Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Clean Water Network!

If you’re anything like me, you spent the beginning of this week emerging from the holiday lull.  You’ve re-acclimated yourself to scheduling meetings and returning voicemails, and are now ready to take on the new year.  While I’m excited to be jumping full-speed into 2016, I also spent some time in the last couple of days reflecting on the best moments for Clean Water Network in 2015.

Here’s my countdown of our top five big hits of 2015.


5) In an event arranged by Clean Water Network, member group Blue Water Baltimore took Senator Cardin on a tour of their local projects to green the neighborhoods of Baltimore and forge strong community partnerships, while protecting Maryland’s waterways from urban runoff. Senator Cardin learned more about the challenges facing Baltimore’s waters and the people who live around them from the local groups who know the community best, and Blue Water Baltimore got the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with one of their most important elected officials.

4) The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership held a community forum with EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin to educate citizens about the benefits of the Clean Water Rule.  Attendees got the opportunity to learn from the Regional Administrator himself about the new policy to protect streams and wetlands, and ask local experts about the impacts to their community.  TTF was funded to hold this forum through a re-grant through the Clean Water Network.  They were eligible to receive this re-grant as a dues-paying member of the Network.

3) With a similar re-grant through the Clean Water Network, Friends of the Wissahickon educated the community about the EPA’s new Clean Water Rule and mobilized their members to demonstrate their support for clean water during their annual ice-cream social event.  From families with young kids to retirees looking to volunteer, the event turned out folks from all walks of life who care about Wissahickon Creek.  Senator Bob Casey’s district staff even came out to the event, and asked about opportunities to work together in the future.

2) This fall Clean Water Network held our first Southeast Regional Meeting, with folks from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.  We discussed issues like water allocation, flow, and pipelines that affect states all across the region.  Folks had the opportunity to ask one another questions about their experiences, share their own frustrations and challenges, discuss successful messages on those issues, and formulate a strategy around opportunities for action.  The groups made a plan to jump on an opportunity to ask EPA to strengthen their work to regulate instream flow through water quality standards, and plan to meet with EPA Region 4 early in 2016.

1) Defending the Clean Water Rule has been a top priority for Clean Water Network and many of our member groups for quite some time.  We’ve sent in public comments, heard briefings, made phone calls to members of Congress and more–all to ensure that the Clean Water Rule makes it to the finish line and protects our nation’s waters. Fortunately, the Rule has now withstood every attack that polluters could muster in Congress- the Barrasso bill, the CRA measure, and an attempted budget rider. And while the rule was also attacked in the courts, experts are confident that the rule is legally sound and will ultimately be upheld.