In 2016 the General Assembly passed HJR 31 designating the second week of June as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. This designation was championed by the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a commission created in 1980 to promote cooperation among Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania for the improvement of water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
Bay Awareness Week provides a way to reach a greater and more diverse audience of engaged citizens, private businesses and local governments.
According to Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, who chairs Virginia’s delegation to the Chesapeake Bay Commission, “Virginia has made significant progress restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Signs of good work include reduced areas of low dissolved oxygen, increased underwater grasses and cleaner waters. Yet a lot more work will be necessary to reach our 2025 goal of a restored Chesapeake Bay. Raising awareness and engaging the public will be critical to achieve success.”
To build more awareness, Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week will include an annual, one-day signature event to be known as “Back to the Bay.” It is scheduled for June 10 at Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and will include hands-on educational programs for all ages, outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking, local foods and beverages and live entertainment.
“The Chesapeake Bay is important to our quality of life. It is a rich part of our heritage as Virginians and a critical component of our future economic growth. The responsibility to restore the Bay falls on us – those who live in the Bay watershed. One of these responsibilities is to reduce polluted stormwater runoff,” said Delegate David L. Bulova. “Bay Awareness Week provides a way to educate all citizens about the challenges ahead and how each of us can play a meaningful role in restoring cleaner waters.”
“The Chamber of Commerce is excited to be a partner in Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. We are working alongside the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to encourage local businesses to get involved,” said Dennis Treacy, chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and citizen representative to the Chesapeake Bay Commission Virginia Delegation.
Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week and Back to the Bay were announced during a press conference on February 21. Speakers included Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, Delegate David Bulova, Dennis Treacy, Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward, and Nissa Dean, Virginia Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
For more information about Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week and Back to the Bay, visit http://www.vcnva.org/back-to-the-bay-day/ or follow Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week on Facebook.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE