Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program

Our Story

Celebrating 50 Years

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay celebrates our 50th anniversary in 2021. Since 1971, the Alliance has dedicated efforts to restoring the Chesapeake Bay’s rivers and streams through partnerships, collaboration, and individual and community stewardship

In 2021, we will celebrate our 50th anniversary in many ways, and we invite you to join us.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay 50th Anniversary Logo

Save the date for:

  • Our 3rd Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival that will kick off our 50th anniversary celebrations on January 21, 2021. The evening will include special guest speakers, our premiere of our 50th anniversary celebration video, and more. Grab your tickets before they sell out!
  • Retro-branded apparel celebrating the Alliance’s 50th anniversary – coming March 2021.
  • A year full of 50 stories! We can’t wait to bring you specially curated content each month all about the history of the Alliance and the Chesapeake Bay restoration movement. Stories will include videos, blogs, infographics, podcast style interviews, and much more. You can follow along right here, at allianceforthebay.org and on our social media @Allianceforthebay.

Donate in honor of 50 years


History of the Alliance

In 1971, a group of concerned citizens, representing business, agriculture, conservation, academia, and government began gathering to discuss the declining “state of the Bay” and a lack of political commitment to address it. They formed a coalition called “The Citizens Program for the Chesapeake Bay” and brought regional leaders together to discuss a coordinated approach to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.

In 1976, the Citizens Program became the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and its voluntary collaborative consensus-based approach became the model for the regional Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Partnership. Soon after its founding, the Alliance was awarded an EPA grant to coordinate citizen and community involvement for the CBP.

The Alliance came under the leadership of Frances Flanigan, who moved the Alliance’s base of operations from Hampton, Virginia to Baltimore, Maryland, and established field offices in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Richmond, Virginia. Some of the Alliance’s staff continue to be housed in the U.S. EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office in Annapolis to directly support CBP initiatives.

Over the next 30+ years, the Alliance would help to build consensus, broker agreements, policies on a diversity of watershed issues, while developing programs that could deliver restoration results. Through pioneering work such as the Bay Journal, Businesses and Builders for the Bay, Volunteer Water Monitoring, green stormwater practices like rain gardens and Bayscapes, watershed planning, stream and riparian buffer restoration, forest conservation, and a myriad of other innovative efforts, the Alliance continues to make significant contributions to restoration progress.

The Alliance has been instrumental in:

  • Establishing multi-jurisdictional goals for the Chesapeake Bay Program
  • Involving new stakeholders in restoration efforts
  • Building innovative partnerships
  • Expanding awareness and action “upstream” of the Bay itself
  • Empowering locally-led efforts through networking and training
  • Getting 100’s of thousands of people involved as volunteers

The Alliance remains dedicated to restoring the Chesapeake Bay’s rivers and streams through partnerships, collaboration, and individual and community stewardship.

While the Bay is improving, the challenges to protect, restore, and sustain it are more challenging than ever and today, the Alliance and its mission are more relevant than ever. Our reputation as an honest broker and neutral voice; a source of accurate, unbiased information makes us unique and clearly distinguishes us from other regional environmental organizations. With the strength and support of our members, Board, and staff, the Alliance will continue to be a strong regional leader for decades to come.

For more detail, see this abridged history of the Alliance and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration effort.