The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has announced Dr. Allison Colden as its new Maryland Executive Director, replacing Josh Kurtz, who was appointed Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources in January. Colden, who previously served as CBF’s Maryland Fisheries Scientist for six years, has been one of the leading advocates for sustainable fisheries policies to protect important Chesapeake Bay species such as rockfish, oysters, and blue crabs. Her first day in the new role was April 25th.

Allison Colden Credit: Caroline Phillips/ CBF

During her tenure as Maryland Fisheries Scientist, Colden led advocacy efforts to pass state bills such as 2019 legislation that permanently protected Maryland’s five large-scale oyster restoration sanctuaries. She also oversaw CBF’s Maryland oyster restoration program, which adds tens of millions of oysters to the Bay each year to sanctuary reefs. Additionally, she serves as Maryland’s legislative representative to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and as an appointed member of Maryland’s Oyster Advisory Commission.

“It’s my pleasure to announce Allison Colden as the new leader of CBF’s Maryland team,” said Alison Prost, CBF’s Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration. “Since joining CBF, Allison has proven she can use her scientific expertise to work through controversial issues with grace. Allison has earned the respect of partners and decision-makers alike through a cooperative approach and thoughtful policy recommendations. Colden’s advocacy efforts in Maryland have helped the state begin to reverse its long-term oyster population decline. In her new role, Allison will oversee the Maryland office’s efforts to reduce water pollution, educate policymakers, and strengthen the state’s environmental policy.”

Colden, who received a doctorate in marine sciences from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in 2015, has also worked in the U.S House of Representatives as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow and later as the senior manager of external affairs at Restore America’s Estuaries.

“We’re in a time of change for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup as several states in the watershed struggle to meet their pollution reduction requirements,” said Colden. “In Maryland, we must do more to address agricultural and stormwater pollution. As we approach the 2025 deadline, there is an opportunity to reflect on what has worked, what hasn’t, and to advance proven and innovative solutions to restore the Bay’s health. We must ensure the next phase of the cleanup supports communities harmed by water and air quality issues, mitigates climate change, and furthers pollution reductions. I’m excited for this opportunity and look forward to advancing the important work of the Maryland team.”

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding lands and waters. With Colden at the helm of its Maryland team, the CBF aims to continue making progress in restoring the Bay’s health, promoting sustainable fisheries policies, and advocating for clean water regulations.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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