Chesapeake Conservancy Board Chair Randall Larrimore (left) and President and CEO Joel Dunn (right)
Equitably Connecting, Conserving and Restoring the Bay
We are pleased to report that Chesapeake Conservancy managed through the pandemic and accomplished many of our goals. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that in a seemingly uncertain world, one thing is certain — change is the only constant.
Chesapeake Conservancy board members, staff, partners and supporters like you rose to the challenge and continued to protect clean water, wildlife habitat and our way of life. Like many other organizations, we were confronted by the realities of a global pandemic that demanded we no longer conduct business as usual. Together, we did our best to stay focused on delivering conservation results that will persist long after this storm has passed. And, of course, like many of you, we did this work from home doing our best to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
While the nation looked inward and experienced a social reckoning that was long overdue, as an organization we redoubled our efforts to increase Diversity, Equity, Justice and Inclusion in the conservation movement and throughout our daily work.
As people turned toward nature for solace and recreation during the pandemic, parks throughout the Chesapeake watershed had a hard time meeting demand. People waited in long lines to get into their favorite park, some parks filled early in the day and had to close their gates to new visitors, and many county parks were closed to non-residents. Our hope is that society’s passion and appreciation for outdoor recreation and the environment never fades, but it’s evident that we need more parks—a rally cry shared by conservationists for decades.
In 2020, we joined partners to launch the coalition to create the Chesapeake National Recreation Area (CNRA). It was not by design that we did this during the pandemic and when people were clamoring for more parks, but the pandemic certainly helped explain the need. It’s time for the Chesapeake to have National Park Service status. We thank the growing number of coalition partners and supporters who are helping to advance this worthy effort. Learn more at www.united4cnra.com.
The year brought many significant wins for conservation that will help us meet the goal of conserving 30% of the Chesapeake by 2030. Thanks to your support, Chesapeake Conservancy and our partners across the country worked with Congress to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, one of the biggest conservation victories in decades. This new legislation creates annual funding to protect parks, forests, wildlife refuges and wetlands forever, which will reduce threats to flora and fauna diversity and slow climate change. You also helped us pass the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, one of the most important bills for the Chesapeake Bay restoration movement in 35 years. Now the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can do even more for the Chesapeake.
Thank you for your support during this incredibly difficult year. We have indeed grown stronger together and are optimistic that through our innovative precision conservation, advocacy and strategic partnerships we will dramatically impact the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the benefit of all.