Chesapeake Conservancy Announces 2018 “Champions of the Chesapeake”

The Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program, The Conservation Fund, and Ecosystem Investment Partners Honored for their Commitment to the Chesapeake

(Annapolis, MD) – Last night, Chesapeake Conservancy celebrated the 2018 “Champions of the Chesapeake” at an awards ceremony honoring The Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) programThe Conservation Fund (TCF), and Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP).

Nearly two hundred people celebrated the honorees at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., where Jeff Corwin, Emmy-winning television host, author, and biologist, served as keynote speaker. Corwin is also the host of “Expedition Chesapeake,” a giant-screen film that journeys into the mysterious and beautiful watershed and explores the connections between the millions of people, plants and animals that call it home. An honor song in gratitude to the awardees was performed by members of the Upper Mattaponi and Chickahominy tribes. The event featured sculpture art by award-winning Chesapeake Bay driftwood artist Larry Ringgold.

“Each year, Chesapeake Conservancy recognizes extraordinary leaders from across the Chesapeake for their significant and exemplary accomplishments that protect and restore our natural systems and cultural resources,” Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn said. “This years’ honorees showcase different and innovative ways that conservation is being achieved successfully in the Chesapeake watershed. This is a critical time for conservation in the Chesapeake, and creative approaches are needed now more than ever.”

A valuable partner to Chesapeake Conservancy’s conservation work, REPI was honored for its creative approach to conserve habitat and biodiversity across a 385,000-acre corridor in the Chesapeake. Together with REPI and partners, Chesapeake Conservancy has completed 9 projects conserving more than 1,500 acres on Delmarva near the beautiful Nanticoke River.

“It is a privilege to work with the Chesapeake Conservancy and its partners to support local communities in efforts to preserve and sustain the agricultural and natural landscapes that are so integral to preparing our Service Members for combat,” said Kristin Thomasgard-Spence, REPI program director, who accepted the award on behalf of the Department of Defense. “This innovative partnership demonstrates a model for successful landscape-scale conservation and connectivity, with the goal of linking protected lands and creating a contiguous corridor of 18,300 acres by the end of 2018.  This corridor will sustain military readiness, create recreational opportunities for nearby communities, and preserve the natural and cultural significance of this incredible landscape.”

TCF was selected as a Champion of the Chesapeake for its signature commitment to conserve naturally and culturally important land across the Chesapeake and along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, such as Werowocomoco and Fones Cliffs in Virginia.

“The natural and cultural treasures of the Chesapeake Bay draw you in and inspire countless individuals to explore the rich history of the region,” said The Conservation Fund’s President and CEO Larry Selzer. “The Conservation Fund is honored to be recognized as a Champion of the Chesapeake for our work over the last 33 years to protect, preserve and enhance the unique characteristics of the Bay area.”

EIP was honored as a leader in the private sector environmental mitigation and restoration industry. Now the largest equity restoration company in the United States with headquarters in Baltimore, EIP has developed an impressive track record delivering stream restoration through pay for success delivery contracts.

“Through cutting edge pay-for-success contracts with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Maryland State Highway Administration, these restoration projects will deliver more than 16,000 pounds of nitrogen, 3,000 pounds of phosphorus and 2,600 tons of sediment per year, at a cost savings to the taxpayers of Maryland. We want to be making more such investments all over the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Thanks to the Chesapeake Conservancy’s high resolution data, we are able to truly prioritize and focus our efforts where we can achieve the best return on our conservation dollars,” said EIP Managing Partner Nick Dilks.

Chesapeake Conservancy thanks our honorees, guests, and sponsors for making the evening possible. Sponsors include: Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., Hogan Lovells, RBC Wealth Management, The Conservation Fund, Bank of America, The Campbell Foundation, M&T Bank, Spectra Integration, Molly Joseph Ward, Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., Athens Paper, Herrington Harbour Marinas, Herrington On The Bay Catering, The Martin Architectural Group, The Severn Companies, Shore Bancshares, Inc., Total Wine & More, and Turner Sculpture.

Previous award winners include U.S. Senator Barbara S. Mikulski of Maryland (retired); U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland (retired); U.S. Senator John W. Warner of Virginia (retired); Maryland Governor Larry Hogan; former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe; former National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis (ret); Keith Campbell, The Keith Campbell Foundation; Esri; Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association; Microsoft Corporation; Mt. Cuba Center; Dr. Mamie Parker, (retired) US Fish & Wildlife Service; REI; Kim Hernandez, NOAA Fellow; and Skyline Technology Solutions, Inc.

NOTE TO MEDIA: High resolution photos available here and/or upon request.

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Chesapeake Conservancy’s mission is to conserve and restore the natural and cultural resources of the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. We empower the conservation community with access to the latest data and technology. As principal partner for the National Park Service on the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, we helped create 153 new public access sites and permanently protect some of the Bay’s special places like Werowocomoco, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, and Fort Monroe National Monument. www.chesapeakeconservancy.org