Chesapeake Conservancy Statement on the Passing of Former U.S. Senator John Warner, Member of the Board of Directors

Annapolis, MD – The following statement is attributable to Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn on the passing of former U.S. Senator John Warner, a member of Chesapeake Conservancy’s Board of Directors and the recipient of the organization’s 2016 Champions of the Chesapeake Award.

John Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 and served five consecutive terms, establishing a record as the second-longest serving U.S. Senator in Virginia’s history. He supported legislation to create and support the Chesapeake Bay Program and was instrumental in passing legislation to establish the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail in 2006.

“Senator Warner loved Virginia and he loved the Chesapeake Bay and its great rivers.

“As one of the first members of Congress to seek legislative actions to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay, he also supported legislation to create and support the Chesapeake Bay Program.

“Along with the late Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, Senator Warner was a force behind the creation of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail in 2006, which led to new opportunities for partnerships, collective impact and new federal, state and private funding for conservation, public access and restoration.

“As a board member of the Chesapeake Conservancy, he helped guide our nonprofit and inspired our work. He was passionate about protecting Fones Cliffs along the Rappahannock River and took part in a 2017 ceremony to return a parcel of land there to the Rappahannock Tribe, made possible by the financial support and generosity of his daughter, Virginia.

“He was one of the kindest men I’ve ever known. He frequently took the time to call me personally to discuss Chesapeake conservation priorities, sharing stories from his lifetime in politics and governance. These were some of the most memorable conversations of my life, and were invaluable lessons on how to get things done.”

During his acceptance speech at the 2016 Champions of the Chesapeake Awards ceremony, Senator Warner said this about Fones Cliffs, “Like many of you, this is a place that I would like to see conserved for future generations. In fact, I told Joel seeing to that would be one of my signature efforts. This is as important to me as my work to get rid of Embry dam, also along the Rappahannock, which robbed many species from being able to migrate upstream. Well, we got that done. Embry dam is gone. And now we’re going to get this done too.”