Each year, the Alliance hosts the Chesapeake Watershed Forum at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. To reach more restoration and protection practitioners with this watershed-wide event, the Alliance provides virtual sessions to inspire and empower local action towards clean water, regardless of where you’re tuning in! Catch up on this year’s sessions below.

Sustainable Community Based Public Private Partnerships

The struggle to derive socio-economic benefits from managing stormwater is often seen to be more prominent in minority communities as seen across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The need for an increased level of diversity and inclusivity in these efforts has been emphasized, which is poised to yield a more sustainable outcome. The proposed session will highlight the sustainability of a novel Community Based Public Private Partnership (CBP3) approach adopted by the Clean Water Partnership (CWP) at Prince George’s County, MD, which leverages on defining specific equity-driven objectives that promote diversity in workforce development efforts, and ensures active minority community engagement.

Bello Mahmud, Morgan State University
Roland Jones, Corvias Infrastructure Solutions, LLC (CIS)


Ultra Urban Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Over the last 12 years, Baltimore Climate Resilience Coalition (BCRC), an organization in inner city Baltimore, has introduced many new approaches, methods, and products that culminated in installations of innovative green stormwater infrastructure, often with the cooperation of local businesses. A combination of green and blue infrastructure has led to the installation of rain gardens/bioswales in enlarged tree pits, allowing stormwater to be used for transpiration/evapotranspiration and mitigation of outside temperatures. Additionally, we enhanced stormwater capture and soil moisture capacity by using products like lava blocks, polymer wrapped in geotextiles, or using permeable pavers on sand, building boulder-like subsurface under sidewalks.

Speaker: Mateusz Rozanski, Old Goucher Community Association


Mapping the Way to Partnership Projects

Interested in better prioritizing your potential projects, tracking current projects, and sharing this information across your partner organizations? This session presents case studies of map-based project management tools developed through ArcGIS online by Chesapeake Conservancy, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and partners. These mapping applications can serve as a useful tool for partnerships to visualize both current projects and high-priority potential projects based on criteria of importance, such as funding availability, community demographics, current land cover, and more. We discuss the benefits, mechanics, and potential uses of these mapping applications.

Ryan Hill, Chesapeake Conservancy
Alexandra Neumann, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay


Biochar and Climate Resilient Landscapes

Biochar soil amendment can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our restoration efforts, especially when applied to stormwater management practices. Biochar also helps to address waste, soil health and supports healthier and more vigorous plant growth. EcoWorks has completed a number of research and application-based projects using biochar and will describe these through a lens of, and with group discussion on, climate resilient landscapes. An overview of EcoWorks green jobs programs will also be provided.

Speaker: Lori Lilly, Howard EcoWorks, Inc.


EJ Screen: Empowering Environmental Equity

This session underlines diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice’s significance in environmental health. Dr. Im, director at the National Center for Community Mapping, will present their exposome research, relating it to health equity via participatory mapping. He will demonstrate GIS technology’s efficiency, assessing public sites like EJ Screen and Climate Justice Screening Tools. Participants will learn to integrate their local data into EJ Screen for visualization and comparative analysis. The session also addresses the intersection of climate justice and health, fostering comprehension and empowering impactful action.

Speaker: Wansoo Im, Meharry Medical College / National Center for Community Mapping


Harnessing AI for Ecology and Conservation

AI is revolutionizing modern life, but applications for wildlife biology and conservation have only begun to emerge. Here, we present a new partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey and non-governmental organizations to empower anglers with AI to identify individual fish from images they submit online. Participants then are notified when “their” fish is caught again, thus promoting a conservation ethic and deepening an appreciation of the resource. Moreover, analysis of the crowdsourced data by researchers enables fish population assessments at an unprecedented scale. We demonstrate the feasibility of this approach for brook trout in the Chesapeake Bay headwaters.

Speaker: Nathaniel “Than” Hitt, USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center

Note: The speaker was muted for the first approximately 6 minutes of the presentation.


Friday Night Fishing and Continuous Water Quality Monitoring on the Anacostia

Anacostia Riverkeeper has partnered with fellow nonprofits and two private funders to offer Friday Night Fishing the past eleven summers in Washington, DC, engaging and educating over 500 participants each year. Through this program, we introduce families and other participants to their Anacostia River, teach and facilitate catch-and-release fishing, and educate the public about toxic contamination in fish. #ComeToTheRiver

We are also announcing a brand new partnership with Xylem’s Reservoir Center in DC as they move forward with a continuous water quality monitoring project, WQDC, with Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, and Potomac Riverkeeper. Brandon Friedland from Xylem will be joining the session to present on this new partnership.

Trey Sherard, Anacostia Riverkeeper
Brandon Friedland, Xylem


Empowering Frontline Communities to Fight Pollution

It’s more important than ever to empower everyone to take action when they experience water pollution in their communities, especially for communities that have experienced and continue to experience environmental racism. This is why we developed the Clean Water Act Playbook for Frontline Communities for easy access to the Clean Water Act’s tools and resources to enforce the law when the government fails to do so. This online resource offers Clean Water Act basics, video stories of how local communities have dealt with water pollution, links to tools and organizations that can help, and ways to report pollution.

Alex Villazon, Waterkeepers Chesapeake
Betsy Nicholas, Potomac Riverkeeper Network


Thank you to our 2023 Forum sponsors!