Fourteen new local governments were named Chesapeake Bay Partner Communities in 1999, while two counties honored in 1997 upgraded their participation to gold status.

The Chesapeake Bay Program relies on the significant contribution that local governments make to help meet its restoration and protection goals. It created the Chesapeake Bay Partner Communities program to recognize, encourage and support local governments that implement multidimensional projects that protect streams, rivers and the Bay.

Because local action is fundamental to restoring and sustaining the health of the Bay, it is hoped that by recognizing those communities that initiate protection measures, other local governments will be encouraged to participate in the cleanup effort, and that those who have already achieved Bay Partner status will do more. Twenty-four communities were named in 1997, the program’s inaugural year.

Communities participating in the Bay Partners Program are evaluated based on their population, size and ability to achieve a percentage of benchmarks in six categories: development that works, preventing pollution, conserving and preserving living resources, valuing trees and forests, conserving the countryside/ revitalizing the communities, and community participation.

Local governments achieving gold status in 1998 are:

  • City of Rockville, MD
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Talbot County, MD
  • Carroll County, MD (upgraded from bronze in 1997)
  • Queen Anne’s County, MD (upgraded from bronze in 1997)

Local governments achieving silver status in 1998 are:

  • Chester County, PA
  • Mt. Rainier, MD

Local governments achieving bronze status in 1998 are:

  • Arlington County, VA
  • Milesburg Borough, PA
  • College Township, PA
  • Township of Manheim, PA
  • Town of Hampstead, MD
  • Lancaster Township, PA
  • Town of Highland Beach, MD
  • Elizabethtown Borough, PA
  • Fairfax County, VA.

Each of the 16 will receive Bay Partner signs to display in its community, a signed certificated from the governor of their state and recognition for the environmental restoration and protection efforts at several large public events over the next few months.

Bay Partner Communities is run by the Local Government Advisory Committee of the Bay Program, which serves as an information clearinghouse by providing technical, managerial and informational assistance to the 1,650 local governments in the watershed.