May 19, 2008

SEN. CARDIN JOINS CHESAPEAKE BAY TRUST, NOAA AND THEIR PARTNERS TO AWARD $540,000 IN GRANTS TO RESTORE CHESAPEAKE BAY SHORELINES

LONDONTOWN, MD - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin today joined the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center (NOAA), The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in announcing more than $540,000 in grants to promote Living Shorelines projects in the Chesapeake Bay region. The Chesapeake Bay Trust and NOAA will work with these grantees and partners to focus on reversing the impacts of coastal development and resulting wetland loss.

"It is critical that we take an active role in preserving and nurturing the entire Bay habitat," said Senator Cardin.  "Shoreline restoration is a key factor in any restoration effort, and it needs to be carried out with skill and appreciation for the entire eco-system.  I am pleased that this grant invests in future shoreline restoration projects that will benefit all of us."

 "The Chesapeake Bay has lost 60 percent of its historic wetlands and more than 99 percent of its native oyster populations," said Sam Rauch, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs for NOAA Fisheries. "Living Shorelines represent a win-win solution to shoreline erosion issues, as these types of projects both protect the shoreline from erosion and provide critical habitat for aquatic resources."

The Living Shorelines concept represents a new way of approaching restoration by incorporating natural techniques to stabilize coastal shorelines, while also providing critical habitat for Bay wildlife. Some of these methods include the strategic placement of native vegetation, sand and other materials, including submerged oyster reefs. Wetlands and offshore reefs naturally reduce wave energy, preventing coastal erosion and protecting important areas near the shoreline.

In an attempt to combat erosion, many shorelines have been hardened over time with artificial shoreline armor such as seawalls and bulkheads. In many cases, these artificial structures are not fully effective at protecting shorelines from erosion, and in fact can actually increase the rate of coastal degradation.  In addition, these artificial structures decrease the ability of shorelines to provide natural habitat and to serve other ecological roles beneficial to the health of the Bay.

Since this grant partnership began in 2005, more than $1.5 million has been awarded to residents throughout the region to install Living Shorelines.  This successful collaboration has restored tidal wetlands and educated communities about the value of habitat and restoration. Altogether, these projects have resulted in a total of 24,150 linear feet of living shorelines treated (just over 4.5 miles).