Press Release

August 23, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded grants totaling more than $1.9 million to help famers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed conserve the Bay under the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program. 

“The Chesapeake Bay is Maryland’s greatest natural resource, the cornerstone of our economy, and a national treasure,” said Senator Cardin, Chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “We all must play a part in protecting and conserving the Bay because a clean Chesapeake Bay means a better future for Maryland.  This funding will aid farmers in their conservation efforts, making them stronger stewards of the Bay.”

“The Chesapeake Bay is a part of who we are as Marylanders – our heritage and our culture,” said Senator Mikulski.  “Our communities want to stand up for the health of the Bay, but they can’t do it on their own.  This federal funding will help Maryland’s farmers keep doing their part to protect this national treasure. ”

The USDA awarded the following CIG grants to projects in Maryland:

  • $848,424 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help farmers convert manure to energy to generate income and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • $650,760 to the Maryland Department of Agriculture for Progressive Management Practices for Drainage Systems on the Eastern Shore. The project will provide resources to help producers and landowners utilize the most promising drainage technologies for nutrient and sediment reductions
  • $260,457 to the GreenTrust Alliance for application of innovative bio-remediation technology to restore degraded land and maximize environmental sustainability.  The technology will improve energy and performance efficiency while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.  
  • $73,500 to the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts for conservation outreach to non-English-speaking poultry producers.  The Association will partner with the University of Maryland Extension, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Delmarva Poultry Industry and Korean and Vietnamese community leaders.
  • $1,000,000 to AviHome, which produces a chicken house flooring product that reduces ammonia emissions and the nitrogen content of chicken litter. High levels of ammonia could be detrimental to the environment and human health.

The grants for Chesapeake Bay conservation efforts were part of 52 CIG grants awarded.  In total, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service awarded $22.5 million to innovative conservation projects across the country.