WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Co-Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus and Co-Chair of the Wildlife Refuge Caucus, hosted a virtual First District Environmental Advisory Council meeting with local stakeholders and environmental leaders to provide updates on his work in Washington to protect the environment and received updates from attendees on continued environmental issues in the First District.
“As a life-long conservationist, I believe our nation is defined by our incredible natural resources and vibrant ecosystems across the country,” Congressman Wittman said. “We must ensure that we are taking care of the public lands and environment we rely on to recreate, relax, and reconnect. Thank you to all who participated in our meeting to discuss the issues facing our unique ecosystem along the Chesapeake Bay, the public lands within Virginia’s First District, and the habitats for local flora and fauna. In my role on the House Natural Resources Committee, I will continue to work to preserve our public lands for generations to come.”
Wednesday’s meeting follows Congressman Wittman’s vote last week on the historic Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The GAOA provides $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog and provides permanent funding at $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In Virginia alone, there is more than $1 billion worth of deferred maintenance at our national parks.
The GAOA funds come at a time of increased outdoor recreation as people turn to outdoor activities to combat the spread of COVID-19. These funds will also go towards conservation of vital lands along the Chesapeake Bay and the Bay watershed, lands that are vital to the overall ecological health of our region.
Organizations and individuals represented on the call include: Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Friends of the Dragon Run; Friends of the Rappahannock; Fish and Wildlife Rappahannock River Valley National Refuge; Citizens Climate Lobby; Friends of the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail; Keep Prince William Beautiful, a non-profit environmental organization; The Virginia Native Plant Society; Retired women and men from the EPA; Friends of Lake Caledon; The Nature Conservancy; Prince William Conservation Alliance; VA-01 County and City government Officials; Northern Neck Planning District Commission; Virginia Farm Bureau Federation; Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); and the Historic (Williamsburg) Land Conservancy.
Before being elected to Congress, Congressman Wittman served over 25 years as a public health scientist for the Virginia Department of Health, conducting field research in the Chesapeake Bay. From his experience, he is aware of the ecological challenges facing Virginia public lands, waters, and the environment.
Click here for additional work Congressman Wittman has done to support the environment