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Bay Blog: Small Watershed Grants

Oct
30
2013

Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund directs $9.2 million to environmental work

From the restoration of tidal wetlands to the greening of a town cemetery, 40 environmental projects across the Chesapeake Bay watershed have received more than $9 million in funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund.

Image courtesy Eric Vance/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

Half of the projects will be funded by the Small Watershed Grants Program, which supports on-the-ground restoration, conservation and community engagement. Twenty more will be funded by the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program, which finances the reduction of nutrient and sediment pollution in rivers and streams.

The Anacostia Watershed Society, for instance, will restore more than 10 acres of tidal wetlands along the Anacostia River, improving area flood control and outdoor recreation. The Oyster Recovery Partnership will repopulate at least 40 acres of oyster reefs in Harris Creek, bolstering current restoration work in the Choptank River tributary. And the Town of Bath in West Virginia will bring green infrastructure into a local cemetery, increasing tree canopy and reducing erosion into the Potomac River.

Image courtesy Eric Vance/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The awards were announced this morning at the Earth Conservation Corps Pump House, where a wetland restoration project was funded by the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund in 2012.

Learn more about the grant recipients.



Aug
28
2012

More than $9 million in funding will restore habitats, reduce runoff across Chesapeake watershed

From the restoration of streamside forests to the planting of a green roof on an historic District of Columbia house, 41 environmental projects from across the Chesapeake Bay watershed have received $9.22 million in grant funding.

The restoration and outreach initiatives will restore vital habitats and reduce the amount of runoff entering local waterways, leading to cleaner water across the region.

Funding for the projects was awarded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's (NFWF) Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund. Half of the projects will be funded by the Small Watersheds Grants Program, which funds on-the-ground restoration, conservation and community engagement. Twenty-one more will be funded by the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program, which funds the reduction of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment in local waterways.

Trout Unlimited, for instance, will restore stream banks and wetlands on 11 western Maryland farms, reducing agricultural runoff and benefiting brook trout. The Nature Conservancy will improve water quality and brook trout habitat in central and southern Pennsylvania, planting riparian buffers, restoring wetlands and establishing forest habitat. And the high-profile William Penn House in Washington, D.C., will install a green roof on top of the historic building, which will capture and treat almost all of the stormwater on-site. 

In all, this year's projects will engage 9,000 volunteers; restore 176 miles of streamside forests and 158 acres of wetlands; and establish 170,000 square feet of green roofs and rain gardens.

"These innovative projects ... are an illustration of the incredible commitment people have to restoring our rivers and streams. With NFWF's invaluable support, these projects will make a difference, supporting progress toward a Bay that is increasingly healthy and resilient," said Jeff Corbin, Environmental Protection Agency Senior Advisor for the Chesapeake Bay and Anacostia River. 

For a full list of grant recipients, visit the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund website.



Oct
05
2011

More Than $10 Million Awarded to Help Protect and Restore Wetlands, Forests and Waterways

The Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have awarded $10.9 million in grants to 55 environmental projects in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Collectively, the projects will preserve 3,729 acres of land, restore 32 miles of forest buffers and stream banks, and install runoff-reducing practices on 2,878 acres.

Grant recipients with big check

The funding was awarded through the Small Watershed Grants Program and the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program. Both are part of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund.

The Small Watershed Grants Program provides grants to organizations and municipal governments that are working to improve the condition of their local watershed through on-the-ground restoration, habitat conservation and community engagement. The program, funded by a combination of public agencies and private support, awarded $2.8 million to 37 projects. Grant recipients provided an additional $4.4 million in matching funds.

This year’s Small Watershed Grant projects are expected to involve 8,645 volunteers and engage 2,228 landowners in conservation and restoration practices. Many recipients will reduce polluted runoff through techniques such as rain gardens, as well as through outreach and marketing initiatives that promote sustainable landscaping practices.

Recipients of this year’s Small Watershed Grants include:

  • Lands and Waters (Va.), which will work with local schools to conduct hands-on schoolyard conservation projects that will promote student stewardship while helping Fairfax meet its TMDL requirements.
  • The Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education’s Master Naturalist Program, which will educate and train citizens to be leaders in protecting, restoring, monitoring and conserving natural resources in their communities.
  • The Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District (N.Y.), which will develop a berm removal program in partnership with local highway departments in effort to restore 8,000 feet of streamside forests.

The Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program provides grants to innovative and cost-effective projects that dramatically reduce or eliminate nutrient and sediment pollution into local waterways and the Bay. The program, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, awarded $8.2 million to 19 projects. Grant recipients provided an additional $11.7 million in matching funds. This year’s projects are expected to prevent 600,000 tons of sediment, two million pounds of nitrogen and 700,000 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Bay.

Recipients of this year’s Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants include:

Through these grants, diverse agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are able to pool resources with corporate sponsors like Altria, Wal-Mart and FedEx to increase the impact any one of them could have alone, according to Tom Kelsch, vice president of conservation programs at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Since 2000, the Small Watershed Grants Program has provided more than $29 million to support 663 projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These projects have leveraged close to $95 million in local matching funds for a total investment of more than $125 million toward on-the-ground restoration.

Since 2007, the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program has provided $26.8 million to 54 projects that reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

For more information, visit www.nfwf.org/chesapeake.



Nov
09
2010

$3.4 Million Awarded to 34 Local Restoration Projects Throughout Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Thirty-four environmental projects in all six Chesapeake Bay states and the District of Columbia have been awarded more than $3.4 million to help reduce pollution to local streams, creeks and rivers and the Bay.

The funding for the projects was awarded through the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations and local governments working to improve the condition of their local watershed.

The 2010 grant recipients will develop conservation plans in both urban and rural settings, preserve valuable natural lands and implement on-the-ground and in-the-water restoration practices throughout the Bay watershed. Many of the projects will use social media campaigns to fully engage their local community in restoration and conservation efforts.

“Clean water is important to every community, so it’s vital that these projects will occur in all six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the District of Columbia,” said Shawn Garvin, regional administrator for U.S. EPA Region 3.

Some examples of the types of projects funded include:

    Large-scale installations of rain gardens and rain barrels
    Stormwater retrofits and green building designs at schools and urban buildings
    An “Extreme Stream Makeover” restoration project
    A social and educational outreach program to educate citizens about conservation easements
    Efforts to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from farms into local streams

The 2010 Small Watershed Grants were announced at Dundalk Veterans Park near Baltimore, Md. The announcement event highlighted the “Trees for Neighborhoods” initiative led by the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management. Baltimore County is using its $50,000 grant to educate homeowners about the benefits of planting trees as a way to reduce polluted runoff.

“From planting more trees in urban areas to improving wildlife habitat and minimizing stormwater runoff, these grants result in partnerships that help restore and protect the Bay,” said Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Since 2000, more than $27 million in Small Watershed Grants has supported 626 projects around the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These projects have leveraged close to $90 million in local matching funds for a total on-the-ground restoration investment of more than $115 million.

The Small Watershed Grants program is funded primarily by the U.S. EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program with additional support in 2010 from the U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the District of Columbia Department of the Environment, Altria and FedEx. The grants are administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

”This program is an example of a truly effective public-private partnership that delivers funding to high-impact, on-the-ground restoration projects in communities throughout the region,” said Amanda Bassow, acting director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Eastern Partnership Office.

Visit www.nfwf.org/chesapeake for more information about the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program and a full list of this year’s grant recipients.



Sep
14
2009

Thirty-two Projects Receive $2.8 Million to Protect and Restore Chesapeake Bay and Local Waterways

Thirty-two environmental restoration and protection projects from across the Chesapeake Bay watershed have been awarded more than $2.8 million in grants from the Chesapeake Bay Program and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help clean up local streams, creeks and rivers that flow to the Bay.

The funding was awarded through the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations and local governments working to improve the condition of their local watershed.

The 2009 Small Watershed Grant recipients will develop conservation plans, preserve valuable natural lands and implement on-the-ground restoration practices throughout the Bay's six-state watershed. A sampling of this year's grant recipients includes:

  • The Spa Creek Conservancy will use its $109,240 grant to install pollution-reducing practices such as rain gardens at St. Martin's Evangelical Church and School in Annapolis, Md.
  • The Piedmont Environmental Council will use its $75,000 grant to increase financial incentives for farmers to install livestock-exclusion fencing and forest buffers along Virginia's Upper Hazel River, a tributary of the Rappahannock River.
  • GreenTreks Network received a $75,000 grant to implement the "Reign in the Rain" social marketing campaign in the Cedar Run and Paxton Creek watersheds near Harrisburg, Pa. The campaign will use videos to promote practices that reduce polluted runoff to these local waterways and the Susquehanna River.
  • Ducks Unlimited received $20,333 to restore 473 acres of wetlands, including 84 acres of globally rare Atlantic white cedar, in the headwaters of the Nanticoke and Pocomoke river watersheds in Delaware.

"When considered collectively, these 32 projects will have a tremendous positive impact on the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed," said Chesapeake Bay Program Director Jeffrey Lape. "This year's projects will restore 620 acres of wetlands, plant 32 rain gardens and 172 acres of streamside forest buffers, and fence off 23 miles of streams to exclude livestock."

