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License Plate Boosts Efforts to Save the Bay

Buying the Bay Plate supports education programs and restoration work benefitting the Chesapeake Bay. (
Buying the Bay Plate supports education programs and restoration work benefitting the Chesapeake Bay. (
October 18, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – For people who love the Chesapeake Bay and want to help protect it, one of the easiest ways is by purchasing the Bay Plate. Since it was released in 1991, about 400,000 have been sold, with the money going to help clean up and protect the Bay.

Kelly Swartout, Director of Marketing & Development for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, is hoping to encourage more people to buy the plate because she said the funds are needed for projects around the watershed that will make a tremendous impact for the bay.

"We educate over 100,000 students every year, that's 5,000 teachers," she said. "We give to community associations, nonprofit organizations that do the work actually, they do the field trips or they do the restoration work. "

The Chesapeake Bay Trust distributes about $10 million a year to various groups who work to protect the bay, and part of that funding is through the Bay Plate program. The Bay Plate is $20 and can be purchased by mail, in person at the Motor Vehicle Administration or online at

Swartout said the funds from the Bay Plate program allow a lot of key work to be done.

"Turning vacant lots into green areas, doing a forested buffer, planting more trees, cleaning up trash out of the bay, putting more wetlands in, shoreline restoration projects," she added. "Right now for every project that we fund, we have to turn away two because that's how much money is needed."

As of 2015, more than 18 million people lived in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, that's expected to surpass 20 million by 2030, and reach 21.4 million by 2040.

Veronica Carter/Shaine Smith, Public News Service - MD