Press Release

October 5, 2011

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, today joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and local officials to announce the awarding of $10.9 million in grants for environmental projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed’s six states and the District of Columbia.  The projects will preserve 3,729 acres of land, restore 32 miles of riparian areas and stream banks and implement stormwater best management practices on 2,878 acres. 

“Anyone who has experienced the shortage of oysters or read about ‘dead zones’ in the water can attest that the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed are in trouble and time is not on our side.  The longer we wait to take action to curb control pollution and restore water quality, the steeper the task ahead,” said Senator Cardin. “The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries are unhealthy primarily because of pollution from excess nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering the water. That’s why the Chesapeake Stewardship Fund is so critical.  These grants help organizations and local governments working on a community level to implement projects that improve small watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay basin, while building citizen-based resource stewardship.”

“These innovative projects exemplify the work of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and local partners in showing what can and should be done to preserve this national treasure,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, who joined Cardin in Bladensburg this morning.  “From the commemorative rain gardens in the Port Towns, to Engine Company 12’s green roof; these projects underscore that everyone throughout the watershed can make a difference in this restoration effort.”

Senator Cardin visited the Town of Bladensburg, one of the four Port Towns in Prince George’s County, where the commemmorative rain gardens capture and filter out rainwater before it enters the Chesapeake Bay.  The gardens are one of the 55 projects designed to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff and improve local waterways’ health resulting in cleaner water in Bay communities across the region, from New York to Virginia, West Virginia to Delaware.  In total, the projects are expected to prevent 600,000 tons of sediment, 2 million pounds of nitrogen and 700,000 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Bay. 

The funding was awarded through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund via the Small Watershed Grants Program and the Chesapeake Bay Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program, both of which are administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  Grant recipients will also provide over $ 16 million in matching funds, for a total of $27 million going toward these restoration projects.