A scheduled fundraiser to support Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Initiative has been broadened to include a land-based rally in support of the Chesapeake Bay Program, which the Trump administration has proposed to eliminate.
The Waterfront Partnership announced today that its June 10 paddling event from Canton to the Inner Harbor, called the Baltimore Floatilla, will now include a rally for the Chesapeake Bay. The show of support for the federal cleanup program will take place at the Inner Harbor amphitheater at 201 E. Pratt Street and in the water nearby from 9:30-11:30 a.m. that Saturday.
The second annual Baltimore Floatilla will begin at 8 a.m. that day at Canton Waterfront Park. Paddlers will head to the Inner Harbor and then return to Canton. Registration for the Floatilla costs $40 per person.
Organizers say the rally is being added as a reaction to possible cutbacks in the 2018 federal budget that would adversely affect cleanup efforts in the Chesapeake Bay.
“The effort to clean up the Harbor and the Bay is the result of a tremendous partnership between the public and private sectors,” said Michael Hankin, chairman of the Waterfront Partnership and president of Brown Advisory, in a statement. “Both have made significant contributions. The idea that our government would walk away from this effort is wrong for many reasons, including the message it sends to the thousands of private citizens who have sincerely contributed their time and financial resources in reliance on government fulfilling its responsibilities.”
The Chesapeake Bay Program has led the restoration effort for more than 30 years. Over the last three years, federal agencies have invested nearly $1.5 billion in the bay, and environmentalists say eliminating the program would threaten decades of progress.
“The Chesapeake Bay Program is not controversial. It’s science-based and it’s working,” said Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in a statement. “The Bay is getting better, yet for some reason the Trump administration wants to cancel the program. The time is now for everyone who cares about clean water to let their representatives know how important the Bay is.”
Blue Water Baltimore will host a free sign-making workshop the Saturday before the rally to help participants prepare.
“This is an opportunity for residents to make our voices heard to ensure that other states do their fair share in cleaning up the Bay,” said the organization’s interim executive director, Carl Simon, in a statement.
The Waterfront Partnership is asking hopeful land-side participants to RSVP on Healthy Harbor’s Facebook page. Experienced paddlers wishing to rally on the water are required to register in advance here.