Federal and state Bay restoration leaders recognized seven local governments for their leadership and dedication to protecting and restoring their part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The communities receiving the Gold Partners designation are Anne Arundel County, MD; Frederick County, MD; Prince William County County, VA; and City of Salisbury, MD.

The Silver Partners are Loyalsock Township, PA; Town of Purcellville, VA; and Town of Rock Hall, MD.

“With more than 1,650 local governments making decisions about how we manage the land in the Bay watershed, it’s critical that we commend those leading the way,” said Chesapeake Bay Program Director Rebecca Hanmer.

“By promoting Bay-friendly activities, from planting streamside buffers to preserving open space, these governments are showing us how to bring back the Chesapeake Bay one community at a time,” she said.

Launched in 1997, the Bay Partner community program recognizes local governments in the Chesapeake watershed for their commitment to protecting and restoring the Bay and its rivers.

Communities are evaluated and selected based on the municipality’s population and the percentage of benchmarks met in four categories: improving water quality, promoting sound land use, protecting and restoring living resources and habitat and engaging their community. Gold level partners have to meet a higher percentage of the benchmarks than the silver and bronze partners.

At present, 70 communities throughout the watershed are recognized as Chesapeake Bay Partner Communities.

The awards are sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Program and its Local Government Advisory Committee. The committee was created in recognition of the critical role that local governments play in the partnership’s ability to achieve its goals—they have statutory authority over stormwater, land use and water and sewer management.