Understanding How State Environmental Rights Amendments May Help Protect the Bay

Understanding How State Environmental Rights Amendments May Help Protect the Bay

Environmental rights provisions in state constitutions have previously provided few advocacy tools to protect the Chesapeake Bay. A recent Pennsylvania court case has significantly expanded the scope of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment and will likely have far reaching impacts on environmental protection. Pennsylvania’s state government now has a clear constitutional mandate to act to protect the environment. Environmental groups will also potentially have new tools to further water quality protection. This presentation will review Bay state’s environmental rights amendments and explore what the recent Pennsylvania court decision means for preserving and protecting environmental resources in Pennsylvania and throughout the watershed.

Register here.

Webinar: (Farm) Land for Water: Stories of success from Chesapeake land trusts

(Farm) Land for Water: Stories of success from Chesapeake land trusts

What is the most important asset in improving and protecting water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed? Many people would answer: land. More specifically, people who can work effectively with landowners to achieve better land management, access to more land, less land conversion, and more acres protected for all sectors, especially and including agriculture.

Join us for a webinar series featuring projects you may not yet know – but should! Land trusts, working with farmers, are doing some of most strategic, practical, and effective projects to improve and restore water quality on farmed lands in the Bay watershed. Join us to learn what they’re doing, where they’re doing it, what these projects have in common, why they’re successful, and how we as a coalition can do more and support more of it.

Each of these webinars will feature two case studies and leave lots of time for questions and discussion.

Thursday, April 5, 1:00-2:00 pm: Register Here

Honey Brook and Beyond (Brandywine Conservancy)

Working with farmers to both protect land and improve management practices, Brandywine has found this dual approach is mutually supportive: preservation leads to restoration and vice versa. Years of work in Honey Brook Township--a predominately Amish and Mennonite community of working farms in the headwaters of the Brandywine Creek—have yielded exceptional results in this neighboring watershed in the Delaware. This has yielded a replicable model about to be imported into the Chesapeake, coupling farmland protection and best management practices to deliver drinking water protection and Clean Water Act compliance.


Trifecta!: Saving Land, Water, and…Ice Cream (ClearWater Conservancy)

How do you protect local drinking water and a beloved community ag institution while (gulp) raising more money than you ever thought you could? Clear Water Conservancy’s Slab Cabin Run Initiative combines community conservation, municipal engagement, creative deal-making and a bold leap of faith to plant a flag for local water quality on farm land in a critical watershed—all while saving ice cream.


Thursday, May 3, 1:00 -2:00 pm:

Conservation TKO: How to Punch Above Your Weight (Cecil Land Trust)

Think you need a big staff and budget to pull off big projects? Think again.

With the right partners, land trusts with smart, creative leadership, deep and trusting local roots, and a lot of passion can really punch above their weight in the water quality world. More than 20 years ago, Cecil Land Trust punched above its weight in successfully protecting Garrett Island, the sentinel of the Susquehanna Valley. More recently, leveraging the right relationships in the right places, Cecil Land Trust found the right partners and funding to help restore streams draining thousands of acres of farm and forest land in Little Elk and North East Creeks in Cecil County.…all while still hiring its first ED.


What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the…Water (Piedmont Environmental Council)

Ever wonder how we’re going to truly restore clean water? One land trust has an answer: Relentless. Incrementalism. That is, the simple principle of stick-to-it-ive-ness. (Ok, admit it: it’s sexier than it seems at first). Learn how a sustained effort in Virginia’s Goose Creek watershed, evolved strategically and responsively over years, has become increasingly savvy about protecting and restoring water—and how it has achieved a staggering amount of success, with more on the horizon.


Registration is free, but required. (Registration details here). For questions or more information, contact Jennifer Miller Herzog, jmillerherzog@lta.org.


This webinar series is hosted by Choose Clean Water Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Land and Water Initiative, a partnership of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network and the Land Trust Alliance.


About the presenters


Thursday, April 5:


Grant DeCosta – Senior Planner for Land Conservation, Brandywine Conservancy

Mr. DeCosta consults with landowners and farmland operators to develop and implement NRCS-level Conservation Plans and BMPs to ensure regulatory compliance and landowner conservation objectives.  He also assists the Conservancy’s Land Conservation, Land Stewardship, and Municipal Assistance Programs with land preservation, municipal stormwater management, and property resource assessments.  He holds a B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech and is certified to write USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service approved Conservation Plans.


Deb Nardone – Executive Director, ClearWater Conservancy

Deborah Nardone is the Executive Director at ClearWater Conservancy based in State College, Pennsylvania. She has primary strategic and operational responsibility to carry out ClearWater’s mission and lead the staff, volunteers, and friends of the organization in support of that mission. She is also the lead fundraiser and represents the organization to the community at large. Deb has 20+ years of broad experience in the field of natural conservation with local, state and national organizations including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area, Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, and the Sierra Club.


