A new Bay Plate in the works for Maryland

| October 5, 2017
Rams Head

We might be seeing a different “Bay Plate” on Maryland’s roads next year, according to the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA), which has invited graphic designers to try their hand at a refresh of the Bay Plate design. New ideas will be compared to the current very popular design, and should one test better, it could be on our roads as early as next summer.

The Bay Plate, or more fully named the “Treasure the Chesapeake” license plate, is a popular choice among Maryland drivers, with 5 percent of all vehicles displaying them and 15 percent of households across the state reporting that they have at least one set of Bay Plates in the family. Close to 300,000 are on the roads today.

The current design, boasting a heron named Wade and a crab named Clawdia, was introduced in 2004 and has been on the roads for 13 years, following the initial design introduced in 1990 that also graced roads for 13 years.

Funds generated by the Bay Plate are distributed as grants for K-12 environmental education projects to get students outside, on-the-ground watershed or habitat restoration projects, and community engagement in natural resources issues. Grants are made to support work in all of Maryland’s counties and regions, from the Youghiogheny in Western Maryland to the Coastal Bays in the east. The grants are managed by the Chesapeake Bay Trust (the Trust), a non-profit grant-making organization established by the Maryland state legislature in 1985.

The Bay Plate is one of two background scene plates available to Maryland vehicle owners. The other is the “Ag Tag,” which supports agricultural education.

“MDOT MVA is proud to partner with the Chesapeake Bay Trust and support its efforts to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay through the Bay Plate and the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation through the Ag Tag to protect our natural resources,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Christine Nizer, whose department administers the Bay and Ag plate programs and transfers funds to the Trust and Foundation.

The Trust provides approximately 400 grants per year with Bay Plate funds, from as small as $100 to over $200,000, to schools, faith-based organizations, civic associations, homeowners associations, watershed groups, environmental organizations, research entities, and more. About 100,000 students per year and 60,000 volunteers per year are engaged through the Bay Plate and Trust grants, and grantees plant thousands of trees, terrestrial plants, marsh grasses, and oysters each year.

To submit a design, you can get started right here!

Severn Bank

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