Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE.

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(COOPERSTOWN) – Leslie Orzetti, Executive Director for Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) will be part of a delegation to meet with New York Members of Congress in Washington, DC on March 6. The delegation is meeting to discuss the importance of maintaining programs to help protect water quality in the NY portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed as part of Chesapeake Bay Lobby Day, organized by the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

“This is my first time attending ‘Chesapeake Bay Lobby Day’ with the Choose Clean Water Coalition, and I am proud to represent NY and our headwaters portion of the watershed,” said Orzetti.

Orzetti, the designated New York Outreach Lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC), will be joined by other New York members of the coalition including Emily Dekar (Upper Susquehanna Coalition), Mike Sellitti (Sidney Center Improvement Group), Jim Pfiffer (Friends of the Chemung Watershed), and Ramsay Adams (Catskill Mountain Keeper).

The group is scheduled to meet with Representatives Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) and Tom Reed (NY-23), and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Topics to be covered include funding appropriations for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, conservation programs included in the Farm Bill, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and new rules proposed that decrease protection for waterways under the Clean Water Act.  

“This is our chance to have a voice for the community, and we take that job very seriously,” said Orzetti.  “I’ve been working in the Bay watershed for over 20 years now, and hopefully I can bring some of that knowledge to our representatives and help them understand the importance of a healthy Chesapeake Bay watershed.”

This is the seventh annual Chesapeake Bay Lobby Day organized by the Choose Clean Water Coalition, an organization working to restore clean water to the Chesapeake Bay watershed  The intention of the day is to inform leaders in the six Chesapeake Bay states of the importance of clean water, what member organizations have done to help protect waters in each Congressperson’s state, and to thank them for their support of legislation to help keep our water ways clean and healthy for all citizens and the organisms that rely upon them.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 64,000 acres in six states and the District of Columbia. The New York portion of the watershed comprises 6,250 acres across 19 counties. The largest and most productive estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay is a critical habitat for over 2,700 species of plants and animals, and serves as an important source of food and recreation.

“The largest input of fresh water in the Bay comes from the Susquehanna River,” Orzetti noted. “Our position at the headwaters puts us in a unique position to help protect this critical resource.”

Found in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call(607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.