EPA and NFWF Investing $9.6 million for Projects to Improve Chesapeake Bay
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz announced a nearly $10 million investment into restoring the Chesapeake Bay with projects to be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
“These projects represent a portion of the generational investments that the Biden Administration is making in the Chesapeake Bay watershed” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Each one of them will improve not just the local environment where the projects are located, but the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem downstream by removing runoff pollution, cleaning up streams and rivers, and planting native trees and grasses. Four decades ago, visionary leaders set us on a course to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Today, thanks to partnerships like the ones for these projects, we will kickstart the next 40 years of conservation in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”
Projects will be funded through the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction (INSR) Program with grants awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Since 2006, the INSR Program has provided more than $133 million to 229 projects that have reduced 23 million pounds of nitrogen, 4 million pounds of phosphorus, and 500,000 tons of sediment across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A complete list of the 2023 Chesapeake Bay Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction grants recipients is available here.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is providing $238 million over five years. Funding will be directed to programs like INSR as well as Small Watershed Grants and the Most Effective Basins program, all intended to contribute to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
“Since coming into office, the Biden Administration has renewed the effort to engage with stakeholders in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and invest in on-the-ground projects and practices,” said Ortiz. “We will continue to work with state and local governments to better manage stormwater, improve our built infrastructure, and find nature-based solutions to improving water quality throughout the watershed, as well ensuring that polluters are being held accountable.”
The Chesapeake Bay Program has invested $30 million in infrastructure funding towards restoration efforts in the watershed’s most effective basins since 2022. More than half of that funding has gone towards agriculture conservation practices to help reduce harmful farm runoff from impacting local rivers and streams, and the bay. Computer modeling shows that nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment levels have been decreasing annually from the 2009 baseline, thanks in part to projects like those funded through the INSR Program. EPA has also increased inspections and compliance assurance activities throughout the watershed to prevent polluted storm and wastewater from entering the Chesapeake Bay