by Alicia Pimental
July 08, 2008
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.
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.
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.