On June 3, 2021, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced $9.6 million in grants to support the restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The 11 grants will leverage more than $28 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of nearly $38 million.
The grants were awarded through the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program (INSR Program), a core program under NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (CBSF). CBSF is a partnership between NFWF and the EPA to provide grant funding, technical assistance, and networking and information sharing in support of local, on-the-ground conservation and restoration efforts to restore the bay and its tributary rivers and streams.
Additional support for CBSF is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service, the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Altria Group.
“EPA is pleased to invest in partnerships and projects that improve the quality of local waters and habitat and help restore the Chesapeake Bay,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator Diana Esher. “It is a priority for EPA to support local actions that move us closer to our restoration goals. We appreciate the forward-thinking ideas reflected in these projects.”
The 11 grants announced today will support innovative approaches to reduce pollution to local rivers and streams, restore habitats, and improve rural and urban communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
These projects will further emphasize partnerships and collaborative approaches as central to effective local and regional ecosystem restoration efforts. The funds will help partners engage farmers and agricultural producers, homeowners, churches, businesses and municipalities to improve the quality of life in their communities, local water quality and, ultimately, the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
“The grants announced today will accelerate the efforts of dozens of partners working together to implement on-the-ground improvements that benefit the Chesapeake Bay, its remarkable wildlife, and local communities across the bay’s 64,000-square-mile watershed,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants demonstrate the essential role of partnerships and collaboration in providing resources for local restoration efforts that are critical to the future health of the Bay.”
Examples of this year’s INSR grant recipients include:
- Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ($1 million) will accelerate the pace of riparian forest buffer, urban forest planting, and conservation landscaping implementation through partner-funded outreach, large contract plantings, investments in professional development, and creation of experiential learning labs;
- Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority ($848,440) will implement green infrastructure demonstration projects, form a stormwater steering committee, assess to municipal codes and policies to remove implementation barriers, and provide education and training to local partners for design and construction of stormwater infrastructure improvements; and
- Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake ($882,750) will grow and diversify its engagement of congregations and faith-based institutions across central Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore in implementing locally led stormwater management and conservation landscaping projects.
Since 2006, the INSR Program has provided more than $115 million to 210 projects that reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Photo of Chesapeake Bay wetland near Solomons, Maryland is by Storm Cunningham.