by Alicia Pimental
June 05, 2009
Twenty-four innovative projects in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia have received a total of $12.9 million in grants from the Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution to the local streams, creeks and rivers that flow to the Chesapeake Bay.
The grants for these projects were awarded through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, which provides up to $1 million to innovative and cost-effective projects that dramatically reduce or eliminate the flow of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution into local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.
“These innovative projects will have lasting benefits for the Chesapeake Bay and its network of rivers and streams, especially when you consider that they can be duplicated in communities throughout the entire watershed,” said William C. Early, acting regional administrator in EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.
The Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and funded by the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program. This year's grant recipients provided an additional $19.4 million in matching funds.
“These projects continue to stretch how we think about agricultural strategies that are good both for the Chesapeake and for the farmer’s bottom line, and stormwater strategies that ensure that those of us who live in cities and suburbs do our part as well,” said Tom Kelsch, director of conservation programs for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The 24 grant recipients are:
- The District of Columbia Department of the Environment will use its $800,000 grant to install LID techniques such as green roofs, vegetated swales and pervious pavement over 14 acres of the city’s Rock Creek watershed where the Washington Water and Sewer Authority is currently separating combined sewers. This project was chosen after a 2008 scientific assessment showed that installing multiple LID techniques could reduce runoff in some areas by up to 90 percent.
- The Virginia Waste Solutions Forum will use its $799,998 grant to support the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s work to deliver Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill funding to high-density animal production areas around Smith Creek, a tributary of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. The “Shenandoah Valley Clean Streams Initiative” will help farmers adopt cost-effective nutrient management practices that also reduce pollution to Smith Creek and the Shenandoah River.
- The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will use its $798,988 grant to create a “green corridor” of innovative stormwater management practices in downtown Richmond, including the capitol building grounds. The “Greening Virginia’s Capitol” project will reduce by 65 percent the amount of polluted stormwater runoff that flows from these sites to the city’s Combined Sewer Overflow system.
- The Pennsylvania State University will use its $786,384 grant to increase implementation of new technology that applies dry manure on farm fields below the soil surface, rather than on top of the ground. Placing dry manure, which is used as fertilizer, beneath the soil surface improves crops’ ability to uptake nutrients while reducing surface nutrient runoff by 90 percent.
- The Pennsylvania State University received $750,000 grant to coordinate the Conewago Creek Collaborative Conservation Initiative, a public-private partnership formed to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution to Conewago Creek in Pennsylvania. The initiative will help implement on-the-ground restoration measures needed to remove Conewago Creek from the state’s 303(d) impaired waters list.
- The Rivanna River Basin Commission will use its $725,000 grant to install runoff-reducing practices at four highly visible sites: Charlottesville High School, Crozet Wetlands, the new Fluvanna County High School and Greene County Community Park. Additionally, the Commission will create an inventory of opportunities for leaders in Fluvanna and Greene counties to install runoff-reducing practices on public lands. The two-year project will culminate with a regional symposium that will bring together developers, engineers, planners and regulators to learn more about environmentally sound stormwater management.
- The Science Museum of Virginia was awarded $700,000 to develop a low-impact development demonstration and training area that will be the first of its kind in central Virginia. The museum will install a green roof, rain collection cistern, porous pavement and other low-impact development techniques that will slow and filter polluted runoff from the museum building and parking area. This highly visible site will include real-time monitoring data and be used to train local officials, engineers, industry representatives and the public on how to manage urban stormwater runoff.
- The Iowa Soybean Association will use its $699,890 grant to create the “Bay Farms On-Farm Network” to facilitate among participants the exchange of nutrient management data. By learning about other farmers’ manure and fertilizer applications, participating farmers will be able to fine-tune their own practices and make better nutrient management decisions that have positive environmental and economic results.
- The Environmental Defense Fund was awarded $651,631 grant to establish a community composting site for farmers at Oregon Dairy in central Lancaster County, Pa. The composting site will collect excess manure from local farmers and use it to produce compost that will be available for sale. The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that the project will reduce nitrogen pollution to the Susquehanna River by 673,200 pounds and phosphorus pollution by 637,200 pounds.
- Lycoming County, Pa., received $600,035 to implement an innovative credit-trading program to supplement mandated wastewater treatment plant upgrades in the county. The Lycoming Conservation District will work with the county’s farmers and homeowners to generate a renewable supply of locally produced nutrient credits. Wastewater plants in the county can then choose the most economical options for upgrading their infrastructure to comply with Pennsylvania’s nutrient reduction requirements.
- The Capital Area Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc., will use its $509,967 grant to implement or improve prescribed grazing systems on 5,000 acres of farmland in Pennsylvania’s lower Juniata River watershed. The funding will support the South Central Project Grass Committee’s efforts to improve the economic viability and environmental quality of livestock operations by promoting grazing. The committee will provide on-farm grazing demonstrations and one-on-one training to participating farmers, as well as tools for developing nutrient and carbon credits and marketing grass-fed beef.
