Sessions draw participants from throughout six-state bay watershed area
September 28, 2011
By John McVey - Journal staff writer , journal-news.net
SHEPHERDSTOWN - Close to 350 guests are expected to attend the sixth annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum this weekend at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Conservation Training Center outside Shepherdstown.
The forum is sponsored by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, which is based in Baltimore.
While the forum attracts a mixed bag of attendees from all over the watershed area, the forum's focus is on local watershed groups, Lou Etgen, associate director of programs, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
The other group that finds the forum especially helpful includes local government representatives, who are actually in the trenches doing the work to protect and preserve the Chesapeake Bay, he said.
In addition to West Virginia's eight-county Eastern Panhandle, the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay watershed region includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia and all of the District of Columbia.
Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new, strict pollution limits on nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and sediment pollution getting into the bay via its tributaries, such as the Potomac River.
The EPA's pollution-reduction mandates have targeted wastewater treatment plants, agricultural operations and stormwater runoff.
The unofficial theme for this year's forum is citizen engagement and social marketing, Etgen explained. An intro to community-based social marketing workshop is offered on Thursday, and other social media seminars are offered throughout the forum.
Friday's and Saturday's agenda includes six tracks, or topics of discussion: science and practice; conservation and preservation; planning and regulation; marketing/media, behavior change and advocacy; organizational development; and citizen engagement as well as a special seminar on Chesapeake websprint.
Registration for the forum is full, but information about the alliance is available at allianceforthebay.org.
Founded in 1971, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is the only regional nonprofit that brings all the voices of the bay together, Etgen said.
"The Alliance has a watershed-wide focus," he said.
- Staff writer John McVey can be reached at 304-263-3381, ext. 128, or jmcvey@journal-news. net
If You Go
What: Sixth annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum
When: Thursday to Sunday
Where: National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown