On February 20, 2019, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), and the Chesapeake Bay Program together announced 10 awardees of the Watershed Assistance Grant Program, a grant program designed to provide local governments and nonprofits with support for the earliest phases of watershed restoration projects.
“The collaborative effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay and meet the 2025 Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements hinges on the participation of local communities,” said Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of the Environment. “MDE and DNR offer both technical assistance and financial assistance through grant programs like this to encourage and facilitate participation at every level.”
The Watershed Assistance Grant Program supports design assistance, watershed planning, and programmatic development associated with protection and restoration projects that lead to improved water quality in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Maryland portion of the Youghiogheny watershed, Maryland coastal bays, and specifically, progress towards goals of the Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) process, which is the roadmap used by Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions for meeting the 2025 Total Maximum Daily Load requirements, or pollution control measures, as established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Communities throughout our region want to play a role in the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and invest in clean water and healthy natural resources,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Joanne Throwe said. “This program is intended to help them get the ball rolling on vital restoration projects that have a significant impact on water quality.”
The grant program also serves as an entry point for future project funding, wherein awardees leverage the resulting designs and plans to apply for implementation funding through other grant programs, such as those offered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the DNR’s Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, and other sources of support.
“We are beginning to see the cumulative effect of local watershed restoration projects,” said Dr. Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “Early evidence shows that the Bay is turning a corner. We are proud to combine forces with our funding partners to offer programs like this that ensure that local jurisdictions have the resources they need to take action and participate in that turnaround.”
Here are the 10 winning projects of the 2018-2019 Watershed Assistance Grant Program Awards:
- Greater Grace World Outreach, Inc., Baltimore City, MD, $61,350, for the development of a campus green infrastructure master plan and the design of stormwater management practices, including bioretention facilities and tree plantings;
- City Neighbors Foundation, Baltimore City, MD, $55,132 for development of a green infrastructure master plan and construction-ready designs for both theHamilton and High School City Neighbors campuses;
- Pearlstone Conference & Retreat Center, Baltimore County, MD, $101,239 for design of stormwater management practices and a stream restoration project;
- ShoreRivers, Queen Anne’s County, MD, $17,171 for development of a master plan for Old Love Point Park;
- Harford Soil Conservation District, Harford County, MD, $75,000.00 for design of the Graveyard Creek stream restoration project;
- The 6th Branch, Baltimore City, MD, $30,000 for the design of green infrastructure practices at Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School;
- Arundel Rivers Federation, Anne Arundel County, MD, $181,407 for design of the Broad Creek Park stream restoration project;
- ShoreRivers, Cecil County, MD, $174,336 for the design of two stream restoration projects in agricultural sub-watersheds of the upper Sassafras River;
- Partnerships for Ecological Restoration, Inc., Queen Anne’s County, MD, $30,000 for the design of wetland and buffer plantings at Train Family Farm; and,
- Greater Baybrook Alliance, Baltimore City, MD, $60,000 for design of green infrastructure practices at Garrett Park.
In separate-but-related news, eight Montgomery County, Maryland environmental organizations have received grants totaling $388,000 for nine overall projects to improve water quality and help manage stormwater runoff in the County.
The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) announced the awarding of the grants—ranging from $20,000 to $80,000—to support neighborhood groups and nonprofit organizations working to protect local waterways.
“The Department of Environmental Protection is committed to improving the water quality of our local streams while contributing to the health and sustainability of our communities,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “This grant program fills an important niche toward meeting our mission and we are thrilled to support and engage these hard-working local groups who share this mission.”
Established in 2014, the Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant Program supports projects and programs that improve communities and water quality in through public engagement, education and on-the-ground restoration projects. Programs awarded grants can include public outreach and stewardship projects—such as conservation landscape plantings, community outreach and stormwater management practices.
Funding for the projects is made possible through Montgomery County’s water quality protection fund. The Chesapeake Bay Trust, a regional grant-maker specializing in engagement of nonprofit entities in restoration and outreach work, administers the grants for the County. CBT also administers similar programs for seven other jurisdictions.
“These projects, undertaken by neighborhood groups, volunteers and others, are so important for both water quality and education,” said Jana Davis, “The work shows residents how a single project can both beautify their community and solve environmental issues—a win-win.”
The 2019 Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant Program awardees include:
- Anacostia Riverkeeper, $30,000: for a gravel swale and conservation landscape plantings at the Tartan Ridge Community in Chevy Chase, Maryland;
- Anacostia Riverkeeper, $54,000: for removal of impervious surface, construction of a rain garden, and native tree plantings at Adventist Community Services in Silver Spring, Maryland;
- Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc., $31,180: for developing design plans for stormwater management practices to reduce runoff and pollution to Rock Creek at Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Maryland;
- Bethesda Green, $80,000: for conservation landscaping, community outreach, and an innovative cistern automation pilot program at the Glen Waye Gardens Condominium in Silver Spring, Maryland;
- Friends of Cabin John Creek, $52,820: for community outreach and stewardship through the Stormwater Solutions Program in the Cabin John Creek Watershed;
- Friends of Sligo Creek, $20,000: for a comprehensive stormwater management plan and construction of a demonstration stormwater management project with interpretive signage for the Carolyn Condominium Complex in Silver Spring, Maryland;
- Little Falls Watershed Alliance, $20,000: for community outreach, the installation of a bioretention project, conservation landscape planting, and drywells in the Sumner Village Condominium Association in Bethesda, Maryland;
- Our House Inc., $70,000: for removing invasive pear trees, conservation landscape plantings, tree plantings, and stewardship training at Our House Inc. in Brookeville, Maryland; and,
- University of Maryland, College Park, $30,000: for a targeted stormwater outreach campaign in Montgomery County.
Photo of Broad Creek Park (one of the winners) courtesy of Anne Arundel County.