BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today joined officials from the Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in announcing $9.2 million in grants for 41 restoration and outreach initiatives in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed’s six states and the District of Columbia. The projects will involve 9,000 volunteers in restoring 176 miles of streamside forests and establishing 170,000 square feet of green roofs and rain gardens.
The funding for these environmental initiatives 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 NFWF.
“All of us have a part to play in helping restore the Bay and the Chesapeake Stewardship Fund makes it possible for local communities to get involved in projects that will improve small watersheds in the Bay,” said Senator Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. “The wetland and forest restoration projects help protect shorelines from erosion, control pollution and restore habitat. The Chesapeake Bay is better today than it was a decade ago thanks to the work and dedication of individuals and communities that have worked on projects like these.”
“The Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund is a successful model of a public-private partnership that achieves significant on-the-ground conservation results for fish, wildlife and communities,” said David O’Neill, Director of the Eastern Partnership Office at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “Through these grants, diverse agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Forest Service are able to pool resources with corporate sponsors like Altria, Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo and FedEx to increase the impact any one of them could have alone.”
The Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program (INSR), funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), awarded $6.8 million to 21 projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with recipients providing $10.1 million in matching funds. The INSR Program provides grants 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. Many awardees seek to manage the amount of nutrient runoff from livestock, dairy, and crop farms by conducting outreach and providing technical assistance to farmers.
The Small Watershed Grants (SWG) Program, funded by a combination of public agencies and private support, awarded $2.4 million to 20 projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with recipients providing $3.4 million in matching funds. The SWG program provides grants to organizations and municipal governments working to improve the condition of their local watershed through on-the-ground restoration, habitat conservation and community engagement. The projects are expected to reach out to approximately 180,000 landowners on stewardship of their land. Many grant recipients expect to reduce pollution through infrastructures such as green roofs and rain gardens and through community outreach initiatives to promote sustainable landscaping and improved practices for managing runoff.
Examples of this year’s Chesapeake Stewardship Fund grant recipients in Baltimore include:
- The Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County ($324,000) will address institutional barriers to innovative stormwater practices in Maryland. The project will work with Maryland’s Transit Administration and Highway Administration to adopt pervious concrete and subsoiling. The project includes a demonstration project to replace an existing parking lot at the Maryland Science Center with pervious concrete.
- The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy a ($89,105) will use market research to design and implement an landowner outreach program in the Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder watersheds. The program will motivate 700 landowners to take restoration actions on their own land, including installing rain gardens, rain barrels and planting native trees.
- Blue Water Baltimore ($400,000) will expand its residential water audit program, which provides free stormwater impact assessments to property owners, provides monetary incentives for the installation of stormwater best management practices, and educations residents and students about the importance of stormwater management for healthy rivers and streams. This program will work with 5000 homeowners to install rain barrels, plant rain gardens, convert turf lawns to native landscaping, remove pavement, and install green roofs.