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Otsego County Conservation Association has been designated the New York Outreach Lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

“We are proud to have Otsego County Conservation Association as the New York coalition lead this year,” said Mariah Davis, field manager of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “OCCA represents a legacy of conservation and leadership taking place at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We are excited to explore new opportunities to engage stakeholders and convene coalition members to restore the mighty Susquehanna through the Upper Susquehanna Forum and beyond.”

Comprised of over 230 local, state, regional and national organizations, the coalition is working to restore clean water to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. New York is one of six states, plus the District of Columbia, that makes up the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Coalition leads play an integral role in connecting our members to clean water initiatives at the state and local level in order to address water quality throughout the Bay watershed.

“We’re honored to have been selected as outreach lead for New York,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s Executive Director. “OCCA has long been advocating for environmental stewardship in our own county, and this new position allows us to expand our reach and work with partners within the New York portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to promote clean water and help meet the Chesapeake Bay clean up targets.”

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 watershed’s largest input of freshwater comes from the Susquehanna River which begins in Cooperstown at the base of Otsego Lake and winds 444 miles to the head of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  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.

“Maintaining and improving the health of the bay watershed is important for environmental and economic reasons,” Orzetti said. “As the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, New York plays an especially important part in the bay’s health.”

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.

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