The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program have announced more $2.4 million in grants for projects designed to protect and restore Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The 14 grants announced will generate $2,115,402 in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $4.5 million.
These grants, along with 35 others awarded the same day, will support on-the-ground projects to improve waterways, restore habitat and strengthen iconic wildlife species. Collectively, the grants will implement water-quality-improvement practices on more than 45,000 acres, restore more than 45 miles of streamside forest habitat and prevent more than 6,300 tons of pollutants annually from entering the rivers and streams that feed the Bay.
“EPA is pleased to support projects that improve the quality of local waters and habitat and help restore the Chesapeake Bay,” said Diana Esher, EPA Mid-Atlantic acting regional administrator. “We applaud the grantees for their commitment to cleaner water and healthier watersheds.”
“Watershed-restoration projects strengthen the resilience of both communities and wildlife habitats – targeted investments can achieve multiple conservation goals,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF.
Among the grantees and the projects for which the funds will be used:
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay ($500,000): An accessible, park-like corridor in the Fulton Hill Business District of Richmond will be created through this award. It will prioritize the use of “green” infrastructure to reduce urban heat islands, capture stormwater runoff and implement the Launch Fulton Green Jobs Initiative.
Center for Natural Capital ($49,627): This grant award will fund the planning and assessment work that is necessary to remove the Rapidan Mill dam, which is currently obstructing fish passage for critical Chesapeake species, such as shad.
Greene County ($23,500): Funding will develop a green infrastructure plan for the Greene County Visitor Center. The plan is intended to address existing impervious surfaces at the center, as well as provide a high-quality stormwater demonstration site.
Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe ($50,000): Funding will pay for a comprehensive regional report on watershed management that will synthesize local water quality, flooding, land use, habitat vulnerability, social vulnerability, cultural resources and community science to inform future projects.
Since 1999, the program has provided more than $83 million to 985 projects to promote on-the-ground community-based efforts, which result in measurable improvements to local stream health and habitat, and the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.
Additional support for the program comes from the Altria Group, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.