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Tour Convenes Virginia’s Elected Officials to Learn About Priorities of Coastal Communities

Press Release

Contact: Marissa Spratley
Email: mspratley@allianceforthebay.org
Office: 443-949-0575 Cell: 410-718-2728

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Tour Convenes Virginia’s Elected Officials to Learn About Priorities of Coastal Communities
An Opportunity to Showcase Virginia’s Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay to Locally Elected Officials

Annapolis, MD (November 22, 2019) The Virginia delegation of the Local Government Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Executive Council (LGAC) in conjunction with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay hosted a pilot bus tour entitled, Wandering Virginia’s Waterways, October 24-25, 2019 for 28 Virginia local elected officials. Virginia LGAC members: Richard Baugh, Councilmember, City of Harrisonburg; Ruby Brabo, Supervisor, King George County; Jasmine Gore, Mayor, City of Hopewell; and Andria McClellan, Councilmember, City of Norfolk, hosted the event that was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

The Wandering Virginia’s Waterways Bus Tour brought non-tidal elected officials from the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia to the Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula regions in order to engage with tidal elected officials and explore the local priorities of coastal sectors as it relates to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Participants had the opportunity to:

  • Visit the Potomac River Fisheries Commission to learn more about the economic impact of fisheries in Virginia and the collaborative management that is required to maintain a robust fishery relationship between Maryland and Virginia in regards to the Potomac River.
  • Explore the innovative and restorative practice of incorporating living shorelines, which was demonstrated by Westmoreland State Park and Longwood University’s Hull Springs Farm. These natural coastlines aid in the impact of erosion, stabilize sediment run-off, and create a safe habitat for neighboring wildlife.
  • Experience oyster collection methods on the Rappahannock River by viewing local fisherman use patent tonging and dredging methods near oyster reefs. They also got to experience the hatchery process exhibited at the Rappahannock Oyster Company.

“I applaud Virginia’s delegation to the Chesapeake Bay Local Government Advisory Committee for engaging locally-elected officials from throughout the watershed in a two-day educational tour of the Northern Neck,” stated Ann Jennings, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for the Chesapeake Bay.  “The tour provided an opportunity for local government decision makers to explore the economic significance of Bay restoration in this region of the Commonwealth. The Northern Neck Planning District Commission showcased critical funding opportunities with area projects that solved multiple needs including water quality, flood control, resilience, and community revitalization.”

The Northern Neck Planning District Commission’s (NNPDC) Tourism Corporation largely inspired the locations visited during the tour. LGAC is pleased to have received positive feedback regarding the tour and hopes it will serve as a model for future local government bus tours around the Watershed.

“This was a great opportunity to connect a diverse group of officials from across the watershed,”said Jim Crozier of Orange County Board of Supervisors

“This provided an experience to learn how many people are involved in keeping an eye on the environment and just how sensitive it is and how much we depend on it from the wetlands to the watermen. I did not know about it to this magnitude. I am not sure how impactful we can be in Harrisonburg, but every little bit we do can have an impact. I have enjoyed the enthusiasm of everyone involved. This has definitely been a great experience,”—said George Hirschmann, Harrisonburg City Council Member.

“I was familiar with the Chesapeake Bay, but I had no concept of the Northern Neck. The lower Potomac River and Rappahannock River exposure were great experiences. It was fun to see the type of farming that is happening in this region,” said Charles Newton of the Shenandoah Soil and water Conservation District, Paige County.

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About the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay:
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance) is a regional nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring together communities, companies, and conservationists to improve our lands and waters. The Alliance implements local programs that connect people to their local rivers and streams and become directly involved in local restoration efforts. The Alliance was founded in 1971 and has offices in Annapolis, MD, Lancaster, PA, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, VA. For more information about the Alliance, visit www.allianceforthebay.org.

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Marissa Spratley Communications Manager, Maryland & DC Office

Marissa is the Communications Manager at the Alliance’s Headquarters. Her job includes managing communications strategies across the organization and our regional offices.

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