Governor Larry Hogan Names Chesapeake Conservancy President & CEO Joel Dunn ‘Chesapeake Bay Ambassador’

Lt. Governor Rutherford and Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio Presented Honor at Board of Public Works Meeting

(Annapolis, MD) Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has named Annapolis resident Joel Dunn, president and CEO of Chesapeake Conservancy, a “Chesapeake Bay Ambassador.” Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio presented the honor at the December 2, 2020 Board of Public Works meeting.

“Joel’s efforts have bettered the community and the state,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “That started actually long before he got involved with the Chesapeake Conservancy.”

“It is really an honor to be able to participate in this presentation, albeit virtually,” said Secretary Haddaway-Riccio. “You hear me talk about partnerships a lot, and that is because government alone cannot achieve all of the goals that we have for our environment in Maryland and throughout the world. One of our strongest partnerships is with the Chesapeake Conservancy, under Joel’s leadership. This is one of the highest and most prestigious awards that the state confers upon citizens who are active leaders in the fight for the Chesapeake Bay.”

“I am grateful and humbled by this recognition. As you know, conservation is a worthy endeavor that takes years of relentless effort, even decades sometimes, to succeed,” said Dunn. “It’s not possible without a whole team of committed people, like the staff and Board of the Chesapeake Conservancy, and requires the extraordinary support, encouragement, and consolation I receive from my wife through the various successes and failures involved.”

“The Hogan Administration has been exemplary in providing full funding for Program Open Space, Chesapeake And Coastal Bays Trust Fund, the Bay Restoration Fund, and defending and supporting our many vital federal programs such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, National Park Service’s Chesapeake Gateways Program and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail,” continued Dunn.

Under Dunn’s leadership during the past 10 years, Chesapeake Conservancy has become an influential conservation organization delivering results for the people of Maryland and throughout the watershed through their programs and partnerships. The nonprofit is the principal partner to the National Park Service and a major partner of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, working to increase public access and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay by using the latest groundbreaking technology and collaborative partnerships.

The organization has received acclaim for the creation of the Conservation Innovation Center, Precision Conservation Partnership, and co-creation of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership with the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office.

Examples of the Chesapeake Conservancy’s major conservation projects in Maryland include the expansions of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Quiet Waters Park, establishing the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, as well as the coordination and partial funding of the protection of more than 2,700 acres in the Nanticoke River watershed. Chesapeake Conservancy has embraced the global call to protect 30% of the planet by 2030 and has the goal to do so within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Dunn is known for his track record of bipartisan consensus building, bringing together state officials, public agencies, numerous nonprofits, and private stakeholders to solve problems and achieve common goals. He leads Chesapeake Conservancy’s advocacy work along with partners for full funding of Program Open Space, the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, and the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund, and various federal programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Chesapeake Bay Gateways Program, all of which support parks, public access sites, and restoration projects. He recently served on the Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission and the Maryland Department of Transportation Attainment Report Advisory Committee.  He is also the vice chairman of the Partners for Open Space.

Chesapeake Conservancy is currently working with a coalition to call for the establishment of a Chesapeake National Recreation Area (CNRA), which would be an official unit of the National Park System. The effort has the support of both Maryland and Virginia’s governors and would put the Bay appropriately on par with other valued sites such as the Grand Canyon, Everglades and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Dunn earned a Master of Public Policy from the Terry Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and a Master of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences from Duke University, where he was a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow. He holds a Bachelor of Science from The Evergreen State College. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife, two daughters, and Labrador retriever.