The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers approximately 64,000
square miles (164,000 km2) and comprises one of the most important
estuaries in the North Atlantic. With rapid development along its
shores destroying vast swaths of wetlands and buffering forest, and
polluted with a steady increase in agrochemical runoff from the 1950s
on, this once thriving estuarine ecosystem was headed toward collapse.
A forty-year campaign by The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other
stakeholders has gradually turned the tide, with current political will
at the point of tipping toward long-term restoration and protection of
the Bay. The Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Act (H.R. 3852/S.
1816) was introduced to both chambers of the United States Congress
last October, on its way to mark-up at the end of this year. These two
bills seek to amend the Federal Clean Water Act (Section 117) to ensure
that the six states of the Bay watershed, plus the District of
Columbia, develop and implement detailed plans to reduce pollution
sufficiently to achieve Bay-wide pollution reduction targets for
nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment by 2025.
The Chesapeake Bay RAVE, a project of the International League of
Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
(CBF), is a collaborative effort to highlight the importance of this
legislation through photographs, video, and stories from across the
Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. iLCP and CBF will use the collected
media from the RAVE to document issues facing the Bay and to produce an exhibit of
thirty photographs to premiere in September 2010 on Capitol Hill. The compelling visual media displayed will help facilitate news
coverage on the urgency of the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Act, advocating for the restoration of the Bay’s health and its protection in the
long term. The expedition team is composed of iLCP
photographers from across North America, including several who live
within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.