On July 11, 2022, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the award of $18.8 million to 22 ecological restoration projects that will regenerate water quality and habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, while also building local resilience to climate impacts.
These awards encompass 77 unique sites that will be restored using best management practices, including riparian buffer and reforestation plantings, stream restoration, stormwater management, and wetland creation.
“Our administration’s commitment to environmental stewardship has included making record investments in Chesapeake Bay restoration, and fully funding the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund,” said Governor Larry Hogan.
“Each of these projects plays a critical role in improving the quality of the bay and making our ecosystem more resilient,” he added.
Grants are made possible with funding through the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, which targets the most cost-efficient and effective non-point source pollution reduction projects.
According to this March 1, 2020 article by Gabe Cohee, “For decades, environmental advocates have been working to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Recognizing the detrimental impact of impervious surface and forest loss on the watershed, this group of passionate scientists, engineers, fishermen, and others pulled together shoestring budgets and devoted hours to lay the groundwork for a restoration economy in Maryland. They worked to improve water quality and create better habitat for brookies. They worked to ensure future watermen and recreational anglers have a sustainable resource. They worked to save the largest and most productive estuary in the nation.”
The projects awarded this funding round will benefit local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay by removing more than 41,083 pounds of nitrogen, 4332 pounds of phosphorus, and 7967 tons of suspended solids.
“We are grateful for the governor’s continued leadership in fully funding the Trust Fund, which is one of the most important water quality financing programs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “This program allows us to identify the most meaningful and cost-effective projects in communities across Maryland to improve water quality and meet our Bay restoration goals.”
This year’s awards were selected from 51 proposals that were received. Proposals were prioritized based on cost-efficiency (state dollar per pound of nutrient and sediment reduced), project readiness, scientific rigor, geographic distribution, and overall quality.
Through the improved connections across similar grant programs, the department seeks to support more comprehensive and integrated projects that achieve at least one of the following outcomes: fostering healthy ecosystems, building resiliency, or providing outdoor learning experiences.
Photo shows REVITALIZATION Editor Storm Cunningham helping to restore Chesapeake Bay native grasses in the Blackwater national Wildlife Refuge of Maryland back in 1999.