Since 2000, the Small Watershed Grants program has provided $23.6 million to support 587 projects. These grants have been used to leverage an additional $68.4 million from other funding sources, resulting in more than $92 million being invested in Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration efforts.

"Federal funding for projects like these will help protect and restore critical aquatic ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay," said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. "One of my top priorities is to improve the health of streams, creeks and rivers that make up the Bay's watershed and that sustain its natural habitat."

The Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and funded primarily by the U.S. EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program Office, the USDA Forest Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Other funding partners include Perdue Farms and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office. Additional funding for this year's grants is from community service payments due to a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney General District of Maryland in a case involving the illegal discharge of oil-contaminated bilge.

For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program and a full list of this year's grant recipients, visit the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's website.



Sep
03
2009

Working Hard in the Far Reaches of the Watershed

Sidney Center is nestled amongst the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in Delaware County, New York. Most may not know it, but this rural community located hundreds of miles from the tidal Chesapeake Bay resides entirely within the Bay’s watershed. Sidney Center lies within the Carrs Creek watershed, a small tributary of the upper Susquehanna River, approximately one hour south of Cooperstown, N.Y.

A very rural area, in recent years this small community has been devastated by catastrophic floods and severe groundwater contamination. “2006 was the worst flood in recent memory,” says Joe Lally, president of the Sidney Center Improvement Group. “Two truck drivers were killed in Carrs Creek when a culvert failed and a portion of Interstate 88 was washed out.” In addition to loss of life, there was destruction of private housing, loss of livestock, and loss of land due to erosion. Most of the community has also been exposed to contaminated groundwater caused by failing septic systems.

Inspired by these issues, Joe, a lifetime resident of the area, and other members of the Community formed the non-profit Sidney Center Improvement Group to address problems in their area. As part of this new effort, the Sidney Center Improvement Group contacted the Chesapeake Bay Program for help dealing with the water resource issues. Joe grabbed the attention of Wink Hastings, who is responsible for assisting local communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.

Wink has been working with the Sidney Center Improvement Group for three years now on addressing land use and water quality issues in the Carrs Creek watershed. In 2008, through funding from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Wink and the Sidney Center Improvement Group arranged for the assistance of Leah Miller and Mat Webber from the Izaak Walton League Save Our Streams Program to train the community in conducting stream corridor assessments and monitoring water quality in Carrs Creek and a branch of the creek known as Willow Brook.

The community conducted the first stream corridor assessment in September 2008. Local citizens chose various segments of Carrs Creek and Willow Brook and assessed conditions in these segments. The group looked for erosion, cows in streams, trash dumping, fish barriers, and other signs of poor land stewardship. This data was then placed into two GIS databases. The first was an ArcGIS database that can be used for writing a watershed management plan. The second was an online database, designed using Bing Maps, that can be easily accessed by the public. Because of these efforts, the group was featured in an article in the January 2009 edition of Outdoor Life.

The group will begin quarterly water quality sampling in 2010. They have mapped out their sample sites and are looking at engaging local schools and colleges to assist with collecting and organizing the data. They are also looking for funding for resources to purchase monitoring supplies. This fall, at the request of the Improvement Group, the Upper Susquehanna Coalition plans to begin restoration of wetlands within the Carrs Creek watershed to help mitigate flooding problems.

While still very far away from the Chesapeake Bay, it is no less important to engage local communities like Sidney Center. Archaic land use practices (e.g. drainage tiles and ditching in crop fields) are highly prevalent in the watershed. Many landowners are losing large segments of land at an alarming rate due to erosion exacerbated by flooding.

“The beauty of a project like this is that the community is able to meet several objectives through a single, coordinated approach. By helping to improve conditions in the watershed, we are helping improve the quality of life for local citizens, and improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Wink says. “Community residents are also learning how to work more effectively with local leaders and institutions; it’s the equivalent of a Civics 101 course.”

With the inevitability of larger, potentially more damaging rainstorms caused by climate change, small watersheds such as Carrs Creek couldexperience higher sedimentation and nutrient loading. However, engaging local communities on how to “hold the line” and maintain healthy conditions in their watershed can help ensure that conditions in the watershed and the Bay are improved and sustained. 

The community of Sidney Center still has a long way to go to “fix” the problems in their watershed. Funding is very scarce right now, and they have had difficulty getting noticed by many potential funders. Nevertheless, the group is determined to continue pushing forward to find a solution to their problems. “For the Sidney Center Improvement Group to work on this project, and with help from the Chesapeake Bay Program, we’re not only improving environmental conditions in our watershed but we’re increasing our ability to work as a community,” Joe says. “Thanks to this project, the community has strengthened its relationship with elected officials, Delaware County, and the local school system.

