NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. –
Each year, on the first Saturday of June, Hampton Roads residents simultaneously descend on the rivers, streams, beaches and land-based properties of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to remove litter and debris. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participation will be slightly different. However, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) will be safely charging forward to participate in its own rendition of Clean the Bay Day (CTBD).
Since the origination of the event in 1989, approximately 152,000 Virginia volunteers have donated their time and energy towards CTBD, which has resulted in more than 6.5 million pounds of debris being removed from more than 7,390 miles of shoreline. One of the largest volunteer events in Virginia, this annual tradition is organized by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and local partners. It is an opportunity for families, military installations, businesses, clubs, civic and church groups to give back to the environment.
In 2019, Department of Defense (DoD) installations that participated in CTBD removed 24,506 pounds of trash, had 1,274 volunteers participate, and cleaned 60.45 miles of shoreline. However, last year, for the first time since its start, the event was canceled due to concerns over COVID-19. This year, the pandemic prevents NNSY employees from gathering together on one day as they have done in the past. NNSY and the surrounding communities are adapting this year's event to continue the tradition in a safe and effective way. The official 2021 event will last six days, Monday, May 31 to Saturday, June 5. The extended period gives participants flexibility to do a litter clean up anytime during those six days.
NNSY’s Natural Resources Manager Hayley Becker is coordinating the shipyard’s participation this year. She believes that events such as CTBD demonstrate NNSY’s good stewardship of the local environment. Becker said, “This event is a big stewardship exercise for the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. Our installation directly and indirectly affects the creeks, streams and rivers leading to the bay.”
NNSY has historically partnered on the CTBD event with Naval Station Norfolk (NSN) and other commands; however, in 2016, NNSY began organizing its own events, separate from other commands. The NNSY event focuses on cleaning its surrounding waterways that directly affect the Chesapeake Bay.
CTBD is a model for teamwork, with the program built on lasting relationships between dozens of cities and counties, non-profits, military installations, small businesses, and large corporations. On CTBD, NNSY comes together for a common cause: clean water, environmental awareness and education. It is a combined community and government demonstration of commitment to the restoration and preservation of the Chesapeake Bay. With more than 60 military installations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area, a strong presence at events such as CTBD shows the Navy’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
For the NNSY family, every day, each of us can do our part to make the Chesapeake Bay even more beautiful by preventing and picking up litter. Adopting a proactive posture, and continuing to make CTBD a command event, ensures the greatest turnout of volunteers and heightens awareness of the need to protect the environment from pollution.
For more information on CTBD, visit https://www.cbf.org/events/clean-the-bay-day/.