BALTIMORE, MD – State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) and Rep. Garth Everett (R-84) joined their fellow Chesapeake Bay Commission members on Thursday, November 7th in accepting the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Champion of the Chesapeake award on behalf of all past and current members of the Commission.
The Chesapeake Conservancy began the Champion of the Chesapeake award in 2014 to honor individuals and organizations that have provided exceptional leadership and dedication to the Chesapeake Bay’s restoration. The award was presented to the Commission by Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-3), one of the founders of the Commission and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (MD) provided the keynote address.
“It’s a privilege to be part of an organization that is truly bi-partisan and has such a policy impact,” said Sen. Yaw, who serves as the Commission’s Vice-Chair. “I represent the northern tier of the watershed, and my Pennsylvania Senate district has only a remote connection to the Bay, but we all share water. On the Commission, we all learn from each other and try to craft solutions that make sense at home.”
“Serving on the CBC and as its Chairman has been a highlight of my time in the General Assembly,” said Rep. Everett. “Working with our colleagues from the other Bay states and spending time learning about the Bay has given me an appreciation of clean water efforts at home that can help our local streams, the Susquehanna and, ultimately, the Bay.”
The Chesapeake Bay Commission is a tri-state legislative commission that advises the general assemblies of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia on matters of Bay-wide concern. For four decades, Commission members have championed state legislative action, in both policy and budget, to help restore the environmental health and sustainability of the 64,000 square mile watershed. Additionally, the Commission serves as the region’s liaison to the U.S. Congress, ensuring that Federal law and funding support state-lead efforts.
Half of the land area of Pennsylvania drains to the Chesapeake Bay from four major river basins, and Pennsylvania comprises 35 percent of the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Susquehanna River is the largest tributary to the Bay, providing 90 percent of the freshwater flow to the upper Bay and half of the total freshwater flow to the Bay. This watershed includes 43 of the 67 counties in the state.
During the November 7th ceremony in Baltimore, Ann Swanson, the Commission’s Executive Director, was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Swanson is a respected policy leader for her ability to forge policies, laws and implementation strategies that power the Bay restoration. The Commission works watershed-wide and has shared its lessons globally. Swanson has worked in Chesapeake conservation for 36 years.
Senator Yaw added that Ann is legendary among legislative draftsmen in Annapolis, Richmond, Harrisburg and Washington. “Her colleagues have looked to her for leadership in the development of the tributary strategies, forest buffer, land preservation and water quality goals, and in the drafting of the Bay Agreements.”“Ann is not only the preeminent policy leader in all things pertaining to the Bay restoration, she is the engine that drives the Commission and the Bay Program,” Rep. Everett added. “Without her energy and ceaseless optimism, there is no doubt the Commission wouldn’t be where it finds itself today.”
The awards were presented concurrent with the quarterly meeting of the Commission held in Baltimore, and dozens of current and former members of the Commission and Conservancy attended.
As Vice-Chair of the tri-state Chesapeake Bay Commission, Senator Gene Yaw joined fellow Commission member Rep. Garth Everett in accepting the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Champion of the Chesapeake award on behalf of all past and current members of the Commission.
Pictured Left to Right:
Bottom Row: Warren Elliott, Sen. Gene Yaw, former Rep. Ken Cole, Ann Swanson, Marel King, Rep. Garth Everett
Second Row: Former Sen. Mike Bortner, George Wolff, DEP Sec. Patrick McDonnell, Rep. Keith Gillespie
Third Row: Former Rep. Art Hershey, Sen. Scott Martin, former Sen. Rich Alloway
Top Row: Rep. Mike Sturla, former Rep. Russ Fairchild, former Sen. Mike Brubaker, former Rep. Ron Miller
CONTACT: Marel King, Pennsylvania Director