Maryland state Sen. Guy Guzzone hands the Chairman's gavel over to Sen. Gene Yaw during a CBC meeting in Annapolis, MD, Friday, Jan 3. Photo provided

Harrisburg, Pa. – State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) has assumed the role of Chairman of the tri-state Chesapeake Bay Commission (CBC) for the 2020 calendar year. Yaw is the first member and chairman of the CBC to have a legislative district that covers the northernmost part of the watershed to the New York border.

The Chesapeake Bay Commission guides policy making regarding restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. It's mission, according to a release from Senator Yaw's office, is to "identify critical environmental needs, evaluate public concerns, and ensure state and Federal actions to sustain the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay."

As Chairman, Yaw will oversee the policy making efforts of the 21-member Commission. Members include senators and house members from Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, along with heads of the natural resources agencies, and a prominent citizen member from each member state.

“We all want to have and protect clean water in our streams and the residents of my district work very hard at being good stewards of our resources,” Yaw said. He credits his "northern tier roots," along with his experience as a member of the Commission for a number of years for his "understanding of where we need to target our clean-up efforts for the Bay, most of which begins south of Harrisburg,” he added.

As he took over the gavel, Yaw announced his intent to have the Commission continue to focus attention on the Susquehanna River watershed, the single-largest tributary to the Chesapeake Bay supplying over 50 percent of the freshwater flowing into the Bay.

The 23rd Senate District, consisting of Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Union counties, is unique in that the district includes both the North Branch and the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

Senator Yaw has served as a member of the CBC since 2014, most recently serving as Chair of the Pennsylvania delegation.  He now takes over leadership from Maryland Senate Democratic Majority Leader, Senator Guy J. Guzzone (D-13), who represents Howard County.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.