Bernie Fowler

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Bernie Fowler
Bernie Fowler.jpg
Member of the Maryland Senate
from the 29th district
In office
Personal details
Born(1924-03-30)March 30, 1924
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
DiedDecember 12, 2021(2021-12-12) (aged 97)
Dares Beach, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Residence(s)Dares Beach, Maryland

Clyde Bernard Fowler (March 30, 1924 – December 12, 2021) was an American politician from Maryland.[1][2] He was a Calvert County Commissioner from 1970 to 1982, and served in the Maryland Senate between 1983 and 1994. Fowler is best known for his advocacy for the cleanup of the Patuxent River, the largest river to be found entirely within the State of Maryland.

Prior to being elected to public office, Fowler was an avid fisherman who would wade into the Patuxent River and make note of the clarity of the water. After noticing the clarity of the water slowly diminishing, Fowler chose to run for Calvert County Commissioner in 1970 and make the health of the Patuxent River a key issue. After serving over a decade as county commissioner, Fowler was elected to the Maryland Senate, where he remained until his retirement from public office in the mid 1990s.

Fowler, as an early-1970s Calvert County Commissioner, led the way in a lawsuit filed by downriver Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties against upriver counties. The lawsuit forced the state, the upriver counties, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enact pollution control measures. The 1985 total of 200,000 tons of sediment reaching the Chesapeake Bay annually was reduced to 130,000 by 2004. The Patuxent River is a rarity among Chesapeake watersheds in that most of its harmful phosphorus and nitrogen nutrient overloads come from its ever-increasing areas of urban runoff, and less from its other two largest contributors, point sources (industrial, sewage, etc.) and the declining agricultural areas.

Each June at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, Fowler held a "wade-in" into the Patuxent River at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, where he and others would walk into the waters of the Patuxent River until their feet were no longer visible. The event was previously held at Broomes Island, but was institutionalized at JPPM in 2010. Fowler did the annual tradition in order to bring awareness to the water clarity levels of the Patuxent River. In recent years, the "wade-in" has become a noteworthy public event, with numerous public officials joining Fowler in the walk, including Maryland Governors Martin O'Malley and Robert Ehrlich, Democratic Party congressional majority leader Steny Hoyer and U.S Senator Barbara Mikulski. The "wade-in" has been an annual tradition since 1988.

In 1994, Fowler was named as the candidate for Maryland lieutenant governor under State Senator American Joe Miedusiewski during the 1994 Democratic primary gubernatorial election. (However, the party's nomination and eventually the governor's seat would go to Parris Glendening that year.)

In 1997, U.S. EPA Administrator Carol Browner declared "Bernie Fowler Day" in recognition of Fowler's lifelong efforts to clean up the Patuxent River.

In 1998, a laboratory building at Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, Maryland was dedicated in Bernie Fowler's honor.

Fowler lived in the community of Dares Beach, Maryland near Prince Frederick, Maryland. He died on December 12, 2021, at the age of 97.[3]


  1. ^ "Maryland State Senator C. Bernard Fowler". Archived from the original on March 17, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  2. ^ Bernie Fowler: The Oral Histories - Biography, interview with Richard Dodds - Calvert Marine Museum, archived from the original on December 13, 2021, retrieved December 13, 2021
  3. ^ "Former Calvert Commissioner, Maryland Senator Bernie Fowler Sr. Passes Away At 97". December 12, 2021. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved December 12, 2021.


Martin, Sandra (June 11–17, 1998), "Bernie's Big Day", New Bay Times, New Bay Enterprises, vol. VI Number 23, archived from the original on September 28, 2007, retrieved December 14, 2007