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Advocate for Change in Maryland!

Assateague Coastal Trust's (ACT) advocacy efforts within the Maryland General Assembly are igniting powerful change. Led by your Assateague COASTKEEPER, Taylor Swanson, we are working diligently to drive forward legislation which safeguards the value of our local rivers and Coastal Bays against threats to their water quality.


ACT is your regional voice advocating change across southern Delmarva, but we need your help! Maryland's laws and regulations must reflect the needs of the Lower Shore, and that can only happen when we raise our voice together.


Join us in championing our priority legislation this session, together, we can bring real change for our region. Read below for details and ways you can take a stance for clean water.


"I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”

- Dr. Seuss, The Lorax


If trees could vote we're certain they'd vote for clean water!

 


Image: Maryland's state capitol building in Annapolis.

 

ACT's Priority Bills.

There are many ways to support our legislative efforts. Please, consider calling your legislators to let them know you support these issues! Reach out to Coastkeeper@ACTforBays.org or call (443) 235-2014 if you are interested in learning more!



Clean Water Justice Act

Returning rights to individuals and specific groups (like ACT!) to participate in legal action protecting the environment and natural resources, especially regarding water quality and resources.

This legislation would give permission to those who meet the requirements to start legal actions in specific situations. Allowing courts to give help, costs, and penalties in these legal actions when needed. This rule applies to state water quality permits and also covers Maryland's non-tidal wetlands, many of which lost federal protection due to a recent Supreme Court ruling. This legislation helps protect your right to clean, drinkable, swimmable, and fishable water!


Click HERE to learn more.

Sponsored by Senator Augustine & Delegate Love

 

Vernal Pool Wetlands Protection Act of 2024

Vernal pools are crucially important habitat for a huge variety of native species, including many of our most imperiled amphibians (like the Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvanticus) and Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)). Additionally, these habitats provide crucial water filtration services, keeping our streams, rivers, and bays clean!

This legislation would aim to require the Department of the Environment to adopt regulations to protect and preserve vernal pools; and require the Department to complete a plan for identifying vernal pools in the State. This would be huge win for clean water and species diversity throughout the Pocomoke River and Coastal Bays regions!


Click HERE to learn more.

Sponsored by Delegates Hill, McComas, Taylor, Terrasa, and Williams.

 

Whole Watershed Act

This legislation aims to establish new regulations and oversight for stream restoration contractors, with some exceptions. By putting guardrails on stream restoration we can ensure they are done properly and without critical impairment of the waterway.

Additionally, this legislation aims to create a special fund, known as the Whole Watershed Fund, for the purpose of accelerating the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coastal Bays and their watershed. This targeted approach to watershed restoration could be exactly the push needed to help some of our waterways!


Click HERE to learn more.

Sponsored by Senators Elfreth and Gazzone, and Delegates Love, Ivey, and Stein.


Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Surveys

This legislation helps the MD Department of Natural resources increase their ability to obtain surveys for Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)! These underwater plants are a crucial habitat for hundreds of species, act as a major carbon sink, and help to stabilize our shorelines.

This bill would enable the DNR to expand their surveying methods for SAV's to include new technologies, like satellite spectrography. Additionally, this would require the Department to analyze these surveying methodologies, as well as analysis tools, in a written report outlining their findings. This could lead to more frequent surveying which could yield important data regarding SAV loss in the Coastal Bays!


Click HERE to learn more.

Sponsored by Senator Mautz and Delegate Stein.

 


Image: COASTKEEPER Taylor Swanson testifying before the House of Representatives on HB 0807 - Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Surveys. 

 

Want more?

Your Assateague COASTKEEPER is tracking over 50 bills pertaining to clean water and environmental justice. Here is a selection of some of the other 2024 MD bills ACT is weighing in on. We're hopeful to see them pass, and we hope for your help and support to see them reach the Governors desk!


Check out these amazing bills, and call your legislators to let them know you want to see clean water in Maryland.


  • HB 1074 / SB 0991 --- Industrial Sludge Utilization Permit - Establishment

  • HB 0022 / SB 0178 --- Pollinator Habitat Plan – Requirements for State Highway Administration

  • HB 0233 / SB 0306 --- Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area Protection Program - Climate, Equity, and Administrative Provisions

  • HB 1153 / SB 0956 --- Protecting State Waters From PFAS Pollution Act


"We speak for the water for the water has no voice!"

Thank you for your support of the Assateague Coastal Trust.




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