Bernie Fowler Jr. posted on his Facebook on Sunday, December 12, 2021, that his father, Bernie Fowler passed away on Sunday morning:
“At 4:20 this morning Dad 97 went home to be with the Lord and reunite with our Mom. He has so dearly missed the love of his life of 69 years and I know their smiling and rejoicing again today in paradise.”
Clyde Bernard Fowler (March 30, 1924 – December 12, 2021) was an American politician from Maryland. He was a Calvert County Commissioner from 1970 to 1982, and served on the Maryland Senate between 1983 and 1994. Fowler is best known for his advocacy for the cleanup of the Patuxent River, the largest river to be found entirely within the State of Maryland.
Prior to being elected to public office, Fowler was an avid fisherman who would wade into the Patuxent River and make note of the clarity of the water. After noticing the clarity of the water slowly diminishing, Fowler chose to run for Calvert County Commissioner in 1970 and make the health of the Patuxent River a key issue. After serving over a decade as county commissioner, Fowler was elected to the Maryland Senate, where he remained until his retirement from public office in the mid-1990s.
Fowler, as an early-1970s Calvert County Commissioner, led the way in a lawsuit filed by downriver Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s counties against upriver counties. The lawsuit forced the state, the upriver counties, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enact pollution control measures. The 1985 total of 200,000 tons of sediment reaching the Chesapeake Bay annually was reduced to 130,000 by 2004. The Patuxent River is a rarity among Chesapeake watersheds in that most of its harmful phosphorus and nitrogen nutrient overloads come from its ever-increasing areas of urban runoff, and less from its other two largest contributors, point sources (industrial, sewage, etc.) and the declining agricultural areas.
Each June at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, Fowler held a “wade-in” into the Patuxent River at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, where he and others would walk into the waters of the Patuxent River until their feet were no longer visible. The event was previously held at Broomes Island but was institutionalized at JPPM in 2010. Fowler did the annual tradition in order to bring awareness to the water clarity levels of the Patuxent River. In recent years, the “wade-in” has become a noteworthy public event, with numerous public officials joining Fowler in the walk, including Maryland Governors Martin O’Malley and Robert Ehrlich, Democratic Party Congressional majority leader Steny Hoyer, and U.S Senator Barbara Mikulski. The “wade-in” has been an annual tradition since 1988.
In 1994, Fowler was named as the candidate for Maryland lieutenant governor under State Senator American Joe Miedusiewski during the 1994 Democratic primary gubernatorial election. (However, the party’s nomination and eventually the governor’s seat would go to Parris Glendening that year.)