SOURCE: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

August 25, 2016 09:00 ET

Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Announces Nearly $11 Million in Funding to Support Cleaner Water, Improve Habitat in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

NFWF-Led Public-private Partnership Will Support 39 Projects and Leverage $12 Million in Matching Funds From Grantees

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - August 25, 2016) - The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the award recipients of nearly $11 million in grants for restoration, conservation and environmental outreach in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. The 39 projects funded will leverage more than $12 million in matching funds from the participants for a total of $23 million to support and advance the efforts of partners and localities to achieve a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.

Funding for these projects was awarded through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (CBSF), which is administered by NFWF and financed primarily by the EPA's Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction (INSR) Grants Program and the Small Watershed Grants (SWG) Program, with additional public and private funding provided by NFWF. Officials and guests announced the awards at Pennsylvania State University's Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Pennsylvania Furnace, Penn. This year's grants include a record $4.8 million in funding to support restoration efforts in Pennsylvania.

"The grants awarded this year through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund demonstrate just how important local water quality is to broader efforts to restore the Bay," said Amanda Bassow, director of the Northeastern Regional Office at NFWF. "NFWF, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and our other funding partners continue to make impactful investments that are not only helping to improve the Chesapeake Bay, but the thousands of miles of rivers and streams across its 64,000 square mile watershed."

The Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund is also supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and private companies such as the Altria Group -- through their landmark Restoring America's Resources partnership with NFWF -- CSX and Alcoa.

"EPA is proud to support efforts across the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed to both improve local rivers and streams and benefit the broader Bay ecosystem," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "The nearly $11 million being awarded to these 39 projects, including more than $9.5 million from EPA, helps enhance state and local restoration efforts aimed at providing lasting local benefits for water quality improvement. These grants are also critical in supporting Pennsylvania's renewed commitment to get back on track through the 'reboot' of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Strategy."

U.S. Representative Glenn 'GT' Thompson (PA-5) noted that Pennsylvania will receive $9.9 million and 13 projects will be funded in his state. "I have had several opportunities to tour farm sites using Ag innovation and smart conservation practices as provided by the NFWF grants and Penn State University, as well as other dynamic partners," Thompson, a member of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committees said. "I have been very impressed by the on-the-ground work across the entire six state Chesapeake Bay Watershed, especially in increasing the removal of sediment and nutrients from our streams and rivers."

"We are honored to host this year's Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund grant announcement," said Rick Roush, dean of Pennsylvania State University's College of Agricultural Sciences. "A strong partner of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for many years, the college since 2008 has received more than $3.6 million in grant funding from NFWF and provided nearly $4 million in match from the college and our many partners to support innovative research, community engagement and implementation of best management practices on farms, in communities and along streams throughout Pennsylvania's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In concert with the objectives of these newly funded projects, Penn State is committed to building a new consensus-based, collaborative strategy to achieve water quality goals while ensuring profitable and productive agriculture."

This year's 39 grant projects in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia incorporate both innovative and established methods to improve waterways, restore habitat and strengthen iconic species. The local focus of these dollars will engage agricultural producers, homeowners, churches and businesses in on-the-ground restoration actions that support quality of life in their communities, while ultimately improving the health of the Bay.

The grants announced today are in addition to nearly $300,000 already awarded by NFWF this year through its Technical Capacity Grants program, aimed at providing technical services to local communities and watershed organizations for work to plan, prioritize and design local conservation and restoration efforts. NFWF anticipates awarding an additional $700,000 in Technical Capacity Grants before the end of 2016.

The INSR Program awarded $6.1 million to 11 projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with recipients providing more than $9 million in matching funds. The INSR Program provides grants to innovative and cost-effective projects that dramatically reduce or eliminate the flow of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution into local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.

The SWG Program awarded nearly $4.8 million to 28 projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with recipients providing $3.1 million in matching funds. The SWG program provides grants to organizations and municipal governments that are working to improve the condition of their local watershed through on-the-ground restoration, habitat conservation and community engagement. Many grant recipients expect to reduce pollution not only through infrastructures such as greener landscapes, but also through community outreach initiatives to promote sustainable landscaping and improved practices for managing runoff.

Examples of this year's Chesapeake Stewardship Fund grant recipients in Pennsylvania include:

  • Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc. ($749,676) will improve drinking water supplies in the Octoraro Creek Watershed through outreach and agricultural best management practice installation on Plain Sect farms, building on existing local efforts.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture ($632,319) will pilot the Pennsylvania Adaptive Toolbox for Conservation Saturation, seeking greater participation in conservation planning and practice implementation, and demonstrating a correlation between conservation efforts, herd health and farm profitability.
  • Borough of Carlisle ($599,452) will reduce flooding by providing the needed stormwater retention capacity to serve run-off from the planned redevelopment of an adjacent brownfield site, while preventing nutrients and other pollution from entering the vulnerable LeTort Spring, which feeds into the Conodoguinet Creek and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

Since 2006, the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program has provided $58 million to 140 projects that reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Since 1999, the Small Watershed Grants Program has provided $47 million to support 773 projects in the region and has further leveraged $136 million in local matching funds for a total conservation investment in on-the-ground restoration of over $183 million.

For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund or to download the 2016 Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Grant Slate, visit www.nfwf.org/chesapeake.

The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership that has coordinated and conducted the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. Partners include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, representing the federal government; the states of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia; the District of Columbia; the Chesapeake Bay Commission; and advisory groups of citizens, scientists and government officials. To learn more, visit www.chesapeakebay.net.

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