On a perfect fall day in Willow Street, Pa., Pennsylvania recipients of the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund grants stood among the historic buildings of Future View Farms to be honored. Sixteen projects in the state will receive $5.8 million to establish methods to improve waterways, restore habitat and strengthen iconic species.
The awards are administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and funded primarily by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Seven of the 16 projects will be financed by EPA’s Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Grants Program, which supports projects that reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay. The other nine projects will be funded through the Small Watershed Grants Program, which supports on-the-ground restoration, habitat conservation and community engagement projects. These 16 projects will leverage matching funds of $10.4 million for a $16.2 million total conservation impact.
The grants will go to such organizations like the Stroud Water Research Center, who will use its $750,000 award to partner with major nongovernmental organizations and the private agricultural services sector to deliver agricultural best management practices in south-central Pennsylvania in order to improve local and Chesapeake Bay water quality. This project will result in 24 farms installing nearly 200 best management practices, including 14.6 acres of forested buffers.
“These awards demonstrate the power of partnerships between federal, state and local organizations working with the private sector to meet Pennsylvania’s state conservation goals,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “NFWF’s generous grants will allow conscientious farmers throughout the Bay watershed to continue their stewardship of the commonwealth’s water and soil. Their commitment to no-till and other best management practices serves as a model for others who want to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources for future generations.”
On September 19, a record $12.6 million in funding was announced to support 44 environmental projects throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition, these grants will generate more than $21.2 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $33.8 million.
“EPA is committed to supporting local communities using innovative, sustainable, community-based approaches for improving the health of their local rivers and streams throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Cecil Rodrigues, EPA deputy regional administrator. “These 44 projects are a smart investment in solid partnerships with states and local organizations that will return lasting benefits by improving stormwater infrastructure, and ensuring healthy waterways and safe drinking water.”