The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) on Dec. 2 announced $33.8 million in grants to support the restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Representatives from NFWF and the US Environmental Protection Agency joined local leaders and community members at Truxtun Park in Annapolis to announce the awards. The 104 grants will leverage more than $30 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of more than $64 million.
The grants were awarded through the Nutrient and Sediment Reduction (INSR) Grant Program and the Small Water Grant Programs, core grant programs of the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership that are administered under NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund.
The fund is a partnership between NFWF and EPA to provide grants, technical assistance, and networking and information sharing in support of local on-the-ground conservation and restoration efforts to restore the Bay and its tributary rivers and streams.
Funding comes from both government dollars and private sources, including Altria Group, Zoetis, Astra Zeneca and the Bezos Earth Fund.
“This funding not only helps launch critical water quality programs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but represents an investment in public health and the communities that call the bay home,” said Janet McCabe, deputy administrator of the EPA. “Our partnerships and collaborative approaches bring farmers, landowners, communities, businesses and local leaders together as a team, working collaboratively to reduce pollution, improve water quality and revitalize their communities.”
Examples of this year’s grant recipients:
• The Shenandoah Valley Alliance ($1,000,000) will accelerate the installation and maintenance of riparian and upland management best practices to improve water quality in the Shenandoah Valley from Virginia through the renewed efforts of the Smith Creek Watershed Partnership.
• City of Annapolis ($500,000) to install living shoreline to improve water quality, habitat and resiliency at Hawkins Cove; improve public access for the surrounding community; and involve 300 community members in the planning, design and implementation of the project.
• The City of Corning ($75,000) will complete a stormwater and green infrastructure plan for Denison Park, the largest and most visited park in Corning, New York, located along the Chemung River.
• Delaware Wild Lands ($178,000) will restore coastal plain upland forest and native grassland habitat in the Great Cypress Swamp in Sussex County, Delaware’s largest freshwater wetland and block of contiguous forests
• Watershed Alliance of York ($1,000,000) will bring together public and private partners to accelerate implementation, maintenance and financial incentives for tree planting efforts in York County, Pennsylvania.
• The West Virginia National Guard ($499,000) will improve haulage of bird droppings from West Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay watershed to enhance reclamation efforts at abandoned mines statewide, supporting reclamation efforts of mines on 180 acres for the Patriot Apple Project that benefits former coal miners. and veterans of the region.
Since 2006, the INSR Program has provided more than $123 million to 219 projects that have reduced 22 million pounds of nitrogen, 4 million pounds of phosphorus, and 480,000 tons of sediment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The SWG program has provided more than $109 million to 496 projects that have permanently protected a large acreage under conservation easements, restored more than 1,550 miles of riparian habitat and 14,000 acres of wetlands, and engaged more than 125,000 residents of watersheds in voluntary conservation and restoration efforts.
“These grants demonstrate the power and conservation impact of supporting local communities in implementing conservation projects that support broader restoration goals for the Chesapeake Bay while addressing critical local priorities for to environmental improvements,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and general manager. from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
For information, see the website at www.nfwf.org.