OCCA director to lobby for watershed in D.C.

March 3, 2019

Leslie Orzetti, executive director of the Otsego County Conservation Association, will be part of a delegation to meet with New York members of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, according to a media release.

The delegation will meet to discuss maintaining programs to protect water quality in the New York portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed as part of Chesapeake Bay Lobby Day, organized by the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

Orzetti said it will be her first time attending the event.


Orzetti will be joined by other New York members of the coalition including Emily Dekar of the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, Mike Sellitti of the Sidney Center Improvement Group, Jim Pfiffer of Friends of the Chemung Watershed and Ramsay Adams of Catskill Mountain Keeper.

The group is scheduled to meet with local Congressmen Antonio Delgado of the 19th District and Anthony Brindisi of the 22nd District, 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, the release said.

"This is our chance to have a voice for the community, and we take that job very seriously,” Orzetti said in the release. “I’ve been working in the bay watershed for (more than) 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.”

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 in 19 counties. The largest and most productive estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay is a critical habitat for more than 2,700 species of plants and animals, and serves as an important source of food and recreation, the release said.

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

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