Assateague Coastal Trust
ACT To Protect Our Coastal Bays
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Photo by Adrian J., IAN Image Library (www.ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary)

Our Mission

Advocacy, Conservation, and Education

The Assateague Coastal Trust’s mission is to promote and encourage the protection of the health, productivity, and sustainability of the coastal bays watershed of Delmarva through advocacy, conservation, and education.

The Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland & Virginia) coastal area is a fragile, constantly changing ecosystem. Maintaining the health of this ecosystem is critical to preserving the way of life that is unique to the shore.

ACT is committed to protecting our watershed to ensure clean waterways for humans and wildlife, quality public health, and sustainable economic growth now and for future generations.



“We should set aside some wilderness areas of seashore where the relations of sea and wind and shore – of all living things in their physical world – remain as they have been over long vistas of time.”

 — Rachel Carson

ACT has a long history of environmental advocacy in the Maryland and Virginia coastal bays region, beginning with its landmark efforts in the early 1970s to preserve the unspoiled character of Assateague Island, which is now protected as a National Seashore.

The oldest environmental advocacy organization protecting the coastal bays, ACT has grown to include over 700 members and community partners. Our Watershed, the Atlantic coastal bays watershed includes the eastern portions of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Known for its rich soils and productive waters, the region has traditionally supported vibrant farming, fishing, and tourism industries. The watershed is home to a host of wildlife species who thrive in habitats as diverse as pine forests, salt marshes, and freshwater creeks.

But recent years have witnessed increasing development pressure. Poorly-planned growth threatens the area’s environmental health, rural character, and high quality of life. As one of the only advocacy organizations working to protect the coastal bays watershed, ACT is uniquely suited to combat these negative trends. With the help of its volunteers and supporters, ACT is committed to keep working for clean water, open space, and controlled growth in the coastal bays region.

ACT works to preserve the coastal bays through its Advocacy, Education and Conservation programs.

CoastKeeper Program
ACT dramatically expanded its Advocacy efforts in 2002, when it launched the Assateague Coastkeeper program. The is an on on-the-water advocate for the coastal bays and works collaboratively with coastal bays communities as well as local, state, and federal governments and agencies to identify threats to coastal bays water quality and to support monitoring and restoration efforts. Associated with the Alliance(a grassroots environmental advocacy organization with over 150 Waterkeepers programs worldwide), the Assateague Coastkeeper is dedicated to protecting the quality of the coastal bays for generations to come.

Coast Kids
Coast Kids is an environmental education program for kids and their families. The program’s mission is to help children develop a sense of place - a geographical and ecological awareness that will encourage greater enjoyment of where they live, greater interest in the environment, and ultimately, greater stewardship of the coastal bays. Coast Kids features monthly events that offer interactive, hands-on explorations of the coastal bays area.

Stop Atlantic Drilling Now
The Obama administration is proposing to open the waters off Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to offshore oil and natural gas production beginning in 2017. While the proposed leasing sites are outside of Assateague Coastal Trust’s operating region, the impacts of drilling and the threat of a potential spill are very real for Assateague Island, our coastal eco-system, and economy. Here we hope to provide some information on the impact offshore drilling could have on our environment and economy and why we think offshore drilling is the wrong decision for our future.

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