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Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Their motto, Save the Bay, defines the organization's mission and commitment to reducing pollution, improving fisheries, and protecting and restoring natural resources such as wetlands, forests, and underwater grasses. CBF headquarters is in Annapolis, MD, and has state offices in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. CBF also operates 15 environmental education programs. 

In 1964, a group of Baltimore businessmen, all sailors, waterfowl hunters, and fishermen, met to discuss problems they saw looming on the Chesapeake: more boats, more people, more houses, poor sewage treatment, dirty industrial discharges. They began to investigate what could be done to "save the bay." This was no small task. When Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in the early 60s, the Bay was already well underway to its demise if the tide was not turned. But the watershed involves several states (PA, MD, DE, VA, DC) and the problems emanated from sources far from the main body of the Bay. To effect change, a major movement would have to be created. CBF was founded in 1967.

Today, CBF is supported by more than 140,000 active members and has a staff of approximately 165 full-time employees. More than 90 percent of CBF's $17.5 million annual budget is privately raised. From modest beginnings, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation grew on the strength of two basic principles: 1) get public support to influence government action and 2) the best way to teach people about the Bay is on it and in it. The simple call the "Save the Bay" has served the organization well for almost forty years.

In 1991, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, CBF commissioned the writing of the book Turning the Tide: Saving the Chesapeake Bay as a "State of the Bay Report." In 1993, the Foundation began a long-term planning process designed to refocus its goals and to structure it for the 21st century. The planning resulted in development in 1996 of nine indicator benchmarks for Bay restoration over the next 10-20 years. They include wetlands, underwater grasses, forested stream buffers, migratory fish, oysters, toxics, dissolved oxygen, water clarity, and loss of resource lands.

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