, healthy soils, and good food. I look forward to helping reach those goals."
Pennsylvania is significantly off-track in meeting its Clean Water Blueprint commitments. Roughly 19,000 miles of Commonwealth rivers and streams are harmed by pollution. Planting trees, the most-cost effective approach to reducing polluted runoff, is an important part of CBF's strategy in Pennsylvania and across the Bay watershed.
The Blueprint includes science-based limits on the pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams as established by the Environmental Protection Agency. For the Blueprint, states developed their own plans to achieve those limits and committed to two-year milestones that outline the actions they will take to achieve success.
According to the Blueprint, the Commonwealth is to have 60 percent of pollution reduction practices in place by 2017 and 100 percent by 2025. Pennsylvania has acknowledged that it will not meet its 2017 benchmark.
Cheatum has a decade of experience working on issues of agricultural sustainability, conservation, and climate change, along with rural community development initiatives, interdisciplinary research, and project monitoring, evaluation, and management.
For four years she led a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting rural small farmers in Malawi, southeastern Africa. At World Vision and Mercy Corps she developed guidelines on how to improve the management of agriculture demonstration sites and strengthening seed supply systems in global food security programs.
Cheatum received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from the University of Mary Washington and dual master's degrees in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from American University.