Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Chairman of its Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its announcement of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for water quality market projects. Proposals for projects are due March 2, 2012.
“Today’s announcement by USDA of $10 million in national funding for water quality market programs, including $5 million for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, is an important step forward for the great water bodies of our nation. I am especially pleased that USDA is using these funds to promote nutrient trading, which is a concept that I have advocated for several years as a key tool in the Chesapeake restoration effort. The Bay is a national treasure and a critical economic engine for Maryland. Restoring the Bay to health is one of the key priorities of my career, and I am proud that the watershed-based Chesapeake clean-up program has become a model for the nation. Today’s funding announcement ensures that the Bay will continue to be at the cutting-edge of water quality solutions by creating market-based programs that will reduce harmful pollution while saving money for water utilities and local communities and generating needed income for our farmers.”