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Air Traffic Controlman 1st Class Russell Long participates in the annual Clean the Bay Day at Dam Neck Annex beach. Clean the Bay Day is designed to assist conservation efforts regarding the Chesapeake Bay, to include removing harmful litter and debris from the Bay's waters and shore and promoting the importance of local stewardship and conservation efforts.

VIRGINIA BEACH

More than 80 Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana and Dam Neck Annex Sailors participated in Clean the Bay Day at the Dam Neck Annex beach. Clean the Bay Day is an annual event designed to organize local communities and military installation personnel for the benefit of the Chesapeake Bay, to include removing harmful litter and debris from the Bay's waters and shore and promoting the importance of local stewardship and conservation efforts.

“Today is about our relationship with the Bay, not only do we live here and wish to keep it clean, but we share it with an abundance of wildlife. Our relationship with this ecosystem and all its inhabitance depend on us working to preserve this natural area,” NAS Oceana’s Clean the Bay Day event coordinator Chief Culinary Specialist Gloria Moody said. “Everyone here today invested in helping local wildlife and keeping our natural areas beautiful and I believe it is our responsibility to lead when it comes to stewardship and the preservation of the oceans that we rely on so heavily.”

The Department of Defense (DOD) was the first federal agency to become formally involved in the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. In the early 90s, the Navy was named as the designated lead agency for the DOD. The joint program is managed by Navy Region Mid-Atlantic within the Regional Environmental Coordination (REC) office for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region III located in Norfolk, Virginia.

The DOD Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) team represents DOD throughout the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership including goal implementation teams, work groups, various committees and action teams. In addition, the DOD CBP formulates initiatives for Chesapeake Bay agreements; develops partnerships with other federal and state agencies, local governments and non-profit organizations; promotes cross-agency information sharing through outreach mechanisms and materials; tracks and reports progress and coordinates DOD positions related to Chesapeake Bay policy development.

All persons interested in increasing their contribution can continue to save the Bay throughout the year by becoming a better Bay steward at home and work.

• Use natural cleaners — use natural, non-toxic, phosphate-free cleaners for most cleaning tasks. You'll be reducing toxic chemicals in wastewater while saving money.

• Reduce fertilizer use — always get a soil test first to be sure what your lawn requires; use fertilizer sparingly, and only when necessary. Excessive fertilizers contribute to nitrogen and phosphorus overload in rivers and the Bay, which can lead to low oxygen levels and dead zones.

• Only rain in storm drains — allow only rain to go down the storm drain and use a broom not a hose or power blower, to clean debris from decks, patios and driveways. You'll save water, reduce emissions and curb stormwater runoff.

• Practice Bay-friendly car care — take your vehicle to a commercial car wash or wash your car on an unpaved surface with phosphate-free soap so water soaks into the ground, not into the storm drain.

• Reduce rainwater runoff — direct rainwater away from paved surfaces; direct gutter downspouts onto lawn, flower beds or rain garden or into a rain barrel.

“The world is a special place, it’s one of a kind and we aren’t going to get a new one anytime soon so whatever we can to do help the world along even if it’s just the small things I am all for it,” Yeoman 3rd Class Virginia De Philip Antonio said. “This is the only world for us, so we should all do what we can for it even just if it’s little things like picking up trash off the road or cleaning up a beach. Do what you can because this is our home no matter what you are involved in or where you are or what you are doing you can always take a moment to bend down and pick up a piece of trash and throw it away.”

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