WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee, today announced that five of his first round of Congressionally Directed Spending requests have received Senate Appropriations Committee approval. Totaling $45.83 million, the five projects will notch improvements in diverse corners of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, from Western Maryland to the lower Eastern Shore, as well as the Bay’s largest tributary in Pennsylvania.
“The Chesapeake Bay is an unparalleled national treasure, and I have been working with my Senate colleagues to find ways where strategic federal investments can deliver key improvements to its ecological and economic vitality,” said Senator Cardin. “The projects that have been included in Appropriations Committee legislation today represent a diverse array of restoration approaches, and I will continue to work to find additional ways to improve the environmental – and economic – health of our home watershed.”
The projects included in legislation marked up yesterday by the Senate Appropriations Committee for inclusion in the Energy and Water Development and the Agriculture & Food and Drug Administration appropriations bills include:
- A joint funding request with Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) to advance the Susquehanna River Basin Restoration effort through a $2.184 million investment in the Pequea Creek watershed in Lancaster County, Pa. This funding will allow expanded outreach and education to enable farmers to implement best management practices on their lands to reduce waste runoff that flows downstream into the Chesapeake. This will address one of the greatest sources of pollution flowing into the Bay. The funding also will help ensure compliance with environmental standards, boost enrollment in conservation programs, and enhance modeling and monitoring to improve soil and water quality.
- $390,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the environmental review of the C&O Canal Rewatering project in Cumberland. This will help advance a project with tourism, recreation and flood control benefits.
- $5.75 million for the Army Corps to complete projects under the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration and Protection Program (Section 510), the first in 13 years. The Section 510 program is an important tool for advancing efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay through implementation of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement’s 2025 milestone for integrated water resources management. Funding will allow the completion of stream restoration projects on the Choptank River in Caroline County and Plum Creek and Sparr Run in Pennsylvania’s Adams and Lancaster counties, respectively.
- $8,000 for survey work in southeastern Maryland’s Pocomoke River to identify future needs to dredge the river.
- $37.5 million to for the first year of construction for the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration Project. The project, which will rebuild the fast-disappearing James and Barren islands in Dorchester County, will provide a significant expansion of habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species through the beneficial use of material dredged to maintain the shipping channels for the Port of Baltimore.
Following approval by the full Senate Appropriations Committee, the legislation will move to consideration by the full Senate before conference with the House of Representatives for final approval.