Fifty years ago, the magnitude of pollution in the Androscoggin and other Maine rivers reached a tipping point, helping to galvanize passage of the Clean Water Act. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) will recognize 50 Clean Water Champions who have been leaders in river, lake, coastal water, and drinking water clean-up.
NRCM has launched a nomination webpage where Mainers can nominate individual champions in one of four categories: paid professionals, unpaid volunteers, posthumous recognition, and other. The deadline for nominations is July 15, 2022. A selection committee will then choose the 50 Clean Water Champions, to be announced to the public in September.
“Clean water is central to Maine’s identity and vital for the future of our economy and way of life. Honoring 50 of Maine’s Clean Water Champions will reflect our shared love for Maine’s rivers, lakes, streams, and coastal waters,” said NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann. “That’s why we’re so excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the nation’s Clean Water Act, which has played a critical role in Maine and across the nation in improving the quality of our waterways.”
NRCM is also working with partners across Maine to launch a statewide celebration of the Clean Water Act that will acknowledge how much has been accomplished since its passage while committing to further progress.
The passage of the CWA on October 18, 1972, was driven in part by Maine’s posterchild polluted rivers and relied on leadership from former U.S. Senator Edmund Muskie, local scientists, and advocacy from state-based conservation groups, reinforcing the unique role everyone — from political leaders to businesses and everyday Mainers — has in protecting clean water.
“When the Clean Water Act was signed into law 50 years ago, the nation made a decisive choice for a healthy environment over pollution,” said NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim. “We are blessed by those who continue to work to advance the law’s goals of eliminating all discharges to our waters and making all our waters fishable and swimmable, and by the people and organizations that made the Clean Water Act a reality.”