Today, the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor initiative announced the expansion of its June 10th paddling event, the Baltimore Floatilla, to include a landside rally in support of the Chesapeake Bay Program, which the Trump administration has proposed to eliminate in the 2018 federal budget.
“The effort to clean up the Harbor and the Bay is the result of a tremendous partnership between the public and private sectors,” said Michael Hankin, chairman of the Waterfront Partnership and president of Brown Advisory. “Both have made significant contributions. The idea that our government would walk away from this effort is wrong for many reasons, including the message it sends to the thousands of private citizens who have sincerely contributed their time and financial resources in reliance on government fulfilling its responsibilities.”
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership that has led the mission to restore the Bay for over 30 years. Over the last three years, federal agencies have invested nearly $1.5 billion in the Bay. Now, environmental groups throughout Maryland believe elimination of the program would threaten decades of progress.
“The Chesapeake Bay Program is not controversial. It’s science-based and it’s working,” said Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “The Bay is getting better, yet for some reason the Trump administration wants to cancel the program. The time is now for everyone who cares about clean water to let their representatives know how important the Bay is.”
In 2008, the Waterfront Partnership launched its Healthy Harbor Initiative with a goal of making the Baltimore Harbor safe for swimming and fishing but, without the Bay Program, Adam Lindquist, director of the initiative, has his doubts.
“The Baltimore region has the highest concentration of people directly impacted by the health of the Bay and the Harbor,” said Lindquist. “That is why we need to rally here. We simply won’t be able to clean up these vital waterways without the support, coordination and enforcement provided by the federal government.”
Carl Simon, interim executive director at Blue Water Baltimore, said the organization will host a free sign-making workshop the Saturday before the rally to help participants prepare.
“This is an opportunity for residents to make our voices heard to ensure that other states do their fair share in cleaning up the Bay,” said Simon. “Without a multi-state program, the burden of cleaning up the Bay will fall on Marylanders.”
The rally will take place at the Inner Harbor amphitheater (201 E. Pratt Street), as well as in the water nearby, from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 10th. Those wishing to rally by land should RSVP on Healthy Harbor’s Facebook page. Experienced paddlers wishing to rally on the water are required to register in advance at BaltimoreFloatilla.com.