For the Baltimore Harbor to be swimmable and fishable by 2020, we need to start working now. As an initial step, the Waterfront Partnership will host a first-ever State of the Harbor Conference on Feb. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Legg Mason building in Harbor East to provide a comprehensive look at the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the Harbor. National Geographic Emerging Explorer, award-winning filmmaker and globally recognized advocate on water issues Alexandra Cousteau – granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau – will be the conference’s keynote speaker.

Topics of discussion during the conference will include an update on the state of the Baltimore Harbor and tributary streams, a look at what other cities have done to reclaim their waterfronts, and a look at what attendees and the general public can do to help achieve the “fishable, swimmable” goal.  The program is open to the public and requires advance registration at www.healthyharborbaltimore.org.

In addition to Cousteau, conference-goers will hear from an impressive and knowledgeable roster of speakers from other urban areas across the country who will share their challenges and success stories on how they have restored their degraded harbors. Presenters include Bob Zimmerman from Charles River Watershed Association in Boston, Jim Foster from the Anacostia Watershed Society in Washington, Joe Rieger from the Elizabeth River Project in Norfolk, and Howard Neukrug of the Philadelphia Water Department.

Additionally, lunchtime elective workshops will give conference participants the opportunity to dig deeper into favorite topics. Exhibits from numerous agencies and non-profit partner organizations will introduce conference attendees to the wide range of expertise and opportunities for involvement from organizations already hard at work in helping to green the city and educate the public.

The Waterfront Partnership launched the Healthy Harbor initiative in April 2010 with the mission to make the Baltimore Harbor clean and vibrant enough for swimming, fishing, and other water activities. Waterfront Partnership is leading Baltimore’s initiative by instituting a series of initial cleaning and greening practices and projects.

For more information visit healthyharborbaltimore.org