WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, John Sarbanes, Andy Harris MD, Kweisi Mfume and David Trone met Wednesday in the U.S. Capitol with the new president and CEO of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Hilary Harp Falk and the newly selected U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program Director Dr. Kandis Boyd. The group shared perspectives and progress on challenges including upstream accountability, blue crabs, and the Conowingo Dam, as well as the broader need to maintain unity among Bay Program partners through 2025 and beyond.
“There is no higher priority that we have as a delegation than the Chesapeake Bay. Recognized by presidents as a national treasure, it is the iconic representation of the state of Maryland – quality of life, economy, culture and more,” said Senator Cardin. “Team Maryland has worked year after year to ensure the federal government is a strong partner with the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and stakeholders like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as we work to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in a sustainable and equitable way. We welcome Dr. Boyd and Ms. Falk to the forefront of this fight. We have reason to be optimistic about the state of the Bay, but there is much more work ahead of us.”
“Protecting and preserving the Chesapeake Bay requires an all-hands-on-deck effort. Today’s meeting was an opportunity to discuss the significant progress we’ve made in these efforts but also to underscore all the work that remains ahead. Dr. Boyd and Ms. Harp Falk have already hit the ground running in their new roles, and understand the challenges we face. As a delegation we’ve fought to deliver historic federal investments for Bay cleanup efforts through annual appropriations and the infrastructure modernization bill, and we must continue to put these dollars where they’re needed most – and hold our state partners accountable in following suit,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I’m committed to working together to continue these efforts to preserve the Bay for generations to come.”
“I was glad to meet with CEO and President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Hilary Harp Falk and EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Director Dr. Kandis Boyd. Conservation efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries are of critical importance our Congressional Delegation,” said Congressman Hoyer. “I am particularly concerned about the Blue Crab shortages we are witnessing and the impact that is having on our ecosystem and our economy. I am looking forward to working closely with Hilary as she leads efforts in our state and across the region to advance our mutual goal of cleaning up the Bay, protecting its wildlife, and strengthening its health for future generations.”
“As the Maryland Delegation has remained intensely committed to restoring the Chesapeake Bay and securing robust funding to support conservation projects, the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and Chesapeake Bay Foundation have been essential partners in coordinating and implementing these efforts,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “My conversation with Dr. Kandis Boyd and Hilary Harp Falk reaffirmed our shared commitment to restoring and protecting the Bay Watershed, centering the voices of those most impacted by environmental injustice in our solution-making and working collaboratively with the community to be good stewards of the Bay.”
“The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and vital economic engine on the Eastern Shore, which is why I’m proud to have consistently fought for federal funding for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and to have secured language in the FY23 Appropriations bill to help eradicate the invasive blue catfish,” said Dr. Harris. “At the meeting, I was pleased to hear of the support from the entire Maryland Delegation and look forward to working with them, the Foundation, and our colleagues in the Senate to sustain this critical language toward eradicating this dangerous and invasive species.”
“I grew up on the water, so I understand the importance of our waterways in a very personal way. Marylanders of every stripe, including many of our small businesses, rely on a healthy Bay for food, recreation, and to make a living,” said Congressman Mfume. “I am proud of the work we are doing in Congress to bring federal expertise and federal money to the table as we fight for a healthier Bay."
“Congratulations to Dr. Kandis Boyd upon her appointment as EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Director and to Hilary Falk for her selection as President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation,” said Congressman Raskin. “The Chesapeake Bay is a natural treasure and the pride of Maryland, and I’m thrilled that these two talented leaders are bringing decades of experience in government and conservation to the task of protecting and restoring the Bay. I look forward to working with my Maryland colleagues to bolster their Bay preservation efforts.”
“Protecting the health of the Chesapeake Bay is essential to Maryland’s way of life and its local economies. Every year, billions of dollars in seafood revenue and tourism benefits hardworking Maryland families, and we remain dedicated to ensuring that folks can continue to enjoy the Bay for generations,” said Congressman Trone. “I look forward to working with the leadership of the EPA and Chesapeake Bay Foundation to further these efforts on the federal level.”
“The Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams bind together more than 18-million people. Restoring clean water is vital to the health, welfare, and economic strength of their communities,” Falk said. The science-based Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is working to achieve that goal. We are reducing pollution and underwater dead zones are shrinking over time. At the same time, warning signs like this summer’s shortage of blue crabs demonstrate that we still have a long way to go. Climate change also threatens progress. However, today’s meeting gives me hope. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation applauds the bipartisan leadership of the Maryland Congressional delegation and others in the region who are standing up for clean water. By working together – residents, businesses, local and federal governments – we will finish the job and ensure clean water for our communities and future generations.”
“It was truly an honor and a privilege to speak with the Maryland Congressional Delegation about the most pressing issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay, its watershed, and those that recreate, live, and work in the Bay,” Dr. Boyd said. “More than ever it’s important to address climate change and its impact on the Bay to continue the nearly 40+ years of partnership that has provided marked improvements in the air, land, and water quality surrounding the Bay.”
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. Its watershed, declared a national treasure in Executive Order 13508 (2009), comprises a 64,000-square-mile area and includes portions of Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia and the entire District of Columbia. The lawmakers have secured significant federal funding and worked alongside state and local governments in the seven jurisdictions, as well as federal agencies, academic, nongovernmental and other partners to restore the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.