- The Chesapeake Club received $500,000 to create a new social marketing campaign that teaches residents of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia to better manage stormwater runoff on their properties. The Chesapeake Club will reach residents using a combination of traditional media and internet networks such as YouTube and Facebook.
- The Chesapeake Stormwater Network will use its $500,000 grant to create a “Stormwater Training Partnership” for stormwater design professionals and local government plan reviewers. The partnership will advance environmentally sound stormwater management in four of the Chesapeake Bay states by developing training that teaches participants about more effective ways to reduce runoff.
- The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) was awarded $500,000 to engage Amish and Mennonite farmers in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and Chester counties in conservation efforts. The project’s goal is to install 200 pollution-reducing practices like barnyard runoff controls, streamside forest buffers, no-till farming and cover crops. CBF estimates that these efforts will reduce 450,000 pounds of nitrogen, 87,000 pounds of phosphorus and 2.1 tons of sediment.
- The Upper Susquehanna Coalition was awarded $490,000 to reduce pollution from unstable stream banks, flooding events and farm runoff to the streams that feed the Susquehanna. The coalition will plant 47 acres of streamside buffers, restore 45 acres of wetlands, rehabilitate 6,000 feet of streams, and build fences along 45 acres of streams to keep cows out, which will stop 37,000 pounds of nitrogen, 1,400 pounds of phosphorus and 13.3 tons of sediment from flowing to the upper Susquehanna’s most sensitive streams.
- The Herring Run Watershed Association will use its $450,000 grant to reduce nutrient and bacteria pollution from Baltimore City and County landowners to Herring Run and Jones Falls. Using community-based restoration strategies, the Herring Run Watershed Association and its project partners will reduce urban runoff from the neighborhoods around Herring Run and Jones Falls, which flow to the Patapsco and Back rivers. One method will be to divert rooftop downspouts to lawns or landscaped areas, rather than flowing directly to sidewalks, streets and storm drains.
- The Finger Lakes Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc., has received $399,995 to restore 1.4 miles of eroding stream banks in New York’s Chemung River Basin, part of the upper Susquehanna River watershed. Using new “natural stream design” techniques that reduce erosion and enhance underwater habitat for fish, the Finger Lakes RC&D will create demonstration sites for municipal highway superintendents in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties. The Finger Lakes RC&D estimates that these restoration activities will reduce 1,000 tons of sediment from flowing to the Chemung River.
- The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has received $390,000 to engage residents, businesses and civic leaders in the Reedy Creek watershed in reducing polluted stormwater runoff. The Alliance will conduct environmental surveys and stormwater audits to show homeowners how they can manage stormwater runoff on their property. Participants in the program will be able to connect with each other and share their success stories through a “My Watershed Experience” online network.
- The Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts (MASCD) was awarded $345,000 to advise 600 farmers across the Chesapeake watershed on their ability to implement carbon and nutrient trading options. MASCD will work with conservation organizations in the other five Bay states to help farmers expand their market-based conservation efforts and incorporate them into a new “bank” of environmental trading credits.
- The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has received a $325,000 grant to engage the Harrisonburg community in reducing polluted stormwater runoff to Blacks Run. By the end of the three-year project, more than 200 rain barrels, rain gardens, green roofs, streamside forest buffers and other practices will be installed. These runoff-reducing practices will stop 509 pounds of nitrogen, 78 pounds of phosphorus and 19 tons of sediment each year from flowing off lawns, schoolyards, public lands and commercial properties into Blacks Run.
- Virginia Tech received $319,000 to install “floating islands” of wetlands that filter and treat polluted stormwater runoff in the city of Fairfax’s Accotink Creek. Virginia Tech and its project partners will design environmental education and outreach programs to help Fairfax residents learn about how floating islands reduce water pollution and what they can do on their own properties to reduce polluted runoff.
- The Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education received $312,177 to address polluted runoff from compacted soils in parks, school yards, athletic fields, residential lawns and inner city vacant lots in Baltimore City and County. The center and its project partners will develop technical specifications needed to incorporate subsoiling -- a type of deep tilling that breaks up soil, allowing more water to soak in -- around Gwynns Falls, Herring Run, Henry Run and Watershed 263 in Baltimore City.
- Water Stewardship, Inc., was awarded $300,000 to conduct an innovative supply chain-based program that will help 50 poultry and dairy operations in the Shenandoah Valley reduce the amount of nutrients they contribute to nearby streams and rivers. The long-term goal of this project is to help participating farmers reduce their nutrient contributions to a level that is 40 percent beyond what is needed to meet government cleanup goals for the Shenandoah Valley’s waterways.
- Lancaster Farmland Trust has received $215,000 to research, develop and implement a program that links nutrient credits to conservation easements used to preserve farmland in Lancaster County, Pa. Linking nutrient credits to preserved farms will give the fledgling nutrient credit trading market more stability and increase the confidence of potential credit purchasers.