The fifth annual event will be held June 6-14, 2020
The fifth annual Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week will take place June 6-14, 2020. While this week has been officially designated in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, we will be celebrating rivers throughout the entire watershed to raise awareness about this valuable economic and environmental resource—a national treasure that directly connects over 18 million residents.
“Now more than ever, nature is providing all of us with a much-needed respite. Those who reside in the Chesapeake watershed are fortunate to have a wide variety of conserved lands and scenic waters at their disposal, thanks in large part to the efforts of our partnership to protect lands and increase public access to the Bay and its tributaries. Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week gives us the opportunity to learn more about our local waterways, appreciate the services they provide and remember that we all have a role in their protection.”Dana Aunkst, Director, Chesapeake Bay Program, Environmental Protection Agency
Typically, Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week is marked by a wide variety of events spanning the Bay’s 64,000 square-mile watershed. This year’s celebration will look a bit different, as watershed residents continue to socially distance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite not being able to gather together, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy and celebrate the Chesapeake region.
One of the Bay’s iconic annual events will still occur this year: Senator Bernie Fowler’s Patuxent River Wade-in. Join in virtually as former Senator Bernie Fowler wades into the Patuxent River during the 33rd anniversary of this event to check water quality on June 14, 2020. The event will be broadcast live from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum’s Facebook page. For more virtual events throughout the week, visit the Chesapeake Bay Program’s calendar.
In 2016, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative commission that advises members of the general assemblies of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia on matters of Bay-wide concern, championed the idea of designating a week in June as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. The designation encourages all who reside in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia to commemorate Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week with events, activities and educational programs to acknowledge the significance of the Chesapeake Bay.
“This is a critical time for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week is a time for all of us to examine our role in restoring water quality in local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay. Whether it is planting native plants in your yard, reducing energy use or volunteering in efforts to reduce pollution, take a moment this week to commit to doing your part to save the Bay.”Beth McGee, Director of Science and Agricultural Policy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
In addition, many local governments in the region choose to officially proclaim and celebrate Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. There are nearly 1,800 local governments in the Bay watershed, including towns, cities, counties and townships, and much of the important work to protect and restore the Bay and its tributaries happens at the local level.
This year’s theme highlights the many creeks, rivers and streams that thread through the Chesapeake Bay region. These tributaries send fresh water into the Bay, offer vital habitat to aquatic plants and animals and provide people with public access points where they can fish, boat and swim. Various agencies and organizations throughout the watershed will celebrate the Bay’s major tributaries, including the Potomac, James, Rappahannock, York, Patuxent and Susquehanna Rivers, as well as the rivers of the Bay’s Eastern and Western Shores, throughout the week.
Valued for its commercial and recreational value, the Chesapeake Bay is the nation’s largest estuary, whose 64,000 square mile watershed includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and West Virginia.
“From local streams to the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers to the Chesapeake Bay, we have a large, interconnected system that provides us with incredible environmental, economic and recreational benefits. We know that the best way to care for and revitalize a system like this is through a balanced approach that improves the entire system.”Jon Stehle, Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Policy Committee Chair, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Councilmember, City of Fairfax, Virginia