On Tuesday, March 12, President Trump signed into law S.47, the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, in an Oval Office ceremony surrounded by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The bill was made up of more than 100 individual bills introduced by 50 Senators and several House members.

The Act, passed overwhelmingly by the Senate and the House in recent weeks, has been touted as the most significant piece of conservation legislation in many years.

The Chesapeake watershed is one of the beneficiaries of the Act, through designation of the new Susquehanna National Heritage Area in Pennsylvania’s York and Lancaster counties. The designation follows a ten year effort coordinated by Susquehanna Heritage, a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. “This is an historic day for our region,” said Mark Platts, President of Susquehanna Heritage. “March 12th is now the official Birthday of the Susquehanna National Heritage Area!”
The Act includes many major conservation elements including permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which supports federal land protection and grants to all fifty states for park and recreation acquisitions and development.

The Act’s name honors John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, who died last month. Dingell amassed a significant conservation legacy during his decades in office.