Pennsylvania to benefit from over $10.6 million in conservation grants12/20/2022 12:41PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) recently announced over $10.6 million in grant awards to support the restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Pennsylvania. NFWF and EPA representatives joined local leaders and community members at Truxtun Park in Annapolis, Md. to announce the awards. The 18 grants will leverage more than $12.9 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of more than $23.5 million dollars.
The grants were awarded through the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program (INSR) and the Small Watershed Grants (SWG) Programs, core grant programs of the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program partnership that are administered under NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (CBSF). CBSF is a partnership between NFWF and 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.
These awards, along with the other 86 announced today, include $15 million provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds, which is a first set of awards from the infrastructure funding, with more to be announced soon. Additional federal agency funding for CBSF is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Private funding is provided by Altria Group, Zoetis, and Astra Zeneca, with additional funding this year from the Bezos Earth Fund.
“This funding not only helps kickstart critical water quality programs within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it represents an investment in public health and the communities who call the Bay home,” said Janet McCabe, EPA’s Deputy Administrator. “Our partnerships and collaborative approaches bring farmers, homeowners, communities, businesses and local leaders together as a team, working in partnership to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and revitalize their communities.”
The 104 grants announced today will support innovative and community-led approaches to reduce pollution to local rivers and streams, restore habitats, and improve rural and urban communities across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These projects will further emphasize partnerships and collaborative approaches as central to effective local and regional ecosystem restoration efforts and engagement of local communities in the planning, design, and implementation of restoration and conservation efforts. The funds will help partners engage community-based organizations, 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 awards also include projects that support communities seeking to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the planning, design, and implementation of ecosystem restoration efforts across the Chesapeake Bay watershed that align with NFWF’s and EPA conservation goals.
“The grants announced represent the single largest annual investment in on-the-ground restoration projects in the more than 20-year history of NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants demonstrate the power of and the conservation impact of supporting local communities in implementing conservation projects that support broader restoration goals for the Chesapeake Bay while at the same time addressing critical local priorities for environmental improvements.”
Some of this year’s Chesapeake Stewardship Fund grant recipients in Pennsylvania include:
- Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay ($75,000) intends to complete six preliminary concept plans for agricultural conservation practices for producer members of the Dairy Farmers for America cooperative in order to improve water quality in south central Pennsylvania.
- Potter County Conservation District ($500,000) will implement more than 11,000 acres of soil health practices across the headwaters of the Cowanesque River in Potter and Tioga counties to enhance eastern brook trout populations.
- The Trust for Public Land ($75,000) intends to design a schoolyard at Kennedy Elementary School in Scranton that meets community needs for a healthy, equitable and climate-resilient community park.
- Watershed Alliance of York ($1,000,000) plans to bring together private and public partners to accelerate implementation, maintenance and financial incentives of riparian forest buffers and lawn conversion projects in York County.
Since 2006, the INSR Program has provided more than $123 million to 219 projects that have reduced 22 million pounds of nitrogen, 4 million pounds of phosphorus, and 480,000 tons of sediment across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The SWG Program has provided more than $109 million to 496 projects that have permanently protected 169,00 acres under conservation easement, restored more than 1,550 miles of riparian habitat and 14,000 acres of wetlands, and engage more than 125,000 watershed residents in volunteer conservation and restoration efforts.
For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund or to download the 2022 Chesapeake Bay Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction and Small Watershed Grants Slates, visit www.nfwf.org/chesapeake.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership consisting of federal, state and local governments, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. Primarily funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Chesapeake Bay Program has set the guidance and policy for restoring the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. Learn more at www.chesapeakebay.net.