Visions for Clean Water: Chesapeake Bay Watershed Advocacy Day 2022

by Jenna Dodson, staff scientist

In early March, West Virginia Rivers connected water advocates with West Virginia’s members of Congress as part of a regional day of advocacy for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Many people don’t realize that the headwaters of the Bay’s two largest rivers, the Potomac and James, are located in West Virginia.

That’s why as part of WV Rivers clean water mission, we serve the state lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition, a regional collective of partners working to improve water quality in the Bay watershed.

One of the exciting aspects of our Chesapeake Bay advocacy is the variety of partner organization we get to work with. In fact, 12 separate organizations in West Virginia were part of the “Bay Day” meetings.

Partners meet with Emma Bryan and Katie Roberts, two of Senator Manchin’s staff members.

During Bay Day, we met with the offices of all four of West Virginia’s Congressional members. Folks were able to share success stories and describe their future visions for the Bay. All while highlighting the critical need for federal programs and funding.

I wanted to take a moment and highlight a few of the success stories shared.

Sleepy Creek Watershed Association and their local partners received a half million dollar grant from the Chesapeake Bay Program for stream restoration projects. So far, they have been able to keep 82 tons of mud out of the creek each year. That’s about four loaded coach buses!

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society has received funding from the Bay Watershed Education and Training program to provide free interactive watershed programming to fourth graders in Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan counties.

Canaan Valley Institute, Downstream Strategies, Blue Ridge Community College and Berkeley County are collaborating to create an “outdoor classroom” for college students to gain hands-on experience with green infrastructure projects, a growing employment sector.

Partners meet with Max Pedrotti, a member of Rep. Miller’s staff.

The stories shared during Bay Day demonstrated the power of relationship building, between organizations and with decision-makers. Want to learn more, send me an email!

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