by Alicia Pimental
September 14, 2009
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.