The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have announced grants totaling nearly $11 million in support of efforts to improve water quality and habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Awarded through the NFWF-administered Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, the grants will support projects that incorporate both innovative and established methods to improve water quality, restore habitat, and strengthen the sustainability of iconic species while engaging agricultural producers, homeowners, churches, and businesses in on-the-ground restoration activities. It is expected that the thirty-nine projects will be able to use the grant funding to leverage more than $12 million in matching funds for restoration, conservation, and environmental outreach initiatives in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Recipients of the grants include the Alliance for Chesapeake Bay, which was awarded $749,676 to improve drinking water supplies in the Octoraro Creek watershed; the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which will receive $632,319 for a pilot project aimed at boosting participation in conservation planning and implementation activities and demonstrating a correlation between conservation efforts, herd health, and farm profitability; and the Borough of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which was awarded nearly $600,000 to reduce local flooding by creating additional storm water retention capacity needed to capture run-off from the planned redevelopment of an adjacent brownfield site.
"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 [matching funds] 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."