Much-needed $40-million announced for Chesapeake Bay restoration projects

MARYLAND – The Chesapeake Bay region is getting $40 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assist in efforts to promote environmental justice and counter climate change.

The funding is said to assist with projects that will protect public health, improve water quality and help restore lands, rivers, and streams that impact the Chesapeake Bay. “So having new infrastructure funds really helps us make sure we’re meeting those needs for our communities as well as for the watershed,” says Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director with the Waterkeepers Chesapeake.

Over time there’s reportedly been a lack of funding for bay-related projects, and now this large amount of funding can target areas that need it the most. “New investments allow us to get better services, to have cleaner water, to have a better community overall,” says Nicholas.

Nicholas also tells us the population is growing every day around the bay, and it’s important to have the infrastructure in place to not only accommodate the community but keep the bay clean as well. “That tie between climate change and increased rainfall in this region and our stormwater management structures is really important for us to focus on.” Nicholas adds, “So getting more people back to work in helping to restore and protect their communities is really a just unprecedented and fabulous opportunity for this region and for protecting our beautiful environment and our precious waterways.”

This funding can also help address cleaner water, infrastructure to deal with massive floods, jobs, recreation, and much more.

The $40 million includes $25 million to be administered through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF), Chesapeake Stewardship Fund ($15 million in small watershed grants, and $10 million in innovative nutrient and sediment reduction grants). The other $15 million will be distributed to the six watershed states and the District of Columbia under the ‘Most Effective Basins (MEB) program,’ 40% of which will be targeted for MEB projects in environmentally overburdened communities.

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