Regional Organizations Awarded $7.7 Million To Reduce Nutrient Pollution In Chesapeake Bay

Ten watershed-based partnerships received grants of $500,000 to $1 million to help improve the quality of local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. A total of $7.7 million from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Trust were awarded to Bay watershed organizations.

The Chesapeake Bay Targeted Watersheds Grants, announced on May 2 by EPA Region 3 Administrator Donald Welsh and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Director of Conservation Programs Tom Kelsch, will help regional organizations to implement innovative programs designed to reduce the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

"Nutrient pollution from agricultural and stormwater runoff is the greatest challenge facing the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort," Welsh said. "These projects demonstrate how we can rise to that challenge by engaging farmers, homeowners, governments, businesses, academics and nonprofits in developing and implementing sustainable, cost-effective solutions."

The 10 projects will reduce more than nine million pounds of nitrogen and nearly seven million pounds of phosphorous annually to the bay, officials said. The projects reduce pollution from a range of sources and explore market-based incentives to encourage more widespread implementation of pollution-fighting programs.

Examples of projects funded include managing nutrient runoff from manure through precision feeding and identifying markets for manure as fertilizer; integrating farm stewardship with ecosystem restoration activities; and implementing various "low-impact development" and "social marketing" approaches to address urban/suburban stormwater in cost-effective ways.

Proposed projects are reviewed by a steering committee convened by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Projects are selected based on criteria established jointly by the Foundation and steering committee.

Additional information on the grants can be found at the Chesapeake Bay Program's Web site: http://www.chesapeakebay.net.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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