Former Chesapeake Bay Foundation Leader Receives Top Virginia Award

Recognition Highlights Career Dedicated to Environment

Peggy Sanner, former Virginia Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, received a top statewide environmental award for the pivotal role she played in building partnerships and advancing legislative and regulatory policy for a healthier environment for Virginians. 

“Peggy has made an indelible mark on the conservation of Virginia’s waterways and in shaping environmental laws, regulations, and policies,” Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Chris Moore said. “I was honored to work alongside her, and the team at Chesapeake Bay Foundation is thrilled to see her recognized with such a well-deserved award.”

On April 11, Virginia Military Institute representatives presented Sanner with the Capt. Ron Erchul Environmental Leadership Award, which recognizes a Virginian who has made significant individual efforts to improve the environment. 

Members of Virginia’s environmental community nominate candidates who are judged based on their vision, expertise, commitment, integrity, communication skills, accomplishments, and diplomacy. 

The award announcement came April 11 during the final day of the annual Environment Virginia Symposium, which drew hundreds of people from state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, higher education, the private sector, Indigenous people, and tribal representatives to discuss pressing environmental topics ranging from climate resilience to emerging contaminants. The award is named for the late VMI professor Ronald A. Erchul, Ph.D., founder of the Environment Virginia Symposium.

Sanner retired in August 2023 after a career focused on environmental law and policy. She spearheaded policy that led to the implementation of agricultural conservation practices such as fencing cattle out of streams to reduce waterway pollution, banning phosphorus from lawn fertilizer, establishing a comprehensive nutrient trading program, expanding tree cover, and transferring menhaden fishery management from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. 

Additionally, Sanner led collaborative efforts to ensure historic levels of funding for state clean-water programs to reduce pollution from wastewater, stormwater, and agriculture.

Sanner has also been a leading advocate in the development and maturation of Virginia’s clean water regulatory programs, including improving and protecting wetland preservation and mitigation policies, advocating for effective implementation and enforcement of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, and ensuring stormwater and erosion and sediment control programs are backed by the best available science. She regularly appeared before the State Water Control Board and worked with CBF’s Litigation department to prevent harmful projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Fones Cliff Development, as well as to hold Clean Water Act permittees accountable.

As a mentor for many legal and policy experts and peers during her time with CBF, Sanner lived out her vision and commitment to tomorrow’s environmental leaders and to clean water.

A member of the Virginia State Bar, Sanner has practiced before state and federal courts, agencies, and boards on key legal and policy issues. Before joining CBF in 2010, she litigated environmental and other matters in courts across the country.  

Sanner received her law degree from Rutgers University and holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College, respectively.  


Vanessa Remmers

Virginia Communications & Media Relations Manager, CBF

[email protected]

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

Stay Up-to-Date on Bay News

Want to stay up-to-date on all news and happenings in your region and across the Chesapeake watershed? Join our digital community.

Sign Up
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