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News and Resources

Citizens Committee Guides Bays Program - October 20, 2010

No matter what the Maryland Coastal Bays Program does, there will always be some who think the Coastal Bays Program does not go far enough to protect the watershed, while there will be others who believe we should go farther and then there are others who simply do not know what we do nor care to learn why we do it.  

As part of the National Estuary Program, we work with partners to reach consensus on issues related to conservation in the bays behind Ocean City and Assteague. Ocean City, Berlin, Worcester County, the state of Maryland and the US Environmental Protection agency are all partners who work hard to fulfill the goals in the Coastal Bays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan,--created by local farmers, developers, scientists, recreational and commercial fishermen, tourism professionals and local business owners.

Since 1996 our focus has been to protect and enhance the health of the bays behind Assateague and Ocean City, and our method to accomplish these goals has always been to reach common ground through listening and learning. Our work represents a consensus of the best means needed to preserve the economic and ecological prosperity of the coastal bays in the next century.

Unlike advocacy groups, consensus building groups seek to achieve overwhelming agreement after sincere efforts are made to meet the interests of all stakeholders. It should be noted, however, that consensus building does not have a goal of unanimity. Rather it is successful when everyone involved can live with the final agreement and that every effort has been made to address stakeholders’ priority interests.

And the more involved, the better. Through education and outreach programs, restoration projects and involvement with business owners, builders, residents, visitors and government leaders, we work to improve water quality, protect habitat and enhance forests and wetlands.

These projects we work on are not projects that staff sits around and dreams up, they are projects driven by our partners, which you, who are reading this right now, are a part of. And we would like you to consider becoming more active as a partner and join us for our next Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting.

The CAC is to be committee comprised of various stakeholders in our watershed interested in furthering our goals such as local fisherman, developers, golf course managers, business owners, community organizations, recreational boaters, farmers, environmentalists and residents who will work together to protect our coastal bays.

Our goal for 2011 is to expand this group and go forward building a stronger consensus group committed to protecting today’s treasure for tomorrow. MCBP holds monthly CAC meetings the third Wednesday of every month beginning at 7 pm. Please join us and become a part of a great group! For more information on the CAC group, contact sandis@mdcoastalbays.org or Sandi Smith at 410-213-2297.

Sandi Smith is Development and Marketing Director of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

 


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