Last year we brought to you the first- of-their-kind local waterways modules created for local governments living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These educational resources offer high-level overviews of how watersheds work, the foundations of the Clean Water Act, how clean water impacts our economy, and much more. Through more funding, the Chesapeake Bay Program has been able to add in more modules and develop a website for increased opportunities to educate and share this valuable information.
Protect Local Waterways is a one stop shop for case studies, videos, handouts, and presentations that can be used by a variety of audiences. The newest modules include issues pertaining to Hampton Roads, like how to address increased precipitation and flooding concerns. With eleven total modules, anyone can learn as much as they’d like on topics important to their community. Large-scale issues like environmental justice and climate concerns cut across all modules and are weaved intentionally throughout. These modules and their support materials are also customizable to encourage localities to inform their communities in a way that’s unique to them.
As the timeline for reaching water quality standards for the Chesapeake Bay moves beyond the initial 2025 target, more eyes are turning towards local governments to continue on the path towards recovery. Through a better understanding of how improvements in local water quality not only impact the Bay but also can impact a community as a whole, can be motivating. For example, planting more trees to make improvements in air quality, reductions in pollutants to waterways, and decreasing urban heat island effects can have a direct impact on reducing stress and crime rates in a community. The website also offers ideas for localities to consider, like the creation of workforce development programs to support the ever-growing green economy, investments in Scientific, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education for underserved communities, and building in resilience and flexibility into infrastructure plans.