What We Do to Protect the Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. Encompassing six states and the District of Columbia, and covering more than 64,000 square miles, it is one of the most productive estuaries in the world.
Unfortunately, the Chesapeake Bay faces serious problems due to human activities, including excess nutrient runoff, deforestation, over-fishing, wetland destruction from agricultural, urban, and suburban development, invasive species such as nutria and mute swans, and global climate change.
Choose Clean Water Chesapeake Bay Coalition
As the co-chair and fiscal agent of the 160-organization coalition Choose Clean Water - Chesapeake Bay Coalition, NWF is spearheading the charge to:
Educate and engage citizens throughout the watershed - 17 million people live in communities whose waters flow into the Chesapeake Bay. NWF and its partners want to further educate these families on the choices they make in their home and alert them to the fact that their decisions affect all the communities who live downstream.
Ensure local implementation of state Watershed Implementation Plans– We will work to ensure the cleanup plan for each state is implemented, meets the requirements of the pollution limit for the Chesapeake Bay (TMDL) and protects streams throughout the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay region. The Coalition will work in all six states and the District of Columbia to assist local governments in developing strong plans to meet the challenge of the Bay TMDL.
Improve policies that stop polluted runoff in cities and towns - Polluted stormwater runoff is the only significant source of nutrient and sediment pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that is growing. A revised national stormwater rule will set one standard for the country. The Chesapeake community has much to gain by advocating for better protections, and opportunities for linking smart growth to better stormwater management.
Protect communities from water pollution created by gas drilling- Rapid development of the industry in states across the region has overwhelmed communities with negative impacts of “hydrofracking”: drinking water contamination, spills of chemical wastewater, industrialization of rural farm and forest lands and destruction of local streams and groundwater. Working with Coalition members in the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we will share critical information about where hydrofracking and legacy mining impacts are occurring and best practices to test water quality, and champion federal policies that increase transparency and accountability for polluters.
Ensure continued federal investment in Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration and protection- Since 1983 the Chesapeake Bay has been a priority of the White House and the U.S. Congress, yielding critical federal appropriations for protection and restoration of the rivers and streams that flow into its waters. We will continue to advocate for these federal dollars that are matched with local and state dollars for on-the-ground work to protect water resources. Specifically, we will demand that there are no rollbacks in funding and regulations at the time when they are needed most. This includes critical transportation and farm bill funding.
A membership list and more information about the Coalition can be found at www.choosecleanwater.org.