Every dollar invested by
Chesapeake Bay Program
grants for clean water
is nearly doubled.
Federal Support is Essential
for Cleaner Waterways
There is no doubt about it. It has been
hot in Virginia this summer. Fortunately,
in Hampton Roads when the temperature
soars we can take to the water to beat
the heat. Wading along the shoreline with
friends and family, boating and fishing
on the Lynnhaven River, kayaking on
the Lafayette River—it’s all part of what
makes this region one of the best places
to live in the country.
What’s more, these beautiful waters are
a major driver for our economy. They
give us fresh seafood and million-dollar
views, and are a magnet for tourists.
None of this would be possible without
clean water.…[T]he Chesapeake Bay
and its rivers are coming back…thanks
to a partnership between the federal
government and the Bay states.
But this progress is under threat by
President Donald Trump’s proposed
budget, which would eliminate funding
for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program
and imperil a host of other clean-water
programs. This could change our way of
life here. Without clean water, we would
lose a big part of what makes Hampton
Roads so wonderful.
Local waterways are already seeing
real benefits from federal programs.
For example, a grant using Chesapeake
Bay Program funds in 2010 kick-started
efforts to clean up the Lafayette River.
It supported everything from planting
oysters, to educating residents about
reducing pollution, to the installation of
20 stations to help people clean up pet
waste to reduce bacteria levels. Thanks
to a variety of efforts since then, the
Lafayette has improved so much that
last summer it was taken off the state’s
list of bacteria-impaired waterways.
…These federal grants use matching
funds from local organizations, meaning
that every dollar invested by the
government is nearly doubled. In other
words, every budget cut does twice the
damage, making it that much harder for
Bay states and communities such as ours
to reduce pollution to our rivers and
With so much at risk, we are fortunate
that Hampton Roads leaders are working
hard for our waters. U.S. Senators
Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have
been defending the Bay on Capitol Hill
for many years. U.S. Representative
Bobby Scott recently planted oysters
in the Lafayette River and vowed to
ensure support for clean water. U.S.
Representative Scott Taylor is part
of the ongoing fight in the House of
Representatives for full funding of $73
million for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
U.S. Representative Don McEachin has
urged continued Bay restoration.
This bipartisan support is a testament
to how vital waterways are to this
region. But there is a long way to go
before the Bay is fully restored. For all
of us who care, there is a lot that can
be done. We can start by thanking our
elected officials for their support of the
Chesapeake Bay Program....Keeping our
water clean means much more than
cooling off on a hot summer day. It’s
about preserving our way of life for our
children and grandchildren.
U Excerpt from Harry Lester’s column in
The Virginian-Pilot August 6, 2017. Harry
Lester is chairman of the Chesapeake
Bay Foundation Board of Trustees.
From left: National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration’s Sean
Corson, Elizabeth River Project Chairman
Phil Stedfast, Congressman Bobby Scott,
and CBF Chairman Harry Lester plant
oysters along the Lafayetter River.