Shapiro Celebrates Record Improvements in Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay Health

Governor Josh ShapiroCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Governor Josh Shapiro joined state officials on Tuesday to celebrate significant environmental improvements in the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This announcement was made alongside Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley of the Department of Environmental Protection, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.

Historic Report Card Results

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) released its 17th annual Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Report Card at the Susquehanna River Basin Commission office in Harrisburg. For the first time, the Chesapeake Bay showed steady overall improvement, earning a C+ grade. This represents the highest grade ever awarded since the report’s inception. The Upper Bay, fed by the Susquehanna River, received one of the highest grades among all areas of the Bay, marking a notable improvement from the previous year.

Significance of the Results

Governor Shapiro highlighted the constitutional right of Pennsylvanians to clean air and pure water. He emphasized that his administration is committed to protecting this right through investment and collaboration. “This year, the Chesapeake Bay got its highest grade in 22 years, and the portion of the bay that the Susquehanna River flows into got the second-best grade of the entire watershed,” Shapiro noted.

The improvements result from sustained efforts and investments in the Chesapeake Bay restoration. The collaboration between various agencies and stakeholders has been crucial in achieving these results.

Contributions and Future Commitment

Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley pointed out that the cleaner water, better habitats, and healthier watersheds are direct returns on Pennsylvania’s investments over the past years. “Pennsylvania will build on the momentum from the last five years,” she said. This continued commitment aims to clean up local waterways and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.

Secretary Russell Redding and Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn also lauded the collective efforts. They acknowledged the role of strong partnerships and community involvement in driving these positive changes.

A Healthy Watershed for Prosperity

The health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed has significant ecological, societal, and economic implications. Improved water quality leads to healthier aquatic ecosystems, which support biodiversity. It also benefits local communities by providing cleaner water for drinking and recreation. Economically, a healthier watershed can boost tourism and fishing industries, creating jobs and revenue for the region.

A Model for Environmental Conservation

The positive trends in the watershed’s health could serve as a model for other regions facing similar environmental challenges. The success story of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay underscores the importance of coordinated efforts and sustained investments in environmental conservation.

Furthermore, the improvements highlight the effectiveness of policy measures and community engagement in addressing complex environmental issues. As Pennsylvania continues to invest in these initiatives, it sets a precedent for long-term environmental stewardship and resilience.

Governor Shapiro and state officials’ celebration of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay’s health improvements marks a significant milestone in Pennsylvania’s environmental journey. The historic C+ grade and remarkable progress underscore the collective efforts of various agencies, stakeholders, and communities. As Pennsylvania commits to further investment and collaboration, the future looks promising for the Chesapeake Bay watershed and its inhabitants.

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