Thursday, May 3:


Bill Kilby – Board President, Cecil Land Trust

A life-long dairy farmer, Bill Kilby has been involved for more than 20 years in land and water conservation with Cecil Land Trust and the Cecil Conservation Partnership. In recent years, Kilby Farms has formed a partnership with a neighboring private school to promote land and water conservation and farm-to-table food use, and STEM/outdoor/environmental educational activities. In 2017, Bill’s leadership and innovation, and commitment to community partnerships and education garnered him the fifteenth annual Aileen Hughes Award for conservation excellence—an award given by Maryland Environmental Trust to recognize exceptional contributions of leaders in the Maryland land trust community.

Mike Kane – Director of Conservation, Piedmont Environmental Council

Mike became Conservation Director of PEC in 2015 after 10 years of service as PEC’s Land Conservation Representative for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier counties. Mike has been intimately involved in conservation work in the Goose Creek watershed since 2005, having worked with Goose Creek landowners to facilitate numerous easements, as well as development and implementation of a land restoration plan in the watershed that includes stream exclusion fencing and rotational grazing at a working livestock farm. Mike has more than 15 years of experience working with landowners, local jurisdictions, State and Federal agencies, and other allied organizations to foster the conservation of rural lands and promote vibrant rural economies in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mike's professional experience includes working as the Program Manager of the Loudoun County Purchase of Development Rights Program (2001-2004), and the Coordinator of the Bucks County (PA) Open Space Program (1997-2000).

Lobby Day Registration

Registration is now OPEN for the 6th Annual Chesapeake Bay Day on Capitol Hill, which will take place Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

To register, click here.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, each year the Coalition organizes a day for our members to meet with their members of Congress. This gives you an opportunity to speak up for Bay funding and other issues impacting your watershed, state, and the Chesapeake Bay. Last year we had over 100 members join us for 37 congressional meetings – Let’s do more this year!

The day will get started with a 9 a.m. welcome and orientation in the cafeteria in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building. Meetings with members of Congress and staff will begin at 10 a.m. and end by 4:30 p.m.

There will be a lunch briefing where we will be joined by members of Congress from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in 2044 Rayburn House Office Building. Lunch will be provided to registered participants.

When you register, you will be asked which members of Congress/staff you would like to meet. Some meetings will be popular, especially Senate meetings, so please understand if only one staff person from an organization can attend certain meetings and/or you do not get assigned all of the meetings your sign up for.

Prior to the Bay Day on the Hill, the Coalition will host three webinars to review lobbying tips and our legislative requests.

For folks who are interested in learning more about the rules of lobbying for 501c3s, the difference between advocacy and lobbying, and what it means for your organization to participate in lobbying, click here

On Monday, March 12 at 1 p.m. and Friday, March 16 at 10 a.m. the Coalition will host informational webinars on day of logistics for those who have registered. Please mark your calendars to attend one. 

March 12 – https://web.telspan.com/go/ccwc/lobbyday20181

March 16 - https://web.telspan.com/go/ccwc/lobbyday20182
Call-in: 1-800-944-8766 Pin: 74389

If you have any questions about whether your organization based on its filing status is allowed to/able to participate in Lobby Day, please contact Peter Marx.

Thanks and see you on March 21!

Lobby Day Sign On Letters

House Interior Appropriations
House Agriculture Appropriations
NOAA Appropriations

Are you concerned about the Trump Administration’s proposed 90 percent cut in funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration? How about the Administration’s assault on science and environmental protection across the board? Well, if you are, here is a chance to do something about it. The threat to all of the progress that has been made for clean water in our region has never been greater than it is now.

Attached are the Coalition’s annual Congressional Appropriation Request Letters - which are mostly requesting level funding for conservation programs that have been successful in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

The Interior Appropriations letter is requesting that Congress retain the $73 million funding level for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program as well as the funding level for the Chesapeake Stewardship Grants (aka NFWF grant programs), the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey programs in the Bay watershed as well as some key land acquisitions under the Land and Water Conservation Fund..

The Agriculture Appropriations letter asks for full funding for Farm Bill conservation programs, and calls out the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program as two key conservation programs for our region. 

The Commerce, Justice, Science letter focuses on restoring funding for specific programs run by NOAA in the Chesapeake Bay region. The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office has seen its funding eroded rapidly over the years and we are seeking to restore the traditional funding and work they do on oyster restoration in the Bay, the B-WET environmental education program throughout the Bay watershed and fisheries science and management in the Bay. 

We have attached the House version of the three appropriation letters - identical versions of these three letters will also be sent to the Senate appropriations subcommittees.

These letters will also form the basis of our “legislative asks” for Lobby Day on March 21, and we urge all Coalition members to sign ALL of these letters, even if you don’t work on all of the specific issues involved. This is where the Coalition can really make a difference in Washington and we are at our best when we speak loudly with one voice - the more groups that sign these letters means the louder our voice is.

Please email Peter Marx, peter@choosecleanwater.org, to sign your organization on to this letter (we just need the name of your organization) by COB on Monday, March 12. Also, feel free to email or call me with any specific questions. Thank you.