WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has selected two projects in Maryland to receive approximately $2.2 million to help farmers better protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This includes $2 million for the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s top conservation priority, the Maryland Cover Crop Program.
“Farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed understand how valuable the Bay is to our region and the nation,” said Senator Cardin, chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “The economic value of the Bay is estimated to be more than $1 trillion, but that value is based on the health of the Bay’s waters and fisheries.
Senator Cardin was the lead Senate sponsor of the Chesapeake Watershed Initiative provision in the 2008 farm bill, which supports the grants announced today. He has also been a consistent advocate for full funding of conservation assistance for Maryland farmers.
“I will continue to work hard to provide our farmers with the resources they need to continue their good stewardship of the Bay. I greatly appreciate USDA’s ongoing efforts to provide Maryland and other Bay State farmers with essential technical assistance and much needed funding to assist farmers with implementing proper soil conservation and nutrient pollution reduction techniques on their farms.”
“This federal funding is good news for Maryland’s agriculture industry and the Chesapeake Bay,” Senator Mikulski said. “The Chesapeake Bay is part of who we are as Marylanders – it is part of our heritage and part of our culture – and it’s our greatest natural resource. Not only will these funds help reduce the excess nutrients that end up in the Chesapeake Bay, they will give our agricultural community the resources it needs to be a partner as we move to a healthier bay. I will continue to fight to put money in the federal checkbook to support this important work.”
Six projects were selected through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative-Chesapeake Bay Watershed (CCPI-CBW) to accelerate voluntary conservation efforts toward a health and restored Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The USDA today announced a total of $3.5 million for six projects in four states: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Funding for Maryland projects include: