It is time for me to say farewell. I have been leading the Alliance for almost seven years and it has been my honor to have headed up the only independent nonprofit in the region exclusively advancing the partnership approach to Chesapeake cleanup.

In leaving the Alliance, I am going back to some of my political roots by joining one of the 2008 presidential campaigns. While I have been involved in many U.S. Senate, gubernatorial and mayoral campaigns-even serving as the first executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 1998-I have never been engaged in a presidential race.

Being part of this historic presidential campaign and dedicating the balance of this year to advancing positive change was an opportunity that I could not refuse.

Over the last few years, it has been my pleasure to lead the Alliance Board, staff and volunteers in many successful efforts.

One of the most important of those was Headwaters States Analysis, which assisted the Chesapeake Bay Program and states of Delaware, New York and West Virginia in defining their roles and participation in the cleanup effort.

Another highlight was the Chesapeake 2004-A Blueprint for Success report. This study helped to introduce the idea of a user fee to pay for wastewater treatment upgrades that would reduce nutrient flows to the Bay's tributaries. This concept was eventually adopted by Maryland.

The Chesapeake 2004 report also began to focus the Bay partnership on the need for unified action on the Farm Bill to fund agricultural best management practices. This report was one of the first to advance the notion that a viable farm economy is a key element to a clean Bay.

While the Alliance recognized the tremendous importance of the role of agriculture, it also highlighted the notion that the conversion of forests and farms to development is the 800-pound gorilla waiting in the wings that is going to ultimately determine the health of the Chesapeake watershed.

That is why the Alliance created the Builders for the Bay Program in cooperation with the Center for Watershed Protection and the National Association of Home Builders. Builders for the Bay helps local governments change building codes and ordinances to permit more environmentally friendly practices.

Agreeing with the late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, who stated that "all politics is local," the Alliance believes that "all restoration is local." The Alliance created it signature RestoreCorps Program to build the capacity of local watershed organizations to do more restoration. That effort has evolved into the Helping to Organize Center.

We were also the host of the first two Chesapeake Watershed Forums. These were the first venues in almost a decade that provided regional watershed organizations with an opportunity to learn restoration techniques and benefit from the experiences of other like-minded groups.

I am probably most proud of the fact that Alliance truly has become the voice for cooperative solutions in Chesapeake cleanup efforts. Grounded in a 1975 conference on Bay restoration, the Alliance concluded that any Chesapeake cleanup program should be based on a partnership approach.

The Alliance has continued to bring farmers, watermen, developers, builders, business leaders, local government officials, environmentalists and others to the table to develop long-term solutions to the Bay's restoration. This is true to the adage that we all have two eyes and two ears so that we can see and hear both sides of the issues.

Again, it has been a pleasure to serve all of you and remember, it is only by working together that we can finish the job of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

Alliance Seeking Executive Director

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, a regional non-profit based in Baltimore, MD, that advances collaborative solutions to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay, is seeking an executive director.

The director serves as the primary spokesperson for the Alliance, manages the Alliance staff and budget, is responsible for fund-raising and programmatic activities, and reports to a board of directors.

Candidates must have an undergraduate degree and at least 10 years of related experience-knowledge of Bay issues, non-profit management, grants and contracts, and fund-raising.

Please visit www.alliancechesbay.org for more information.