Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Senate Passes Yaw Resolution Designating June 5-11 Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week

The Senate Monday unanimously approved Senate Resolution 352 designating the week of June 5 through June 11 Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week.  The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and a member of the interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission.
“The Chesapeake Bay is the largest and most productive bay in the United States,” Sen. Yaw said.  “Collectively, the Chesapeake’s three largest rivers – the Susquehanna, Potomac and James rivers– provide more than 80 percent of the fresh water to the Bay.  
“With nearly 1,800 local governments in the Bay watershed, including towns, cities, counties and townships, Bay Awareness Week will seek to engage, strengthen and promote environmental stewardship in those local governments, as well as increase Bay awareness throughout our tri-state region,” Sen. Yaw added.
Special Upcoming Events
There are a number of special events scheduled in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to focus on the need to improve water quality--
-- First Canoe Classic: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA’s Pennsylvania Student Leadership Council will host its first Canoe Classic for local high school students, on May 15, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Susquehanna Outfitters in Wormleysburg, near Harrisburg.
-- Clean The Bay Day: During the first Saturday in June, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation hosts “Clean the Bay Day” during which thousands of volunteers roll up their sleeves and take direct action to clean their waterways.
-- Susquehanna Sojourn June 17-19: Also in Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna Sojourn, celebrating the largest river east of the Mississippi that supplies the lifeblood of freshwater flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, runs from June 17-19 this year, further extending our Bay awareness festivities.
-- River Of The Year: Earlier this year, the Susquehanna River’s North Branch was named PA River of the Year by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Other Pennsylvania members of the Chesapeake Bay Commission include: Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Adams), Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming), Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York), Rep. Michael Sturla (D-Lancaster), DEP Secretary John Quigley and Pennsylvania citizen member Warren Elliott.
Legislators from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia worked collaboratively in seeking passage of resolutions designating the week-long recognition of the Chesapeake Bay. Through this designation, the legislatures also encourage residents and environmental and educational groups to host events, activities, and educational programs to increase awareness of the importance of the Chesapeake Bay to the states, region and United States.
The text of the resolution follows--
Designating the week of June 5 through 11, 2016, as "Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week" in Pennsylvania.
WHEREAS, The Chesapeake Bay is the largest and most productive estuary in the United States, its watershed spanning six states and the District of Columbia; and
WHEREAS, The Chesapeake Bay is fed by 50 major tributaries, the largest being the Susquehanna River, which provides 50 percent of the fresh water to the bay; and
WHEREAS, Stretching 200 miles from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Norfolk, Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay has an average depth of 21 feet and ranges from 3.4 to 35 miles wide; and
WHEREAS, The Chesapeake Bay supports 348 species of finfish, 173 species of shellfish and more than 3,600 species of plant and animal life, including 2,700 types of plants and more than 16 species of underwater grasses; and
WHEREAS, The Chesapeake Bay produces more than 500 million pounds of seafood harvest each year; and
WHEREAS, The bay's tributaries in this Commonwealth are an important source of drinking water and recreational fishing and boating for this Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, The Chesapeake Bay watershed is an extraordinary and vital natural resource, with some of the nation's most productive farm and forest lands in this Commonwealth's portion of the watershed; and
WHEREAS, This productivity supported the settlement and growth of our nation and is a vital resource for future generations; and
WHEREAS, The Chesapeake Bay area is home to more than 17 million people, many of whom rely upon the bay for their livelihood and recreational activities; and
WHEREAS, The rich history, pivotal economic importance and astounding beauty of the Chesapeake Bay watershed never cease to amaze residents and visitors alike; and
WHEREAS, All residents of this Commonwealth are encouraged to commemorate "Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week" with events and educational programs designed to increase awareness of the importance of the Chesapeake Bay to this Commonwealth, the region and the United States; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives designate the week of June 5 through 11, 2016, as "Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week" in Pennsylvania.
A similar House Resolution 739 was sponsored by Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) and  passed by the House.
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the CBF-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).
For more information about Pennsylvania's approach to improving water quality going to the Bay, visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office webpage.
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