The Sidney Center Improvement Group is made up of an executive board and several workgroups that meet on a monthly basis. The Water Quality workgroup currently meets the third Thursday of every month from 6:30pm-8:00pm in the Sidney Center Library (contact Joe Lally, jlally2us@yahoo.com, for more information). The group invites non-profits and government program representatives to come and talk to them about opportunities and partnerships that could help them meet their goals.



Jul
08
2008

Over $2.1 Million Awarded for Local Waterway Protection and Restoration Projects

Thirty-four organizations from across the Bay watershed have received more than $2.1 million from the Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for projects that will protect 3,400 acres of land, restore approximately 15 miles of streams and plant more than 160 acres of marsh and wetland grasses.

Students from Tyler Elementary School in Washington, D.C. receive help planting a tree from students from the Cacapon Institute in West Virginia. The tree is part of the project to replace asphalt with grass, plants and trees at Tyler, which received a $50,000 Small Watershed Grant for the work.

The funding was awarded through the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program, which provides grants to organizations and municipal governments working to improve the condition of their local watershed.

The 2008 Small Watershed Grants were announced at Tyler Elementary School in Washington, D.C., which will benefit from a $50,000 grant to install a 13,000-square-foot rain garden on its grounds. The rain garden will filter polluted runoff, integrate watershed education into school studies and provide a model of low-impact development techniques for other urban schools.

Also featured at the event was D.C. Greenworks, which received a $75,000 grant to work with the District Department of the Environment to develop a green roof subsidy and incentive program to increase the number of green roofs in the District of Columbia. The project will develop a green roof toolkit to educate homeowners and businesses about the benefits and financing of green roofs.

At last year’s Executive Council meeting, the District of Columbia agreed to champion green development by promoting the use of green roofs, urban trees and other green infrastructure to reduce polluted runoff. D.C. Department of the Environment Director George Hawkins participated in the grant announcement and spoke of the value of the D.C. projects to the city and health of the Chesapeake Bay and its local waterways.

Other 2008 Small Watershed Grant recipients include:

  • The Friends of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge will release sterilized, radio-collared rodents named nutria to allow scientists to track and eradicate invasive nutria populations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
  • The Henrico County (Va.) Soil & Water Conservation District will provide 2,500 county residents with soil test vouchers to promote proper fertilizing and reduce nutrient runoff to the James River.
  • The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will hold a biofuels summit to develop a strategy that integrates water quality concerns into developing the Chesapeake region’s biofuel industry.

View the full list or a map of 2008 Small Watershed Grant projects.

Since 1998, the Small Watershed Grants program has provided $20.8 million to support 555 projects. These grants have been used to leverage an additional $65.4 million from other funding sources, resulting in more than $86.2 million being invested in watershed restoration efforts.



Aug
01
2006

News Small Watershed Grants Help Jumpstart Local Bay Restoration Efforts

Local governments and community-based organizations throughout the Bay watershed will have help funding local Chesapeake Bay and river restoration projects, thanks to over $2.6 million in grants provided by the Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Some of the 68 projects funded through the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program this year include:

  • Planting vegetative buffers around poultry farms on the Delmarva Peninsula, which will slow runoff and absorb nutrients before they enter Bay tributaries.
  • A community awareness campaign in Annapolis, Md., to educate local residents of the link between lifestyle and the health of Spa Creek.
  • Offering a per-acre incentive for farmers in Perry County, Pa., to plant cover crops for the first time or in impaired watersheds.
  • An education and training program in Virginia Beach, Va., for homeowners and lawn care providers on the importance of rain gardens and native vegetation, and techniques to reduce pollution into the Lynnhaven River.
  • Installation of living shorelines in Edgewater, Salisbury and Centreville, Md., and in Cape Charles, Va., to reduce shoreline erosion and promote natural habitats for aquatic life.

Together, the recipients of this year's Small Watershed Grants will have a measurable effect on Bay restoration throughout the watershed.

Projects will protect or manage approximately 2,600 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat, including wetlands, oyster reefs and underwater grasses.
Grant recipients will plant more than five miles of forest buffers and restore an additional 21 miles of streams that drain into the Bay.
Approximately 10,000 volunteers will participate in the projects, while 47,000 citizens will be educated through outreach materials.

In the past nine years, the Small Watershed Grants Program has provided $17.7 million to support 544 projects throughout the Bay watershed. These grants have been used by recipients to leverage an additional $50.7 million from other funding sources, resulting in over $67 million in support of local community watershed restoration efforts since 1998.

Primary funding for the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program Office. Additional funding partners include the USDA Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



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