EPA Announces Record $18 Million for Projects in Chesapeake Bay Watershed
PHILADELPHIA (September 2, 2020) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a record $18 million in grants to support the restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in six states and the District of Columbia. The 56 grants will generate nearly $19 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of nearly $37 million.
The grants were awarded through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, a partnership between EPA’s Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program (INSR Program) and Small Watershed Grants Program (SWG Program), and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The grants announced today, a record amount for the Stewardship Fund, will improve waterways, restore habitats and strengthen iconic species in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The funds will engage farmers and agricultural producers, homeowners, churches, businesses and municipalities in on-the-ground restoration that supports quality of life in their communities, improving local waterways and, ultimately, the health of the Bay.
“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,” said EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio.
For example, a $1 million INSR grant, with a $1.19 million match is being awarded to the Chesapeake Conservancy to implement a regional restoration plan in central Pennsylvania that will result in full-farm restoration on 25 farms, enhanced coordination of outreach and technical assistance, improved messaging to accelerate landowner recruitment and knowledge transfer, and restoration projects to rapidly de-list 46 miles of impaired streams.
A $500,000 SWG grant, with an equal match, is being awarded to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to work with the Octoraro Source Water Collaborative in Lancaster and Chester counties, Pennsylvania to reduce pollution through measures that include agricultural best management practices on Plain Sect farms.
“Addressing pivotal issues like excess nutrients and habitat degradation are key to improving the health of Chesapeake Bay and also have benefits to states like New York, which shares the watershed that feeds the Bay,” said EPA Region 2 Administrator Pete Lopez. “The projects in New York are critical to further advancing progress in restoring wetlands and reconnecting habitat for brook trout in the Susquehanna watershed.”
A complete list of the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund 2020 grants winners is available at: https://www.nfwf.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/chesapeake-bay-2020-grant-slate.pdf
EPA funded $16 million of the more than $18 million in grants being announced today. Additional support was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nestle and the Altria Group Restoring America’s Resources partnership.
“NRCS supports this collaborative approach with EPA and partners to further conservation on all lands in the Bay watershed,” said Terrell Erickson, NRCS Regional Conservationist of the Northeast.
“This is an investment in projects that improve local streams, rivers and habitat, and ultimately, the Bay,” said Servidio. “These grants are an example of the substantial support EPA is providing to help our partners reach their 2025 Bay TMDL goals. Local projects by groups and communities will continue to be critical to our success in achieving clean water.”
The INSR Program awarded nearly $7 million to seven projects, with recipients providing more than $7.3 million in match. The program provides grants to accelerate the implementation of water quality improvements specifically through the collaborative and coordinated efforts of sustainable, regional-scale partnerships with a shared focus on water quality restoration and protection in local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.
The SWG Program awarded more than $11 million to 49 projects, with recipients providing nearly $11.6 million in match. The 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 involvement. Grant recipients expect to reduce pollution through infrastructures including greener landscapes and community outreach initiatives that promote native landscaping and improved practices for managing runoff.