Watershed Heroes honored by Maryland’s Tributary Teams at Annual Meeting
Dr. Peter Bergstrom, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was honored with the prestigious 2008 Bernie Fowler Award at Maryland’s 13th Annual Tributary Team meeting on February 7. The so-called “White Sneaker Award” is named for the former State Senator who initiated the annual Patuxent River wade-ins more than 25 years ago to test water turbidity and bring attention to declining water quality. The award is given annually to recognize outstanding contributions of a tributary team member to Bay health and habitat.
“For Peter Bergstrom, working to restore the Chesapeake Bay is both his vocation and his avocation,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “When he is not at his day job with NOAA, he volunteers his services and expertise to any number of groups working to protect the Bay and its tributaries. Peter is an excellent example of the type of knowledgeable citizen activist that plays such an important role in our efforts to restore the Bay.”
“I’m honored to be part of the tradition of local environmental awareness and stewardship that Bernie Fowler has promoted for many years,” said Dr. Bergstrom upon receiving the award. “I look forward to continuing this work with NOAA partners, local watershed groups, and the tributary teams.”
Established in 1995, Maryland’s Tributary Teams are made up of more than 350 volunteer members comprised of citizens, business leaders, farmers and government officials, charged with helping implement pollution prevention measures in the State’s 10 major tributary basins. The ongoing work of the teams is a model for citizen involvement and action.
Under the Smart, Green & Growing initiative launched last year, the O’Malley-Brown Administration is working to involve every Marylander in reducing the State’s carbon footprint, preserving our most valuable resource lands and restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
“Now more than ever, the tireless efforts of our Tributary Team members are vital to our ability to improve water quality and reach our pollution reduction goals,” added the Governor. “Their dedication inspires other Marylanders to get involved on a local level in working towards a smarter, greener more sustainable future for the Bay and beyond.”
“We are thrilled that Peter is receiving this award,” said Peyton Robertson, the Director of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.” It reflects both his hard work as a submerged aquatic vegetation expert with the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office and his commitment to the Bay as an active volunteer with the Magothy River Association. Peter continually strives to improve the health of the Bay.”
In addition to his work with NOAA, Dr. Bergstrom is the Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator with the Magothy River Association and a member of the Maryland Lower Western Shore Tributary Team and the Maryland BayStat Science Advisory Panel. He has worked in Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort since 1989, and has done volunteer water quality monitoring at several sites on the Magothy River since 1991.
The Teams also presented 10 Tributary Teams Watershed Hero Awards on Saturday, to team members who made exceptional contributions in 2008:
Choptank Tributary Team: Bill Wolinski, team Vice Chair and employed by Talbot County Department of Public Works, for his continued innovation and steadfast commitment to the Bay.
Lower Eastern Shore Tributary Team: Steele Phillips, a farmer, for his years of dedication and work as a founding member of the Lower Eastern Shore Tributary Team.
Lower Potomac Tributary Team: Bob Lewis, Executive Director of the St Mary’s River Watershed Association, for being a major driving force behind the St. Mary’s River WRAS project.
Lower Western Shore Tributary Team: Bob Gallagher, an attorney, for his work as the founder and Executive Director of the West/Rhode Riverkeeper organization.
Middle Potomac Tributary Team: Mark Symborski, Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission employee and Montgomery County team representative, for his work as a local government planner and for his efforts as a citizen to engage the public in Bay restoration efforts.
Patapsco/Back Tributary Team: Fran Flanigan, former team chair, longtime Executive Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and lifelong Bay advocate; Mary Roby, Executive Director of the Herring Run Watershed Association; and Halle Van der Gaag, Executive Director of the Jones Falls Watershed Association, for their efforts on the Opinion Works survey and new Watershed Agreement signed by the Mayor of Baltimore and the Baltimore County Executive.
Patuxent River Commission: Mike Leszcz, Vice Chair and City of Laurel commissioner, for using his facilitation skills to tackle very contentious issues regarding water quality concerns and environmental policies about the river.
Upper Eastern Shore Tributary Team: John and Ellyn Vail, citizen volunteers, for their work establishing the Sassafras River Association, and their support of efforts to reduce non-point source pollution entering the Chesapeake Bay.
Upper Potomac Tributary Team: Dan Bard, Soil Conservation District Western Maryland Area Coordinator, from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, for his long standing dedication to the team.
Upper Western Shore Tributary Team: Laura O’Leary, a Harford county high school teacher, for leading a collaborative student and community effort to build, maintain and monitor a treatment wetland that helps to reduce nutrient loading to the Bay.
For more information about Maryland’s Tributary Teams, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov /bay/tribstrat/