A record $18 million in federal grant money is heading to Chesapeake Bay watershed groups and local governments this year under a 20-year-old program that helps finance restoration projects in the estuary’s drainage basin.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the major funding source behind the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, which is managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in coordination with the state-federal Chesapeake Bay Program.
Matching contributions bring the outlay’s total to nearly $37 million, the EPA announced Sept. 2.
The agency is working with six states — Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and West Virginia — and Washington, DC, on a plan to clean up the Chesapeake. It has a 2025 deadline.
“EPA’s ongoing commitment and accountability to the restoration of the Bay is furthered by these grants that help address some of our most critical challenges, including reducing pollution from agricultural operations in Pennsylvania,” EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio said in a statement.
Of the funding going toward individual states, Virginia is set to receive the most, with approximately $5.5 million, followed by Pennsylvania at $5 million and Maryland at $3.4 million. Smaller amounts went to the other jurisdictions.
Fifty-six grants were awarded from the fund in 2020. Among them:
- $975,000 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to pave the way to create 360 acres of forested buffers along streams in Pennsylvania (Total project cost: $1.9 million)
- $950,000 to Trout Unlimited to help install 15 miles of livestock-exclusion fencing around streams, establish 80 acres of forested buffers and stabilize 15 miles of streambanks in Virginia (Total project cost: $1.9 million)
- $470,000 to the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology to restore wetlands on 32 acres of farmland and map saltwater intrusion in Somerset and Dorchester counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (Total project cost: $631,000)
- $1 million to the Chesapeake Conservancy to work with the Precision Conservation Partnership on projects at 25 Pennsylvanian farms where the greatest benefits to water quality can be realized (Total project cost: $2.1 million)
- $500,000 to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to work with dairy farmers that supply milk to Pennsylvania-based Turkey Hill Dairy to install conservation practices (Total project cost: $1 million)
- $500,000 to the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection to construct a “green street” project in Silver Spring (Total project cost: $2.1 million)
- $227,000 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to plant 250 trees on city property and install flood-protection infrastructure on Richmond’s Southside (Total project cost: $309,000)
- $50,000 to the Delmarva Poultry Industry to develop a website that helps connect farmers who have chicken manure to ship with those who need it to fertilize their fields (Total project cost: $59,000)
- $50,000 to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to investigate river herring habitat upstream and downstream of stream blockages and propose passages for fish to get around them in Oxon Run and Lower Beaverdam Creek (Total project cost: $62,000)
By Jeremy Cox